Sean Dixon

Emily Haines & The Epic Seduction


Metric, “Gimme Sympathy” from the album “Fantasies” (2009)

The experienced woman charms the careful, prudent and (not necessarily) younger man. She knows getting close to him might hurt him. Because he’s so sweet, he’ll probably fall in love. And she won’t. She craves the experience though. Senses it could be really bad for him. Wants it anyway.

So she’s asking him to give her sympathy later, and to chalk it up to youthful mistakes later, and to understand that one day (later) all this allure and beauty will be gone, so…

Oh seriously,
You’re going to make mistakes, you’re young.
Come on, baby, play me something, like ‘Here Comes the Sun…
Give me sympathy…

And she flatters him by loving it when he sings his songs for her, even though his songs are 30-year-old covers from an amateur music book.

Really, what guitar-toting boyo could resist that?

Don’t go,
Stay with the all-unknown…

Funny too that she’s alluding to the Stones but asking him for some sweet shyboy Beatles. The sympathy she asks for is the sympathy for the devil. Gimme shelter, she asks, just for one night.

That’s what I get from this.

But I wouldn’t have gotten it if I had only been exposed to the relentless back beat of the official version.


Metric, “Gimme Sympathy” from the album “Fantasies” (2009)

I also love the way Haines is so transparently pleased with how the acoustic take is going, punctuated at the end with her ‘Yes…’ And the guitarist has a very fine shirt. Also, I’d wager that the director of the official version doesn’t have a clue what the song’s about. But Bruce McDonald, who directed the acoustic version, clearly knows how to see what’s going on in front of his nose.

I fell in love like that once. I was taken in. I was hurt. Seriously. I didn’t think I would be and didn’t know how to get away from the feeling. It gave me a nervous breakdown and was damaging enough that I knew nothing like that would ever happen to me again.

I never regretted it though.

- Sean Dixon

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Sean Dixon is a novelist, playwright, and actor. His novels include "The Many Revenges of Kip Flynn" and "The Girls Who Saw Everything" ("The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal" in the U.S. and the U.K.) — named one of the Best Books of 2007 by Quill & Quire. His plays have been produced in Canada, the U.S., Australia and the U.K., and three have been collected in "AWOL: Three Plays for Theatre SKAM." He occasionally plays banjo with the Toronto glam rock band tomboyfriend. For more Sean Dixon, go here.