Collaboration post! Sarca from Caught Me Gaming and Kevin from Buried On Mars take on The Tragically Hip, Canada’s National band! Each week, we will travel through the history of releases by The Tragically Hip, going through EVERYTHING they’ve ever released in audio and video form – studio album, live show, video releases. So don’t forget to check out Kevin’s blog too!
Need to catch up? Previously:
Reviewing Up to Here, the Tragically Hip’s debut album, is a bit of a relief for me. This album is in my bones – every song familiar to me on an intrinsic level – whereas it took some effort to really dig in and review their EP.
Technically speaking, Up to Here IS the Hip. It’s good ol’ Rock n’ Roll, and offers up at least 4 of the Hip’s most popular tunes (Blow at High Dough, 38 Years Old, New Orleans is Sinking, Boots or Hearts). Up and down the track listing, this album fits nicely into the Hip canon, the songs so well-delivered, they can easily be mistaken for latter-day releases…Ok, I’ll speak for myself here: New Orleans is Sinking and 38 Years Old, in my mind, sound almost too mature or developed to be on a debut release and for some reason I’ve had to keep correcting myself in my thinking they were on their second album, Road Apples! Talk about a Mandela effect!
There is a definite maturation in the lyrics in Up to Here, that bring a very distinctive Canadiana slant to the songs; a major reason for the band’s popularity in Canada. The stories told in them are often a mix of history (38 Years Old, telling the true story of the ’72 Jailbreak at Millhaven Institute in Bath, Ontario), geography (New Orleans is Sinking) and biography in heartbreak (Boots or Hearts, I’ll Believe in You (Or I’ll Be Leaving You Tonight). The tunes are always thought-provoking in an indentifiable way. I find myself thinking about my own life listening to them. For example, Blow At High Dough, the first song on this album talks of filming a big film production in a small town and how both the Big Timer’s and the Average Joe’s worlds collide in interesting ways. From the first line, “They shot a movie once in my hometown…” I am instantly transported to the time over 35 years ago when a local production company filmed a short movie on my street. Sure, it was small potatoes by Hollywood standards, but it was a big deal for a 10-year-old whose mother actually had to sign a waver to have me in the (very blurry) crowd shots!
The other less-known songs (She Didn’t Know, When the Weight Comes Down, Every Time You Go, Another Midnight, Trickle Down, Opiated) anchor the other hits well. In fact, despite not getting much love or airplay, Another Midnight (a song I interpret to be about financial struggles) is a personal favourite – great harmonies, wonderful lyrics too:
He was a coal miner in the spring Blinded with its dusty resolutions Broke his back for higher contributions Now he'd take anything...
If there was ever anyone who wanted an introduction to the Tragically Hip, I’d hand them a copy of Up to Here. This is one well-produced record, and not a single bad song; a solid debut!
Up To Here
The Tragically Hip
Thanks for reading! Now head over to Kevin’s blog for his take!