Broken Social Scene’s You Forgot It in People was an album that came out last year but did not gain much recognition, due to distribution problems and an apparent lack of publicity. But when it did get recognition, man did it get it. Critics from all over were giving it their highest ratings, perfect scores for an apparently “perfect album.” Along with this, and the band sharing members with rock instrumental masters Do Make Say Think and the apocalyptic chamber music band The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra And Tra-La-La Band, I was expecting something that would change my life.
So you would imagine I was kind of disappointed when it didn’t.
Not only that, but it didn’t really seem all that special to me. Sure, there was the great rocking near-instrumental “KC Accidental,” with its high-speed drumming and blasts of guitar, and there was “Anthems for a Seventeen-Year Old Girl,” the absolutely charming and pretty highlight of the album, with Emily Haines singing in ultra-filtered vocals alongside banjos and strings. But that was really all.
It was all very good (though some of the songs, like “Cause=Time,” sometimes had a tendency to annoy me), but nothing really mind-blowing. I sort of saw the album as a culmination of many styles, each song being lesser representations of those styles, as if many of the genres in my music collection had been compacted into one album and turned into something simpler and less moving.
It was a “Five Star” album in the sense that all of the songs were good and listenable, but I did not find it moving in any way, with nothing classic or transcendant. Of course, an album doesn’t need to have any of those qualities to be amazing, but given the hefty weight of the things said by reviewers, that is what I had been expecting.
But I kept listening. And after having it for a month or two, it somehow became much better. The guitar chords following the second chorus in “Almost Crimes” strummed something inside of me, and no longer was the song just an amazing rocker, it was an amazing and powerful one. The chorus of children singing in “Looks Just Like the Sun” made me grin. The instrumental combo of “Late Nineties Bedroom Rock for the Missionaries” and “Shampoo Suicide” made me headbang. It got to the point where I was even excited to listen to it. The album didn’t feel any newer; it just felt a whole lot better.
And so I had finally gotten over my grudge with the album and those who had sung its praises, and was loving it just like everyone else. What I’ve found in You Forgot It in People is an album full of uplifting pop rock songs that are some of the best and most listenable in recent memory. It’s an album that never gets old, and it’s an album so good that when I choose to have it in my CD player for the day, I know my day will be all the better for it. If I could recommend one album to anyone, this would be it.
I’ve had this album for a while now, but as you can see, it took me a while to finally form a real opinion of it. In the world of music reviews, albums and bands find themselves bound by a limited scale of ratings, to the point that certain bands are being equated with others when they really can’t be compared.
Broken Social Scene’s newest is a “Five Star” album, but not in the sense of, say, OK Computer. I still don’t find it to be anything that goes beyond the realm of music, but it’s the most listenable album in my collection, and in one sense, it’s my favorite album. If I have gotten sick of slower music or the various quirks that come with the bands that produce it, I can depend on this album to give me something good to listen to.
Technically, this album came out last year, but given its re-release this year, a new record label, and all the attention it’s finally getting, I consider it a 2003 album. And, for all its energy, musicianship, and refreshing hopefulness, it may go down as being the best of the year. It may not transcend or turn the world upside-down, but it’s still an amazing and representative album. It may not be on the same level as others that have been praised or ranked as highly, but that doesn’t matter. It’s in a class of its own.
Written by Richie DeMaria.