Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? – Metric

Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?

Metric

Last Gang Records

2003

First off, Emily Haines confuses the hell out of me.  In some pictures, she is hot; in others, she is not.  I don’t get it, but oh well, because she has an awesome voice.  In case you didn’t know, Emily Haines is the frontwoman of Metric, the band whose album Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? I’ll be reviewing here.  This happens to be my favorite album by Metric, but unfortunately isn’t a perfect album.  Ah yes, and Metric are a Canadian band, making them ever the better to me.

We begin and get right into it with “IOU”.  Immediately we get treated to Haines’ vocals, with great songwriting, as usual, as well.  The drums and bassline are incredibly complimentary, albeit simple, on this track.  The guitar brings it all together, dropping silent during slower parts, being replaced by simple piano.  This song really is an experiment in simplicity, but it really starts off the album well.

As “IOU” fades out, we get to “Hustle Rose”, a lovely journey on the train engine that is Haines’ vocals.  This is a much slower song than “IOU”, but delivers nonetheless.  It’s incredibly catchy, though slightly repetitive.  This repetitiveness doesn’t take away from the song, however, and it’s really a very beautiful song.  When we finally get some drums (I’m talking a minute and a half into the song, here) the song sounds less of a solo ballad, and more of a full band feature.  The electronica sound eventually is mated with a guitar for somewhat of a solo that has a great sound as well.  Overall, “Hustle Rose” seems like Metric tried to go somewhat slowcore, but just couldn’t bear to do it all the way.  Still, a very good track.

Here’s one of the best songs on the album, and the song that really sold me on Metric: “Succexy”.  I really don’t know what to say about the song, other than it’s awesome and deserves many listens.  It talks about how war has become so glamourized (yes that’s British spelling, fuck off spell-check), that it has become almost sexy.  And successful. That’s where the name of the song came from. Success + sexy = “Succexy”.  See, Metric teaches you math!

But enough of that, the next track is another contender for best track on the album, and even another of Metric’s best songs.  “Combat Baby” is a song you can have stuck in your head all day, much like “Succexy”, and in fact it has been stuck in my head all day.  It seems to be a slow song, starting off with a mellow treatment of vocals, but Haines picks it up as the chorus grows nearer.  During the chorus, we really get a treat; Haines really shows her range and skill.  The song is basically about someone who wants a significant other back, because nobody else fights with her like he does.  What? Yeah, I don’t get it either.  An awesome track, nonetheless.

“Calculation Theme” is next, and to be honest, I’ve never really listened to this song too much.  I’m usually so pumped up by the past two tracks, that I never expect it can hold up.  As much as I hate to say it, I really don’t like the song still.  Yes, it’s awesome that Haines’ vocals are the focal point of the song, but I don’t think it really goes together well.  Her vocal track is fantastic, but the electronic beat is lacking, and makes me want something more.  Fortunately, the next track is much better…

“Wet Blanket” is another fantastic track.  The whole band is really on for the whole song.  This is definitely the best song on the album, without a doubt.  Like “IOU”, this is a fairly simple song, but I think that’s what Metric does best.  They take basic, simple things, and turn them into a masterpiece (not withstanding for Fantasies, but that’s for another time).

Next up is “On A Slow Night”, a song similar to “Calculation Theme” in that it’s slow, with Haines’ vocals taking front stage.  However, what makes it different, makes it better.  The guitar has a cool sound, the drums are simplistic, yet catchy, and the song just has an overall better sound.

“The List” starts off rather mellow, with Haines’ vocals (like so many other Metric songs).  Once the music kicks into full gear, this song really sounds nicely.  They go back to the mellower sound, but not quite as soft as the beginning of the song.  This works very well, and the song is a good lead-in to another contender for best track on the album…

“Dead Disco” is a song that I want to sing along to, and dance like a complete idiot, without any care about who sees.  Yes, it’s that awesome.  It is a contender for best song on the album, but since I’ve already given that away to “Wet Blanket”, it obviously cannot hold the title.  But damn does it get ever close… actually, I’m going to rescind the title from “Wet Blanket”, and move it here.  This is the best song on the album.  The level of quality is about the same as “Wet Blanket”, but the way it makes me want to sing and dance puts it over the edge.  This is a seriously good song.  Also she says tits (hehe).

“Love is a Place” is the album closer, and serves as a wind down from the wildness that is “Dead Disco”.  It’s really a beautiful song, and feels like an album closer.  Something about this song just feels right, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.  Either way, still a brilliant close to a very good album.

So there you have it, Metric’s 2003 album, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? While it’s far from a perfect album, it’s still very good.  If you’re looking to get into an uptempo band with a female singer who doesn’t sound like the copulation noises of a chicken and a camel (I’m looking at you Lady Gaga), then Metric is definitely for you.  They’ve changed their sound ever so slightly on every album, sometimes having more slow paced songs, and on their latest offering, Fantasies, they’ve got more of an arena rock sound.  Still, Metric remains one of my favorite bands, and Emily Haines, one of my favorite singers.  And she’s hot.  Except when she’s not.

Official Site

Buy This Album

Last.fm Page

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