Top 100 Artists of the Decade: #44 Broken Social Scene
The Top 100 Artists of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one artist and continue every day until December 31st, when we will unveil our #1 artist of the decade!
Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.
#44 Broken Social Scene
If you've ever filled a glass with so much liquid that a slight mound bulges over the rim of the glass but doesn't spill, you have something like my impression of Broken Social Scene's music. They use their fleet of 20+ musicians to full effect, fitting more than should be possible into their music – noise that should spill over into chaos but inexplicably holds at the seams. I don't know how they manage such precarious balance; at the peaks of songs like "Superconnected" or "KC Accidental," the most minute details (a whinnying saw-like guitar, for instance, in the latter) still shine through the rush. The whole aesthetic is like trying to corral an angry buck with a lasso made of silk and succeeding.
It's not all about harnessing the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to arrangement; there are delicate moments, and striking ones, too. (You Forgot it in People, named our 54th best album of the decade, has one of the prettiest ones in all of indie rock in "Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl.") Most impressive is how the core duo – Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning handle the supergroup with such deftness - many members are stars in their own right, but Broken Social Scene is all about a shared effort to create something larger than the individual. Most supergroups fall flat when individual styles clash (cough cough, Swan Lake); B.S.S. is a seamless mesh of sounds where no one artist dominates. Their catalogue isn't interchangeable with any of those of their members.
The result of all this is an act who puts honesty on a pedestal; they court the romantic sense of grandeur and blissful confusion that so many people in the younger generations embrace. It speaks to young people who believe they are destined for great things. I know so many people – myself included – have latched onto Broken Social Scene, pointed to their favorite album and said, "This. This is how it would sound if what I feel was outside of my body instead of inside it." They're a conduit to the inside of our generation – fittingly, most of it is blissful and energetic noise.
Check back tomorrow for the next artist! To see the full list of the Top 100 Artists of the Decade, click here.