If you’re reading this blog post, you most likely already know about “Gimme Sympathy” by Metric. However, you might not know about the “original” / “demo” version of it.
This post is about how the original lyrics in “Gimme Sympathy,” back when the band used to refer to the song as “The Hooks,” was part of the reason that I have the job that I have.
It all began in 2008 the summer before leaving for college. I was listening to Metric and checking out some of their music videos on YouTube while just sitting at home getting ready to go out for lunch or to shop or something. I think I might’ve gone out on a bike ride. (Or not. I think this was after the passing-out-after-2-blocks incident…)
Anyway, I found a bunch of videos of their special Myspace studios performance. It was them performing a new song from what would become their Fantasies album. I really loved the garage rock sound of their song “Gimme Sympathy/The Hooks.” I also really loved the “Every way I could I fine wine dined you” line because I’m a sucker for that kind of rhyme scheme. I also found the line “I’m sold – there’s no romance without finance” very intriguing because it seemed so cynical. At the time, I was still a naive romantic.
Fast forward to first semester sophomore year when I started kind of dating this girl. She’s the reason I began to spend every weekend in San Francisco. It didn’t really last long because she apparently wanted a sugar mama or something like that. She was always frustrated with the fact that I worked at a hot dog shop. She was always commenting on how I should get a better job and make more money. I didn’t really need a lot of money at the time (I was still in school and didn’t really have a lot of expenses) and really liked my job, so I didn’t listen to her. This also was the year (2009) that Fantasies was released. I remember listening to “Collect Call” on BART while heading over to her place.
In 2010, I began dating this other girl and it started getting “really serious.” I was head-over-heels into her, and she told me that it’s been years since she’s been into someone the way she was into me. (She was 26 at the time, and I was 20.) The beginning of the month that she and I began hanging out more (March 2010), I had actually gone to LA to visit friends and also to see Metric at the Hollywood Palladium. So I was on a Metric high again when we started hanging out.
I remember listening to Metric when we were hanging out at my apartment and that time when I basically said something like “You know their song ‘Gimme Sympathy’? Well, I really love this original/demo version of it. What do you think?” I LOVEEEEE the demo version, but she hated it. I couldn’t understand why someone would dislike a song so much, especially if it was still pretty much in old school Metric stylings. (This should’ve been when I dumped her.) But I guess it’s also how I’ll never understand how I could ever date her when she said she loved Tabasco but hated Tapatio and that Sriracha wasn’t a versatile hot sauce.
However, in retrospect, I sometimes wonder if she hated the demo version because of its slight reference to the reality of sugar mama/daddy-ness and money in dating. At the time, I was still working a few times at Top Dog (the hot dog place) and also at a bakery. I had also been doing some stuff off and on (photography and sometimes helping with filming events and a commercial) for the place that would become my job.
She kept encouraging me to get a better job and to work toward a “career” and to make more money. But still, I couldn’t really see the point at the time because I was still in school and enjoying myself and didn’t have a lot of expenses. Then a couple months later, she began complaining about how she was always broke and how she wishes she could have a “sugar parent” to finance all her travels and activities. She would always make these subtle comments about me not making a lot of money and also of me being so young.
She talked about all the things she wanted to do and have. She wanted to live in San Francisco. She wanted to travel all the time everywhere. She wanted to go to Thailand with me.
So I decided to be proactive and do what it takes to get to where I need to be in life to be able to give her the things she wanted. I really liked the photography/video gig I had and definitely saw myself doing it more, so I talked to my friend who would become my boss about turning my occasional film/video gig into an internship. I picked up more hours at the bakery. I kept working to graduate as soon as possible. (At one point, I was taking 18 units while working two jobs and also doing my internship.) I worked really hard and kept moving up the ladder at the internship and turned it into a part-time job. “There’s no romance without finance” kept running through my mind. I felt proud of my career trajectory and of being able to hopefully give this girl everything she wanted… eventually….
Then in March 2011 while sitting at a cafe/brunch place in Austin during SXSW, I found out that she had been cheating on me for months with a guy who was older and who made tons of money.
After getting over the shock, I decided that it is true that “success is the best revenge,” so I decided to “just work on myself” and just become so fucking successful that she’d feel like shit when she saw how big of a hotshot I’d become. I also wanted to make sure that my bank account and age would never be the reason anyone would ever do what she did to me.
And that’s how the line “There’s no romance without finance” in an old version of a Metric song is partially the reason I am where I am now.