Broken Social Scene is a Canadian indie rock group which formed in 1999 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Known as a "musical collective", BSS is made up of numerous members who also perform in other groups or have solo careers of their own. Some of the group's members include Leslie Feist, Emily Haines and James Shaw from Metric, a couple members of the post-rock band Do Make Say Think, indie pop band Stars and rock group The Weakerthans, among others. The bandís core members are Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, who recorded and released the bandís first album, Feel Good Lost, in 2001.
At any given time, as few as six or as many as nineteen members will be involved with the group. Members often come and go to pursue other projects after they finish a tour or album. The group's sound could be considered a combination of all of its members' respective musical projects, and is characterized by a very large number of sounds, grand orchestrations featuring guitars, horns, woodwinds, and violins, unusual song structures, and an experimental and sometimes chaotic production style.
BSS have released several albums, which have all received significant critical and commercial acclaim. The bandís second album, You Forgot It in People (2002), landed on many music criticsí year-end Best-Of lists, and won the 2003 Alternative Album of the Year Juno Award. The band's most recent album is Forgiveness Rock Record. The band is also the subject of a 2010 documentary film called This Movie Is Broken, which chronicled the band's impromptu performance at a Toronto venue after a prior show was canceled with no warning. The free performance that is detailed in the film (held at the Toronto Harbourfront Centre) included appearances by nearly all past contributors.
- Feel Good Lost (2001)
- You Forgot It in People (2002)
- Bee Hives B-Side (2004)
- Broken Social Scene (2005)
- Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew: Spirit If... (2007)
- Broken Social Scene Presents Brendan Canning: Something for All of Us... (2008)
- Forgiveness Rock Record (2010)
- Hug of Thunder (2017)
The band has also composed the soundtracks for, and contributed music to, the following films:
- Wicker Park (2004) - "Lover's Spit"
- Lie with Me (2005)
- Half Nelson (2006) - "Stars and Sons"
- Snow Cake (2006)
- The Tracey Fragments (2007)
- The Invisible (2007)
- The Time Traveler's Wife (2009) (2009) - "Love Will Tear Us Apart"
- It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010)
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010) - "Anthems For A Seventeen-Year Old Girl"
Some tropes embodied by the band and their work include:
- Album Title Drop: Feel Good Lost.
- Armored Closet Gay: In the video for "I'm Still Your Fag."
- Canada, Eh?
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: In the video for "Fire Eye'd Boy."
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Feel Good Lost is a completely instrumental post-rock album with elements of trip hop, ambient and alternative hip hop, sounding more like a scrapped Bark Psychosis record than anything the band would go on to do after it's release.
- Epic Rocking: The greatest example would be "It's All Gonna Break", which is about 10 minutes long. Most of their longer tracks are on Feel Good Lost and Bee Hives, such as "Last Place", "Backyards" and "Da Da Da Da".
- Intentionally Awkward Title: "I'm Still Your Fag" and "Handjobs for the Holidays".
- Messy Hair: Half the members of the band display this.
- New Sound Album: Feel Good Lost, their first album, is a mostly instrumental post-rock record, while You Forgot It In People, their follow-up, is a much more straightforward indie rock record in the style of Bright Eyes or Arcade Fire. Then they gained six new members and dropped their self-titled album, which was a much more dense, noisy and experimental.
- Rearrange the Song: the Bee Hives version of "Lover's Spit", which is taken at a somewhat slower tempo, has piano as the lead instrument instead of electric guitar, and most notably puts Feist on lead vocals instead of Kevin Drew. It's also about three minutes longer, mainly due to a long guitar solo at the end of the song.
- Scenery Porn: Several of the group's music videos do this (by showcasing Toronto), including "Anthems For A Seventeen-Year Old Girl".
- Surreal Music Video: Many of the videos produced by the band fall under this banner.
- The Band Minus the Face: Played both straight and averted. Due to the nature of the group, some members have permanently left, and some of the key members have left then come back again. Arguably, part of the reason why the band is so successful is because their lineup can't be defined by one specific individual.
- The live shows are almost always this in terms of the female vocals, as Emily Haines, Feist and Amy Millan have their own commitments, so Lisa Lobsinger tours with the band instead.
- The Cameo: Geddy Lee appears as a judge in the video for "Fire Eye'd Boy".