"The Shade" feels like the work of a CHVRCHES cover band, which is sad given that CHVRCHES wouldn't be around were it not for Metric.
Evan Sawdey: Strangely, although Metric had unique electro-throb sound for themselves in their early Arts & Crafts days, both a changing of trends and a lack of evolution on an album-to-album basis has rendered the group sounding like late-comers to a scene they themselves helped build. Even with Emily Haines distinct vocals and a quirky synth plink making the chorus stand out, "The Shade" feels like the work of a CHVRCHES cover band, which is sad given that CHVRCHES wouldn't be around were it not for Metric. Hopefully this isn't a harbinger of things to come, 'cos we've come to expect much better than this, the results of someone filling out a a Metric-by-numbers sonic coloring book. [4/10]
Steve Horowitz: There is a smiling madness behind the repetition here that keeps the vibe light and catchy. The allusions to William Blake make sense in that one can see eternity in a blade of grass or a grain of sand as well as experience it through a simple musical beat. The vocals reveal the schizophrenic nature of wanting to move on and wanting to stay still while the instruments happily bounce around. Metric understand not being serious is a worthy goal. Entertainment for its own sake beats art nine out of ten times. [8/10]
Timothy Gabriele: I never really rated Metric until they provided the score to David Cronenberg’s excellent adaptation of Don Dellilo’s Cosmopolis. It was odd choice, but one which benefitted greatly by pushing the group wildly outside its known terrain, not unlike Win Butler and Owen Pallett’s unlikely success in scoring to Richard Kelly’s underrated The Box. Here, Metric seem to be going for that Chvrches aesthetic, the big pop rush of the euphoric power chord and the mnemonic pleasure of the insistent hook. Unfortunately, that hook’s a gnawing, little baiting high pitch plink that nearly tears the track down.
It’s perhaps a pisstake, anywho. The video can’t seem to decide how it feels about a sellout vie. On the one hand, the song is obviously styled in that noveau Carly-cum-Taylor synthpop style, but it seems to denounce them in the same breath. The way the video, um, throws its “Shade” on these subjects is telling; a Billboard-style list on fire, a member of the band literally dangling a clock in front of the screen as if to hypnotize its unwitting listeners, the singer sipping bubbly while lounging in an outdoor bathtub. Really, Metric? Meanwhile, traditionally pretty shots -- a plane taking off with an auburn sunset in the backdrop, paper lanterns being released, a moon sinking into the horizon -- are cheapened via Benny Hill pacing and looped into regressive Vines, everything cheapened in the limelight’s gaze and the internet’s narrow focus. Postmodern pop in the age of Scritti Politti and the Art of Noise could utilize détournement as a means of communicating pop’s mechanics and demonstrating that the same wires that built the machinery of oppression could be refashioned into new tools, even ones that might displace or decentralize the mainstream. In a flattened pop 2015 landscape though, Metric seem to only be reinforcing the inevitability of failure, ironic detachment and guilty pleasure kin twins at neoliberalism’s grand gala celebration of the self. We’re above it/we’re within it, up our own or in our own navel, there’s nothing beyond the reach of the selfie-stick anymore. Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.
I thought the image of the cat pawing at the screen amidst a sea of garbage was a nice touch though. [4/10]
Paul Duffus: The best bit of both the video and the song is just over a minute in when someone strikes a match against the heel of their shoe. That's a power-move if ever there was one! The director seems to know how cool this is because he replays it three times. That only lasts for about five seconds though, and there are another nearly three and half minutes of utter nonsense to wade through. The song's essentially about wanting stuff. Luckily Metric aren't very demanding or imaginative. Things Metric want: A blade of grass (easy -- there's plenty of that and it's free), a grain of sand (ditto -- easy), the moonlit sea (ok, that's entirely geographically dependent, but still doable), to hold your hand (buy a guy a drink and you never know your luck), and an electric blue McLaren 650S, please. Ok, I added that last one. Metric also list all the things they've got, but it's too boring to recount in full, stuff like "sunshine" and "shade", you get the idea. Now if they had cobras and flamethrowers, then we'd have a pop song! Instead there's just this limp, cliched synth-pop dross indistinguishable from ten million other singles which were released in the last hour. [3/10]