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:
- The Tragically Hip – My “Un-plucked” History
- Review: The Tragically Hip EP (1987)
- Review: Up to Here (1989)
- Review: Road Apples (1991)
- Review: Fully Completely (1992)
- Review: Day For Night (1994)
- Review:Trouble At the Henhouse (1996)
- Review: Live Between Us (1997)
- Review: Phantom Power (1998)
- Review: Music @ Work (2000)
In Violet Light is an album I never picked up when it was released. I actually acquired my copy thanks to Aaron from KMA back in the Spring of 2015. Its arrival in the mail aligned with a solo trip I took to London, Ontario where I attended a conference at Kings University College, at Western University; it’s this trip where I got acquainted with it. The irony of listening to In Violet Light while touring the university whose signature colour is purple was not lost on me. After my trip, I planned to write a review of this album (I have a post in draft that is dated June 2015), but, I never got to it…until now.
It seems that the Tragically Hip hit the reset button with In Violet light. There is a musical freshness to this album that I haven’t seen since Day For Night, but they shed the grunge, darkness, and artistic interpretations for their known sensibilities: good ol’ rock, partnered with some quiet introspection.
The album gets off to a rocking start with songs Are You Ready, ‘Use It Up,’ and the catchy The Darkest One. The fourth track, the subdued and dignified ‘It’s a Good Life If You Don’t Weaken’ is one of my favourite Hip songs of all time (the title is one of my favourite sayings, too). Silver Jet then kicks things up with lyrics only Gord Downie could write (it effectively uses the word “archepelago” in the song…how cool is that??). My least favourite song on the album follows: Throwing Off Glass; I think it might be the lyrics that make me dislike it…
My favourite song off In Violet Light follows my least favourite: All Tore-Up – a hyper-rock tune that uses some guitar stylings that remind me of bagpipes for some reason. Some great lyrics here too:
"...perhaps you think the road is a means to an end when it's a living and the end [...] play yer Tonight's-The-Nights right and don't clear the place sweep up a little on your way out you might make it"
Songs Leave and A Beautiful Thing seem to have a similar Irish-pub style about them: I can envision seeing them performed live over some warm pints. The Dire Wolf and The Dark Canuck finish off the album with some good ol’ Hip rock: some great guitar play, and of course, Gord’s storytelling lyrics. For example, The Dire Wolf tells a tale of a perilous trip at sea off the coast of Newfoundland, running parallels with the movie Lifeboat (Tallulah Bankhead and Canada Lee get shout-outs).
They say that the colour purple soothes, relaxes and inspires creativity. If we look to In Violet Light as setting an inspiring tone, I would say it puts me in a good mood; mission accomplished, Hip! If you’re asking, I give it a 3.5/5.
In Violet Light
The Tragically Hip
Thanks for reading! Now please read Kevin’s take!