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The Story Behind Metric’s Breakout Hit “Help I’m Alive”

Emily Haines also talks about the epic Formentera single "Doomscroller"

the story behind the song metric help i'm alive
The Story Behind the Song: Metric’s “Help I’m Alive,” photo by Justin Broadbent

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    Metric are an enigmatic, shape-shifting band — always has been, always will be. Born out of Canada in 2001, they have built a discography that now spans eight studio albums that are difficult to box into any one genre (or two, for that matter). Part indie rock, part pop punk, part dance, part electronic — why even try to put a label on it? The point is that it all works.

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    At the center of it all is Emily Haines, who sings, writes songs, and plays synths and other instruments. Haines rocks it effortlessly with authenticity, energy, and swagger, despite confessing to suffering from deep bouts of stage fright. It’s actually a topic she addressed on Metric’s breakout single “Help I’m Alive,” with its thumping beats and searing lyrics like, “I tremble, I tremble/ They’re gonna eat me alive/ If I stumble.”

    And how did she overcome those fears? A mannequin came to her rescue at a random show in Santa Monica, California, in a story of Metric lore Haines discusses on this new episode of The Story Behind the Song.

    Haines joins host Peter Csathy to share this story behind “Help I’m Alive,” the deeply personal and confessional song from Metric’s fourth album, 2008’s Fantasies. It’s an album and a song that essentially saved the band, as they had serious doubts about whether or not they could continue. Also on this episode, Haines discusses the dark but euphoric “Doomscroller,” the 10-minute track that kicks off Metric’s latest album, Formentera.

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    Listen the the latest episode of The Story Behind the Song above, or watch the full discussion via the video player below. This is the first of a trio of Halloween-themed bonus episodes coming this month on TSBTS, with future episodes centered on Blue Oyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” (October 17th) and Danny Elfman discussing Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party” (October 31st). So, make sure to like, review, and subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts to be alerted when each new episode drops.

    You can also keep an eye on the Consequence Podcast Network for updates on all our series, and follow host Peter Csathy on Twitter @pcsathy and at Creative Media.

    If you’re having trouble seeing the player below, watch via YouTube.

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