[#8-12 on this countdown are basically tied. I’ve put them in order of release date.]
My history with Canadian collective Broken Social Scene is kind of varied – I became aware of them somehow years ago but only heard a few songs here and there and didn’t really care for them, though I quickly became a fan of various related groups, especially Metric and later Stars (and Feist to a lesser degree). I wrote off BSS itself as being too experimental for me. Then I listened to them while driving one time, and everything suddenly clicked. Since then I’ve been a big fan, though I remain a bit more devoted to Metric and Stars.
When they announced a new record, their first since 2005’s self-titled album, I couldn’t have been more excited, and the fact that Forgiveness Rock Record isn’t higher on my year end list only speaks to how many albums I loved this year. It’s a solid rock album that may not quite have as many standouts favorites as Broken Social Scene or You Forgot It In People, but is also a bit more accessible. Since it came out I’ve tended to leave it alone for weeks at a time and downgrade it in my head, but then when I come back to it, I remember how awesome it is overall.
They’ve got all the crossover members of Metric, Stars, and Feist back for at least one song each (most noticeably Emily Haines’ lead vocals on “Sentimental X’s”), which is fun, but the main band really shines through as well – Kevin Drew’s soaring vocals on “World Sick,” Brendan Canning’s alt-country approach to “Water in Hell,” Lisa Lobsinger establishing herself in her own right (not just the tour singer who covers the guest stars’ songs when they’re not there) with “All to All.” And I rarely like instrumental tracks that much, but “Meet Me in the Basement” is one of the best tracks of this year or any other. Also, please please see them in concert if you can. They’re fantastic, and put on a great show.