Scene here first

Every day I open my mailbox, hoping to be invited the next music reporters convention when they decide where the next “scene” is going to be.

Every day I am disappointed.

Yesterday’s New York Times Magazine uses a profile of Broken Social Scene to describe how Toronto is North America’s newest “scene.”

To wit:

Musically, you could say that Toronto has become a nicer but less aesthetically coherent version of Seattle in the early days of grunge. Broken Social Scene is Toronto’s Nirvana, without — so far — the troubled-rock-star antics or the anomie and with a social agenda that puts collective music making above individual success. The second album, “You Forgot It in People,” is dedicated to “friends, families and loves.”

Really? Seattle? I mean, I agree with that Toronto’s music scene is lacking “troubled-rock-star antics or the anomie” but the music coming out of that city is also lacking any resemblance to grunge music.

Last year, the NYT pissed off Montrealers by “outing” their scene to the world (thereby killing the scene, according to idiot scenesters). Now they’ve moved on to Toronto.

In reality, this isn’t a terribly important story. But it kind of gets to me because 1) Broken Social Scene has been making music for years, has been noticed for years and therefore isn’t news and 2) nothing is new is happening in Toronto’s music scene. Music reporters love music. So when they hear two good bands from one city, they buy a first-class ticket, a suite in a downtown penthouse and pretentiously pencil in the news.

There’s good music being made everywhere, independently of a recognized scene. Write about the music. Ditch the crap about the scene.

I mean, what’s the next “scene” going to be? Calgary?


Apparently the Globe and Mail read my comments and wishes to correct my last sentence. The next scene is actually going to be in Edmonton.


  1. I totally agree. I think music reporters love this romanticized idea of a scene, it reminds them of Manchester or Seattle like you said and gives them a way to explain independent music in some way. However, I think a part that is often overlooked is a lot of these “new” bands are made up from people from different parts of the country or outside Canada thus quashing the idea of a scene.
    But with that said, I am pleased to see some of these independent bands actually starting to get some attention, and perhaps by lumping them all together smaller independent bands from Toronto or Montreal will also get more attention because they are part of a cool “scene.”

    I’m still waiting for the man with a spoon and his drunken cow to catch on in order to bring the spotlight on the Walkerton scene.

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