This Book Is Broken: A Broken Social Scene Story Paperback – Apr 27 2009
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Quill & Quire
September 2009 will mark a decade since the inception of Broken Social Scene, a pillar of the Toronto indie-rock community. Eye Weekly online editor Stuart Berman chronicles the group from its unassuming beginnings to its critically acclaimed heights in a series of carefully arranged interviews and photographs that comprise a comprehensive snapshot of the Toronto independent music scene. The band is a collective of dozens of musical talents – such as Leslie Feist, Emily Haines, and Kevin Drew – so it’s fitting that Berman’s lively, conversational narrative is structured as a polyvocal oral history, with each individual providing a unique perspective on the community cultivated by the band. Berman has set himself a difficult task by attempting to remain true to Broken Social Scene’s chaotic artistic sensibility while creating a cohesive narrative out of an agglomeration of so many different voices. For the most part he succeeds, though in the early going the book lacks a certain coherence, and it takes time for the reader to adapt to the piecemeal storytelling. Berman’s love of Broken Social Scene is clear from the start. His thoughtful, energetic, and playful retelling of the band’s history – from the decline and rebuilding of Toronto’s independent music scene in the 1990s to the creation of the Arts & Crafts label and beyond – shows us the band in a broader cultural context. This Book Is Broken effectively illustrates how hard artists must work to achieve results and stands as a testament to Broken Social Scene’s relevance in 2009.
[Stuart Berman's] thoughtful, energetic, and playful retelling of the band's history...shows us the band in a broader cultural context. (Quill & Quire 2009-05-09)
A Fantastical account of a powerful music movement in Canadian indie rock. (Exclaim! 2009-05-09)
Going through the book while listening to the music is a required joy...Moreover, the book details the creation of a great local music scene, with several bands building audiences that extended to international recognition...This Book Is Broken will certainly appeal to fans. In reality, anyone with a fascination with how ideas are exchanged, extracted, and then made into vibrant and viable art should find this of interest. (Parasites & Sycophants 2009-05-09)
Damn that's a good book. (REAX 2009-05-09)
It's an endlessly interesting story, an original one amid the usual rock-bio cliches, and told here in an honest, inventive and consistently engaging way. (REAX 2009-05-09)
It's more then just the story of a rag-tag rock group - it's also a valentine to a burgeoning music scene. (National Post 2009-05-09)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I've been a huge BSS fan for years and this was an immensely enjoyable book. When I finished it, I could go back through the band's (and all the related off-shoots) catalogue with a completely new appreciation for the music. The stories and the history will give you the chance to listen to these records with what will seem like a new set of ears. It's made anticipating the upcoming new album in May even more unbearable though because having read about the band's evolution, knowing that they've stripped things down to a six-member core for the new album will undoubtedly push their sound in different directions.
All in all, if you are a fan of Broken Social Scene or any of its members in the various musical incarnations they've taken over the years, this book is a really beautiful, informal biography of the people that brought the music to life over the years. I waited so long to own this book and I'm so ecstatic that I finally do. The photos, the stories, the history are all worth the read. I love it.