When a band releases a new album and a good one at that, often times the band’s back catalog, the primary reason we fell in love with them in the first place, can easily go forgotten, at least for a time being. While understandable, once you rediscover those old favorites, dust off those masterpieces, it’s almost as if a feeling of self-blame results, ie., “How the hell could I forgot this?”
Broken Social Scene is one of those bands, who put its fans through this journey each and every time the Canadian outfit releases a new album. In fact, thanks to the recently released Something For All Of Us, many currently find themselves caught up in the brilliant styles and sounds of the Brandon Canning-heavy creation. However, once BSS lovers embark on the journey back to total discography listening, they’ll soon be greeted by the familiar harmonies of perhaps the band’s greatest endeavor. Released in 2002, the Juno Award winning You Forgot It In People encompasses what this segment is all about, the definition of an “Instant Indie Classic.”
By now you all have heard of Broken Social Scene. With a total of nineteen contributing (at least at one point) members, this band is known for its amazing live shows and its quirky pop songs. Originally a side project of Canning, formerly of hHead and By Divine Right, and Kevin Drew, of KC Accidental, the two released BSS’s first album, Feel Good Lost. While mostly an instrumental album, it did feature some vocals by Drew and Grammy Award winning singer, Leslie Feist. The album was met with warm reviews and paved the way for Broken Social Scene’s commercial and artistic breakthrough, You Forgot It In People.
By the time You Forgot It In People was released, BSS had swelled to eleven members. Most notably were Canning, Feist, Drew, Emily Haines and James Shaw of Metric, and Jason Collett. Others included Charles Spearin, also of the now defunct KC Accidental, Evan Cranley, Justin Perhoff of Junior Blue, Andrew Whiteman of Apostle of Hustle, and John Crossingham of Raising The Fawn. With eleven accomplished musicians, You Forgot It In People was able to encompass warm, lush, and calming sounds without being too overbearing.
The album opens with the instrumental, “Capture The Flag”. Relaxing sounds and slow melodic horns build into the next track, a tribute to Drew’s old band, “KC Accidental”. And just like that, you know you’re listening to a special album. A catchy guitar starts the track and almost immediately, you’re submerged in fast paced drums and rushing cymbals. “All your kind their coming clean / they shut their eyes, their mess, their scene” Many bands write songs about being an outsider to a new and unfamiliar scene, but few manage to make it enthralling as “KC Accidental” actually is. When Kevin Drew sings, it’s as if you are immediately taken to that time in life where you feel like you’re the complete outcast and all you can do is just sit and watch others enjoy themselves. But here’s the great thing about You Forgot It In People – there are still eleven tracks to go. Broken Social Scene won’t allow you to dwell for long.
Whether clapping to “Stars and Sons”, tapping along to “Almost Crimes”, or dare I say, even attempting to sing the high pitch voice on “Anthems of A Seventeen Year-Old-Girl”, You Forgot It In People can completely grip you in a way that not many albums can. The beauty though is that even when you do realize these things, you don’t want to stop. It’s an album that just keeps on giving, whether through the catchiness of its sounds or the beauty of its themes.
No track personally hits this writer more like that than “Lover’s Spit”. A beautifully crafted love song with high strings and a soothing piano throughout, it’s hard not to think of the one you want to be with, which is exactly what this song is about; ignoring all the stupid things that come in-between and just enjoy the time you have with this person.
Broken Social Scene’s You Forgot It In People is an emotional rollercoaster, only not in the way the phrase is usually used. Each song shows us a little part of ourselves and that’s what great albums do, make us feel like we’re not listening to a collection of songs, but listening to a story. And with all of those members, Broken Social Scene will surely be taking us on more rides for a long time to come.
“KC Accidental” (Live at Bonnaroo 2008)