|Picture from SnobsMusic.net|
This was not always the case. As a tot, I remember despising Gord and co. with all I could muster. There was just something about their earnestness, their all-out, unapologetic Canadian-ness that I couldn't stand. The singer's voice was funny, and that guy with the long hair... just... why was his hair so long?? I couldn't comprehend it.
My feelings towards the Hip started to shift around high school. Maybe because the coolest boy in my band class showed up to school one day in a Fully Completely t-shirt. Who knows. I decided they couldn't be that bad.
Now I can say with pride that they're one of my favourite bands. It's hard to choose favourites when it comes to Hip songs, but Wheat Kings, Fireworks, and Music@Work are most likely my top three. And what the first two of those have in common is the very reason I think the Tragically Hip are so great.
|Picture from MysteriesOfCanada.com|
|Picture from Wikipedia.|
Fireworks weaves together the story of Paul Henderson's nation-uniting goal against the Soviets in the 1972 Summit Series with the collective feeling of Cold War paranoia. Sound like heavy subject matter for a rock song? You'd think so, but it's actually one of the most poignant love songs in the CanRock canon, if I may be so bold.
Take a listen and see what you think:
"You held my hand and we walked home the long way/You were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr." Brilliant!
Rabid Hip fans often scratch their heads and wonder why this great band just can't crack it south of the border. They pack arenas in Winnipeg, but play to a handful of folks in a dive bar in New York. With music this good, it just doesn't make sense.
But, I mean, it sort of does. I'd wager a good third of Hip songs are about hockey. Another third are about esoteric events from Canadian history. Would Americans really enjoy that sort of thing? Maybe not. But us Canucks certainly do.
|Picture from the Abbotsford Times.|