Song Of The Day: Metric's "Breathing Underwater"


What makes for a great song?

Is it the cinematic sweep of the lyrics, the melody that plays for hours long after the song is over, or is it how the song manages to breathe new life into familiar elements?

Let's face it, in the 40+ years since The Beatles were challenging the idea of what popular music could be, every possible combination of notes and instrumentation has been done to the hilt, leaving most of us fatigued by the saminess that pervades the radio airwaves today.

So when a song like Metric's "Breathing Underwater" comes along, it's great to hear a band with such a sublime command of melody and understated urgency firing on all cylinders.  Still, it's difficult to put my finger on what makes this tune so great.

After all, the first thing that caught my ear was the otherwise over-used stutter-step drum beat popularized by U2's "Beautiful Day" and used to similar effect by the likes of Coldplay, Nada Surf and others.  This might be enough to get some people to stop listening altogether, but those who are able to hold on long enough for Emily Haines' ethereal vocals to sweep in are ultimately rewarded.

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