Music education always & always looking forward.

Asymmetrical Simple Meter in Broken Social Scene's "Shoreline (7/4)"

You can skip these first few paragraphs if you'd like, but I have an important lesson in taste to share with you (that can be especially applicable to young people!) here that relates to this song.

In my popular music leanings for the past couple of years, I have been seeking out bands I neglected roughly ten years ago.  2004-06 was when I was likely most tuned into the popular music world -- at least, what was coming out new at the time -- but there was still so much I missed.  

I was connected at that time, honestly, partially because I was dating a film/media critic.  He was constantly plugged in to everything new, and he and I both wrote for our friend's blog, for which we mostly wrote reviews of music, television, and movies.  Not to mention he got tons of free tickets to shows, which meant we were out and about at almost all times.  He refused to miss a great deal of concerts that came to town, and that was fine with me.

But I have found myself lately digging back into music that he had hated at the time, like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, or that he at least overlooked, like the Fiery Furnaces.  As I was putting together my DIS project in 2014, I was pouring over message boards to find songs to analyze, and this Broken Social Scene (another band the college boyfriend was meh about, of course before Feist hit it big) came up several times.  I was floored when I first heard it, and considered it the most important personal discovery of my project.  It became my travel theme song for my semester abroad in London in summer of 2014, and almost a sort of personal anthem.  It is so good.  

Of course, I was spending a lot of time listening to, practicing, analyzing, and performing a lot of major classical works in college, as any music major has to, and so maybe I can forgive myself for not cultivating a more interesting taste in music all on my own.  But I do wish that I had taken a more active role in the development of my tastes at that time.  I found it easy to hate what the boyfriend hated, only to look back years on with a completely changed mind.

Lesson learned: don't let your friends, and especially your significant other, dictate your tastes.  What you love is yours and yours alone.  My husband can identify songs sampled by the Insane Clown Posse and I can go listen to Joanna Newsom in peace.

Carry on with the discussion!


"7/4 (Shoreline)" – Broken Social Scene

Intro: Working as a collective indie musicians, Broken Social Scene began in 1999 stemming from collaborations among the Toronto music scene. The band’s membership has ranged from six members to fifteen. In 2005, the band released an eponymous album, their third full-length effort, which features “Shoreline (7/4).” The album Broken Social Scene was awarded the Canadian Juno award for Alternative Album of the Year. Indie rock singer-songwriter and Juno award winning, Grammy & BRIT nominated Leslie Feist appears as the lead vocalist on this track.

Analysis: The entire song, starting with an extensive instrumental intro is in 7/4 time. The meter stays constant throughout each verse, instrumental break, and chorus (which is essentially simply a lengthened repetition of the word "shoreline").

Considerations for Teaching: This song contains no inappropriate lyrics or subject matter, therefore making it a suitable classroom listening example.

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