Beating like a hammer

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After “Combat Baby” was released in 2003, an estimated 35% of Canadian women between the ages of 18 and 24 had a Metric button pinned to their backpack (citation needed). Unfortunately, the band’s latest single, “Help, I’m Alive,” is unlikely to return Emily Haines & co. to the same ubiquity they once enjoyed: the song is too dour to appeal to a mass audience, with lyrics that make Haines sound like she’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown the entire time (which, according to interviews, she was). It’s like an electrified version of Haines’s 2006 solo album Knives Don’t Have Your Back, an impression that’s confirmed by the acoustic version of the song, which is available as a free download from Metric’s MySpace.

The video looks like it was spliced together with minimal input from the band, editing together concert footage with random b-roll footage and disorienting computer-generated effects. Still, it’s weirdly compelling in a retro sort of way: some of the footage looks like it was culled from old black and white movies, while the simplistic effects appear stuck in the 1980s. The video bombards viewers with images of pulsing hearts as the song repeats its refrain, “My heart keeps beating like a hammer.” It’s a bit too literal, but it doesn’t a good job of recreating the song’s panic-attack inducing claustrophobia.

Check out the video here, courtesy of Stereogum.

“Help, I’m Alive” is available on the album Fantasies, which is out now via Last Gang.
 
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