Customer Reviews: GROW UP AND BLOW AWAY
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on June 25, 2007
Does anyone remember the i-Zone? It was a little Polaroid camera that could print little messages on the instant photo. That was the gimmick, and quite unsurprisingly, it failed miserably. However, the North American television ads that accompanied this sure-fire failure contained a hidden gem. Floating in the background was a woman singing, "If this is the life, why does it feel so good to fly away?" The woman was Emily Haines, the band was Metric, and the song was a TV-friendly version of "Grow Up and Blow Away," the title track to their ill-fated debut album. Originally recorded in 2001 (or 1999, depending on your source), the album features Metric as a two-piece and was delayed again and again by their record label until it was finally shelved to make room for "Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?" Six years later, and the album is finally being dusted off. Is it worth the wait?

Absolutely! "Grow Up and Blow Away" is immediately captivating, thanks to the lead-off and title track. The lyrics are back in their original form, Emily singing "Why does it feel so good to die today?" One of the things that's instantly noticeable is that Metric as a two-piece is a much more toned-down affair. With just James and Emily, the songs are often just comprised of a drum machine and synthesizer. The result is a Metric that is just as awesome as their current incarnation, just less chaotic.

It's all still really cool music though. "Rock Me Now" features a funky musical accompaniment and finds Emily merely speaking throughout its playtime. It's actually James that does all the singing on the song, which is quite a shock to hear. At the same time, it's an undeniably cool song, making you feel like throwing on your MIB-shades and bobbing your head uncontrollably. "The Twist" is another great song that utilizes an almost hip-hop beat. In the chorus, when James and Emily are harmonizing with each other, it's absolutely beautiful. It makes me wish that more of this will happen on future Metric albums, though the actual chances of this are slim.

Though hints of their current new wave sound are apparent throughout the album, the majority of "Grow Up and Blow Away" feels much more like a straightforward pop album than anything else. "Raw Sugar," for example, has a Corrine Bailey Rae-esque musical accompaniment and features Emily singing "I don't want to die living in a high-rise grave" in a very soulful way. It's very un-Metric like, but at the same time, it's still a really great song. "White Gold" is another un-Metric song, sounding more like it could've been ripped off of Emily's solo album, "Knives Don't Have Your Back" if it weren't for the harmonies and non-minimal production.

In the end, "Grow Up and Blow Away" is an album that all Metric fans should definitely check out. Though it peaks at the very first song, you'd be a fool to stop listening there. Even in their early history as a band, Metric shows an uncanny ability to craft brilliantly infectious pop songs that will stick with you for weeks and weeks. Although the sound of the album has a definite early-2000s feel to it, most of these songs stand the test of time (unlike the i-Zone). It may have taken six years to hit the shelves, but "Grow Up and Blow Away" is well worth the wait.

Recommended for fans of Metric and anyone who still rocks the i-Zone like it's 1999!

Key Tracks:
1. "Grow Up and Blow Away"
2. "Rock Me Now"
3. "The Twist"
4. "On the Sly"
5. "White Gold"

7 out of 10 Stars
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Like many a hit indie band, Metric recorded songs before they hit it big with "Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?" In this case, it's "Grow Up and Blow Away" -- which despite its "early stuff" label has musical polish and maturity, and an enigmatic twist that keeps their sprightly jazz-flavoured pop fresh.

A child's voice says "Grow up, and blow away." That's the springboard to a tangle of sensual synth twists wrapped around some solid riffs and beats. Emily Haines murmurs a bittersweet song -- alcoholism, disillusionment, and having a child without regard of where it will be: "If this is the life/why does it feel/so good to die today?... nobody knows which street to take/he took the easy way/what was the easy way?"

Things get more uptempo with the jazzy-pop vibe of "Hardwire," all about "leaving behind the basement life," and apparently trying to start a band. Then Metric slips into a series of polished pop tunes: retro-flavoured beats, sexy noir tunes, delicate electronic tunes, sweeping piano balladry, and combos of all the above.

"Grow Up and Blow Away" has a tumultuous history -- the label diddled around with it, and then the band decided that fans wouldn't like it. So it took six to eight years to hear Metric's initial take on electropop, flavoured with different sounds that faded away in subsequent albums.

The most relevant sound is jazz, which is hardly surprising as Haines is the daughter of a jazz musician. They have the basic indiepop staples -- piano, solid drums and guitar, and Haines provides swirls, bubbles and wobbles of synth. But where their last album was laced with blazing rock'n'roll, Metric infuses their new album with a heavy jazz influence, with a little bit of funk.

And Haines herself sounds like a young girl who's seen too much real life -- her voice is high and sweet, but she sings enigmatic songs of disillusionment, tormented minds, and living in a "high rise grave." The happiest ones seems to be all about touring and travelling ("I should be living/Giving my mind a chance to rewind/And playback beautiful music...").

Metric has grown up but thankfully not blown away just yet, and their previously unreleased first album shows why. Striking, memorable, and beautifully polished.
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on January 4, 2013
I'll admit to having tastes which fall towards the poppier end of the rock spectrum, so this album -- which was put together over a decade ago, when Metric was a sparkly two-piece -- actually represents most of what I like best about the band. It lacks some of the deliberate rough edges and fussier arrangements of their newer work, and at times verges a little close to the adorably laconic edges of New Bohemians territory, but the lyrics are strong and the melodies among some of the best I've heard from them. The first song on the album is probably the most earworm-worthy, but there are at least four or five tracks that deserve multiple listens.
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on June 25, 2007
This is not a new album by any means. This is the first album Metric ever made and it was largely underground until now that it has been redone and repackaged (with some extra songs thrown in to keep the fans happy).
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on May 14, 2013
If you would have asked me if I thought another Metric album would ever compare to Fantasies a month ago, I wouldn't even have given it a thought. This album really blew me away with a much softer and sexier tone than what I've been used to from Metric. Hardwire may be my new favorite of their songs, and I couldn't be happier that I took a chance on this album, being years older than the sound I've grown accustomed to. If you love Metric and haven't picked this album up yet, do yourself a favor and get it.
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on January 16, 2012
There are no problems I have with the product. My only standards were it being in an unopened package, and it being worth the listen. Both terms were fulfilled. Also, I do recommend this to any newcomer to Metric. It's very easy to listen to and has a good diversity throughout the songs. It also has that nifty, little remix of Soft Rockstar at the end which in my opinion is better than the original. But yeah, reverting back the the initial subject, its a trustworthy buy and was well worth my money.
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on January 18, 2013
I know it's a lot different from what Metric usually does (leading to the odd release of it, even though it was one of their earlier works), but the music flows really well and I listen to it just as often as I listen to other albums like Fantasies, Synthetica, Live it Out, etc. If you like the band, or even just Emily Haines, it's a worthwhile album to get.
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on September 16, 2011
Excellent music, just excellent. Emily has a wonderful voice, like a sprite. The music is kind of poppy and some of the songs remind me a bit of the early Cardigans stuff (like Emmerdale - sp?).

All in all, this is fantastic music, as is all of Metric's stuff.
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on May 3, 2014
This is more like it! The sound of this one is more like the Metric of today.
They're not trying to do what a record label tells them or impress anyone, they're doing their own thing here.
One of my favorite songs Siamese Cities is missing though! What's that all about?
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on September 8, 2007
Though this certainly isn't my favorite album for Metric, it is definitely worth buying.

The sound is different and for me it reflects more of the sound for then. Tracks like "Hardwire" are beyond catchy but don't let the lighter tunes fool you! The lyrics (perhaps not as obviously political) still have meaning and aren't just pointless words like songs today.
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