Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Metric – Gimme Sympathy

Canadian perennials return…


Michaelangelo Matos: Very polite synth-pop with “smart,” “knowing” lyrics no one who isn’t a fan already could possibly remember outside of the “Beatles or the Rolling Stones” ref in the chorus. How many people have done that again, now?

Edward Okulicz: I hate the Beatles/Rolling Stones reference in the chorus, it seems just so plonked. And not just because I was always a Kinks man. Which is a pity, because the precision synth-pop of “Gimme Sympathy” is otherwise so taut and interesting — it’s the most European a North American rock group has sounded recently to these ears. I’d have picked it for German or Swedish for sure just on the music.

Ian Mathers: “Gimme Sympathy” isn’t bad (even if it implies Metric take the wrong side in the great “Beatles or Rolling Stones?” debate), but the problem is that anyone who’s heard Knives Don’t Have Your Back knows that Emily Haines is better than this. No offence to Metric, honestly; it’s just that the new wave pulse of “Gimme Sympathy” gives me the vague urge to listen to It’s Blitz! again, whereas something like “Our Hell” blows my mind instead.

Martin Kavka: Emily Haines sings “stay away from the hooks” here, but this is quite a hook-filled piece of synth-rock. Still, in Metric’s best songs, her weak voice expresses the last gasp of an almost resigned will. Here, there’s little urgency, and her voice just gets lost in the arrangement. In short: not as good as “Succexy” or “Dead Disco,” much less “On The Sly.”

Dave Moore: Winsome, low-stakes hipster nu-wave feels a bit like being stuck in a boring conversation with a likeable person. On the spectrum of Beatles to Rolling Stones, I’d say they fall squarely…nowhere in the vicinity of either of them.

Keane Tzong: I never liked Metric before, but I’ll be damned if this (and I suppose the rest of Fantasies) didn’t go a long way toward changing my mind. Every note of “Gimme Sympathy” radiates confidence, its sleek, elegant chorus anchored by an Emily Haines whose vocal performance, for what might be the first time, could be classified as singing, not rasping. This kind of beautifully commercial pop suits them better than pretty much anything they’ve done before.

Jonathan Bradley: Propulsive guitar fizz delivered with a light touch; call it an indie rock take on teen-pop. Or at least a take on fellow Canadians Stars: when, as Metric do here, you lock keyboard melodies and guitar riffs together in that “Ageless Beauty” way, it’s nigh impossible to create something that isn’t at least pleasant. Quibbles are slight but significant: melodically, this is nice but not striking, and “Who would you rather be: the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?” is a simple and direct hook that would work a lot better if the song had any actual dynamics.

Hillary Brown: Yeesh, it overstays its time, but it’s so good. It’s in the turns the notes take. They’re always going up or down unexpectedly on a word, and the journey is like the world’s smoothest rollercoaster. If they’d just known to cut it off 40 seconds earlier!

Alex Ostroff: “Gimme Sympathy” encapsualtes Metric 3.0: smoother, slicker and prettier, but lacking edge. Haines’ old agitpop was hamfisted, but carried the weaker moments with her voice – sneering, loving, sexy or kind, but always entrancing. That voice is the key to “Gimme Sympathy”, floating overtop of pounding drums and ethereal synths, gentle and hopeful, before exploding into a perfect chorus.

Martin Skidmore: I really like Emily Haines, who is clear and bright, excellent on the quiet and driving parts of the song. The rest is a little less exciting.

One Response to “Metric – Gimme Sympathy”

  1. What Matos sez — a no-brainer for a single, I guess, but the worst tune on Fantasies by far.