Last week, the Tragica11y Hip's last show snuck up on me. I don't mean that I didn't know it was coming; I mean I didn't fully realize the magnitude of meaning the event would have on me. As the show began, I told my girlfriend (who is American) that I didn't know much of the band's music, and explained that for me they were like Pearl Jam or REM: all long-lived bands that followed their own peculiar muses with little consolation to the mass market and earned my respect more than my fandom. Nothing wrong with any of them, but I'm not getting the tattoo. And then, as the concert continued, I realized how many of the songs weren't just songs I knew, but songs that seemed part of my DNA.
This will not be a mix for Canadians. These songs most will already know all too well. These songs are the reason the band's final concert was such a big deal it facillitated the national broadcaster to postpone their coverage of the Olympics to air the entire show, uninterrupted and sponsor-free. These songs are why an entire nation was forced - relunctantly, tragically, and ultimately jubilantly - to come to terms with their own mortality as vocalist Gord Downie faced his own grim diagnosis so valiantly. These are the tracks that your typical Canadian will roll their eyes at while complaining that I forgot "Blow at High Dough" or "Nautical Disaster" or "place favorite Hip song here."
But these are also the songs that will be revelatory to people who are new to the band and remain kinda confused by it all - and that's who it's aimed at. If you find nothing here to like, then go no further. If, on the other hand, you find an entry point or two, then there's a 30 year discography to dig into. Take it slow and - as an entire nation learned so profoundly - enjoy every fleeting minute while you do.
1. Small Town Bringdown
2. Last American Exit
3. New Orleans is Sinking
4. Boots or Hearts
5. Little Bones
6. Long Time Running
8. Locked in the Trunk of a Car
9. Grace, Too
10. Ahead by a Century
Tracks 1, 2 from self-titled EP (1987) Tracks 3, 4 from Up To Here (1989) Tracks 5, 6 from Road Apples (1991) Tracks 7, 8 from Fully, Completely (1992) Track 9 from Day For Night (1994) Track 10 from Trouble At The Hen House (1996)
Power pop, garage, R&B, Americana, soul, glam, and punk all mixed, matched, masticated, and otherwise mulched.
Everything on this blog is an attempt to support bands and artists that I feel deserve more attention. If you have a problem with my use of a song or a link, please contact me directly and I'll simply remove it. T'ain't no big thang.