Record Machine: Synthetica by Metric

Synthetica reminds me that I should really listen to Metric more often. Though I own this LP and a burned CD of 2003’s Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?, I somehow forget how much I enjoy them.

Metric - Synthetica (cover)

I won Synthetica through a Mom+Pop Records giveaway, the same time I won Sleigh Bells’ Reign of Terror. The cover reminds me of arty ’70s albums — like maybe something Pink Floyd would do. Luckily, they sound nothing like Pink Floyd (Sorry, PF lovers; I remain largely indifferent to them), and the album opens with a great line:

I’m just as fucked up as they say…

Though the band is Canadian, Emily Haines’ voice reminds me a bit of the female-led British bands of the ’90s, and the music itself ranges from atmospheric to dance-y to a sound venturing into rock territory. “Breathing Underwater” reminds me of Nina Gordon’s solo work, but better:

They were right when they said
we were breathing underwater
Out of place all the time
in a world that wasn’t mine
to take … I’ll wait

Metric - Synthetica (liner notes)

With the lyrics printed backwards on the liner notes, Synthetica is steeped in alienation, loneliness, and desire. Though I still need to give the album more thorough listening, one of my immediate favorites is the title track — a La Roux-esque song that’s a cry against conformity, but it could also double as a straight-edge anthem, if one were so inclined.

We were never meant
crawl in for the bait
we never will
I an think for myself
I’ve got something
no pill could ever kill

If I remember correctly, from previous discussions in these unicorn-wallpapered halls, we’ve got a few Metric fans lurking about. What did you think of 2012’s Synthetica? How does it compare to their other releases? I have some catching up to do.

Metric - Synthetica (inner cover)

Side A

Artificial Nocturne
Youth Without Youth
Speed the Collapse
Breathing Underwater
Dreams So Real

Side B

Lost Kitten
The Void
The Wanderlust
Nothing But Time


By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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