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Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record


I'm starting to feel old. I always wondered as a kid how my step-dad and people in his age group lost touch.  I mean, how hard can it be to just simply keep in touch with what's new?  Could it be that there is some mandatory, age-based line of demarcation between hip and square, Chucks and loafers, road trips and time clocks, new music and old?  How is it that every man or woman alive on planet earth will sooner or later, whether they like it or not, mutter the phrase, "kids these days" with every bit of the disdain their parents had for them? I figured as I grew older I would have no problem keeping up with the trends.  I'd bring my graying hair down to the places where all the college kids hang out and they'd all know I was with it.  I'd give ‘em the finger guns a la Isaac from Love Boat and proclaim, "I can dig it, man," and they'd shower me with approval and stories about how their parents don't get what they're into and it's so refreshing to see an old guy who hasn't lost touch with what's going on.  I'd be the exception to the rule.  I'd be the one.  And my plan was working too...that is until kids started hating good music. So this is how it happens.  You get old overnight.  You used to be cool.  You used to be young.  Now the 20 year olds at the club think you're a narc because you're 27.  You were doing just fine for so long, but one day you woke up and nothing made sense anymore.  Everything was all white noise.  Sure every now and then there was a veiled reference to something familiar, but who has the time to trudge through the dreck to find it.  You end up abandoning the college radio station altogether for local sports talk and traffic and weather together on the 8's.  The only joy you find in music is what you're familiar with...you know...the good stuff. Take Broken Social Scene for example.  They're supposed to be amazing.  Everyone thinks so.  They can say so much about society without even singing a word, maaaaaaaaaan! First of all, there's like 40 of ‘em, and they all seem to want a solo career.  I'm used to 3 or 4 guys.  4 on the floor.  3 chords and the truth.  Verse.  Chorus.  Verse.  Chorus.  Bridge.  Verse.  Chorus.  That's how music is supposed to be.  Why mess with a winning combination?  Why sacrifice old school structure for schizophrenia and hand claps?  Why not just make a danceable pop record that's palatable for old guys like me?  You should call it Forgiveness Rock Record.  The "rock record" part would represent you trying to do the right thing and put out music that I can wrap my aging head around.  The "forgiveness" part would of course be you begging for mine on behalf of all the cool kids for making me think I was a loser. Sure you'll catch some flack from the hipsters.  They'll call you sell outs and wish for the days of old when you were less accessible and more jangly and non-linear.  But for me it will be your best to date.  Take the praise of an aging hipster for what it's worth, but I am thoroughly pleased with your latest offering. I wouldn't call it a total departure from yourself, but you've definitely given us an album with more real songs than you ever have before.  There are actual lyrics and choruses and all that stuff in almost every song.  You talk about heartbreak and loneliness and effortlessly move the music from joyous pop to brooding drone.  You even have a minute towards the end to let us know you know that at its heart rock music is nothing if not masturbatory. Some may say that Forgiveness Rock Record is less cohesive than your previous offerings, but I would disagree.  The songs may not bleed into each other like before, but they play off of each other well.  There's almost a Beatlesesque thing going on with each track answering the last. If I were the type to give out ratings, I'd give it a ... nevermind.  I'm not the type to give out ratings.  I really like this album.  Some may say it's a step back from what BSS do, but what's wrong with accessibility?  What's wrong with a good beat and a decent hook?  What's wrong with pushing the boundaries of pop while keeping with certain conventions?  What's wrong with helping an aging hipster feel hip again?  Thank you Broken Social Scene - all 264 of you - for letting go of some of the pretense and filling the gaps with solid maturity.  You may lose a few of the fresh-out-of-high-school crowd, but you're endearing yourself to the over 30 crowd.  That can't be a bad thing...it worked out fine for the Counting Crows didn't it?  I keed. I keed.

By Jacob Taylor