NOTE: It has been approximately three months since I last created a post on WordPress. At that time, I had no idea that real life was about to make my music posts seem irrelevant to me, but that is what happened. The full version of this story will be given a proper airing at a future date. But for now, what happened was that I received a phone call out of the blue one Saturday afternoon in May informing me that my 92-year-old mother had fallen and broken her hip. She lives far from where I do. Her fall ended her ability to live independently which meant, among other things, that she could no longer live in her apartment and that she would require constant care from that point forward. That necessitated two different trips down from Ontario. The first was to clear out her apartment and find homes for her possessions. It also meant finding a permanent nursing home for her to live in. The second trip was more to check in on her and see if there were any adjustments needed to her living arrangement in her new location. Fortunately, as you can see from this photo, my Mom is rallying. She has taken to being cared for and has willingly relinquished the burden of looking after herself on her own. Her hip has healed nicely, and she is scooting around the nursing home in her wheelchair as if she was a driver in the Indy 500. All in all, things have stabilized and life is unfolding again as it always had. At least until the next phone call.
For now, that means that I can focus on my writing again and my love of music. So, with that in mind, let’s get back to it, shall we?! Here is today’s latest, greatest Canadian song…”Blame Brett” by The Beaches. Let’s go!!!!!
Like many major cities in the world, Toronto is made up of a patchwork of established neighbourhoods. Each of these neighbourhoods has its own unique history, culture and lifestyle. One of the more idyllic of these in Toronto is an area known as The Beaches. This neighbourhood is home to almost 20,000 residents and sits at the eastern end of the city. The neighbourhood comes by its name honestly. The Beaches community encompasses four different beaches, as well as numerous major parks, shopping districts, restaurants and houses with unique and colourful exteriors. The area is known for its Jazz Festival, the many outdoor patios and cafes that abound, as well as a marked Bohemian attitude that sets it apart from the rest of the city. It should come as no surprise to learn that such an artsy, laid back, geographically beautiful area would give birth to arguably Canada’s hottest rising band, The Beaches. As I type these words, the band The Beaches owns the #1 hit song in Canada with “Blame Brett”. If there was any song worthy of being crowned as the Song of the Summer this year, “Blame Brett” is it.
The Beaches band is an all-girl affair made up of two sisters and two friends. Jordan Miller handles lead vocals, as well as bass guitar. Kylie Miller plays lead guitar. Leandra Earl plays keyboards and rhythm guitar. Finally, Eliza Enman-McDaniel is the band’s drummer. Initially, the Miller sisters, along with Enman-McDaniel, formed a band in 2011 as teenagers called Done With Dolls. Right from their earliest days, these young women set out to make music on their terms. They wrote their own songs and arranged their own music. Even while still in high school, Done With Dolls began making a name for itself in the Toronto music scene and was chosen to write a theme song for a teen TV show called Really Me. Not long after that, Leandra Earl became involved with the band. The group decided to rebrand themselves as The Beaches in honour of the part of Toronto from which they grew up.
The Beaches have had a fair amount of success in the early stages of their career. Their debut album, Late Show, was produced by mentor and role model Emily Haines of the band, Metric (as well as the famous Toronto area musical collective, Broken Social Scene). From this album came two hit singles called “Money” and “T-shirt”. The latter song went all the way to #1 and helped The Beaches to earn their first Juno award for Breakthrough Group of the Year. The following year, The Beaches earned their second Juno award…this time for Rock Album of the Year. In between award shows, the band opened for everyone from The Glorious Sons to the legendary Rolling Stones.Being an all-girl band that plays a brand of pop-rock helps The Beaches to draw easy comparisons to another all-girl band known as The GoGos. You can read all about The GoGos from a previous post here. But, for now, know that The GoGos were the very first all-girl band who wrote and arranged their own songs and managed to have a #1 hit song. Their combination of stage presence, musicianship and determination helped propel Tne GoGos all the way into The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Bands such as The Beaches owe a debt of gratitude to The GoGos for blazing such a trail for them to follow. It wasn’t easy for The GoGos to break into the male-dominated world of rock n’ roll back in the 1980s and it isn’t necessarily any easier today for The Beaches. However, having such strong role models as The GoGos, along with Emily Haines, has allowed The Beaches to find the confidence to write songs about things that matter to them and to perform them with strength and conviction. The song “Blame Brett” is a good example of this.
“Blame Brett” is a breakup song, of sorts. It is about the reaction that some people have to having their heart broken. When such a thing occurs, it is not uncommon for the heartbroken person to lock up their heart to protect it from future pain. Once their heart is secure, relationships become more superficial which often means more sexual. “Blame Brett” is a battlecry that warns all potential suitors what the ground rules are now. As lovely and interesting as any of the band members of The Beaches may be, we are not to make the mistake of falling in love with them because they are not in the mood for love themselves. They have been there and done that and are now on the prowl for pleasures of the flesh. They make no excuses for this attitude and caution against casting aspersions in their direction because, after all, it is all the fault of a guy named Brett who broke one of their hearts. “Blame Brett” is as catchy a Pop-Rock song as I have heard in quite a while. It mines much of the same ground that Taylor Swift regularly writes about but spares us the melodrama in the process. The girls also give a hometown shout-out to the men of the Toronto Raptors with a line that declares that as of now:
“Done being the sad girl
I’m done dating rockstars
From now on only actors
And tall boys from the Raptors…”
I am reasonably confident that “Blame Brett” is going to be the song that propels The Beaches into the mainstream. It is a terrific tune that plays as a feminist anthem. To my mind, it is only a matter of when, not if, this song is featured in a movie or television show and ends up at #1, not just in Canada but around the world as well. The members of The Beaches have done very well for themselves so far and have a very bright future ahead. I applaud their willingness to speak out about matters that are important to them and to do so without calculation and marketing being at the core of it all. The Beaches appear to be a well grounded, very talented band. If this is your first time watching/listening to them sing, then you are in for a treat. They are terrific! I am including two videos for the song “Blame Brett”. The first is the lyrics video (which will help you understand the song and the message it conveys). The second video is the official video release. It will help you get to know the four members of the band. It is also the video which reminds me most of The GoGos. I hope that you enjoy them both.
Thanks for reading. It is good to be back writing for you. As always, I enjoy reading your comments so feel free to reply below with any thoughts you have about this band, the song, The GoGos, all-girl bands or anything else that you may have on your mind. Until then, take care. See you again soon.
The link to the lyrics video for the song “Blame Brett” by The Beaches can be found here.
The link to the official video for the song “Blame Brett” by The Beaches can be found here.
The link to the official website for The Beaches can be found here.
The link to the official website for the Toronto neighbourhood known as The Beaches can be found here.
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