Fantasies - 2009
My very first impression of Fantasies is that it sounds a whole lot like Garbage’s Version 2.0. And that wasn’t a good thing. The overarching theme between the two – and in my opinion, the downfall – is the slick as glass production value of every track. Each song on Fantasies sort of blends together in a wall of generic electronica rock that could have been released in the 90s. Hey, maybe they should have played the ACL Festival!
90s sound or not: Metric does not attempt to re-invent any formulas, tinker with the genre, or offer up unique additions to it, and that’s the main problem with the album. I listened to Fantasies twice in a row and no song stuck out to me as having the punch to back the positive reviews the album has received (but On the Record still rocks!). Emily Haines voice is paper thin here, gliding along the record on top of the shiny-sounding instruments, but essentially carrying no weight. Her voice isn’t very unique, at least in this capacity, and pitting it amidst a streak of sonic neatness makes it almost indistinguishable. That fact causes many of the lyrics to be difficult to focus on, but the ones I did hear I found to be insipid and cliche. Most of the album reeks of trying way too hard for radio play and underutilizes the maturity that it seems the band might be capable of bringing to the table.
I can see the album’s merits as a purely new wave electronic wall of sound. Fantasies would make good party music because of the driving beats, but ultimately what it lacks is heart. That’s what keeps it from being truly great.