I first became aware of Emily Haines upon the release of Broken Social Scene’s landmark album, You Forgot it in People. Although none of the actual roles played on the album were listed, I eventually discovered that it was Haines’ voice on the brilliant “Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl.” Regardless of how impressed I was with her contribution to the collective band, nothing could have prepared for me for how good her real band was and is.
Angular, punky and a little new wave, Emily Haines is this generation’s Deborah Harry. Just listen to the album’s third track, “Succexy.” Not only is it poppy, full of hooks and danceable, it’s also a pointed political statement. While condemning the government for creating war, she also condemns all of us for simply sitting back and letting it happen, content with our TV’s, big cars and self-centered lives. Then, with the mathematical music of “Calculation Theme” (they actually named themselves after their metered approach to music), Haines breaks our hearts with lines like “Tonight, your ghost will ask my ghost / Who put these bodies between us?.” All this before she does an almost perfect homage to “My Sharona” on “Wet Blanket.”
On a side note, I’m still waiting for an “Girls of Indie Rock” calendar, sure to feature not only Emily Haines, but also Jenny Lewis, Kazu Makino, Nina Persson, Ani DiFranco, the Eisley sisters, Eleanor Friedberger, Imogen Heap, Emiliana Torrini, Erin Moran and P.J. Harvey. (That’s twelve right?) Anyway, that really has nothing to do with the fact that this is a great album that you may have missed. Don’t let another day pass without having this one on your shelf.
Blondie – Eat to the Beat
Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It In People
Veruca Salt – American Thighs