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)
- Review: In Violet Light (2002)
- Review: In Between Evolution (2004)
- Review: That Night in Toronto (DVD)(2005)
- Review: Yer Favourites (2005)
We are up to the Tragically Hip’s 10th studio album! I mentioned in a past post that once I reached In Between Evolution, that all subsequent Hip albums were strangers to me. That’s actually not fully true…Listening to World Container this week, I found I was more familiar with this album than I thought. I have discovered one thing though: my connection with this album is from a false memory. Here I thought I had a *cough* preservation copy that I obtained in 2005 when I was still living in Barrie, Ontario. Obviously, that turned out not to be true since this album was released in 2006…I’m off by a year. Yes, it was a preservation copy, but obtained later on when I had already moved down Toronto way. Thanks to the “new technology” that was the ability of burning content to CDs, I was able to have a copy of World Container in the car with me as I made the hour trek up Hwy 400 to the hospital in Barrie where I worked. That’s a lotta listening time in the car! I’ll reset my memory bank eventually…The good news is that World Container is a winner album. I know…I’m sounding like Aaron from the KMA with most of these album reviews, but, truthfully, I cannot give this one a negative.
Bob Rock produced World Container, and there is something reigned-in, focused and clean about it. We hear less bar-room rock and less experimental sounds this round; more radio-friendly power balads paired with mature piano-driven tunes. The album is a respectable 42 minutes long, and only 11 tracks – actually shorter than the average 14 track-album we’ve seen the Hip put out, which makes this quite a digestable record.
The first three songs on World Container were released as singles. Yer Not the Ocean starts the album with a nice rock intro turned acoustic, whiplashing the listener back into the rock; a nice start to the album. The Lonely End of the Rink follows, with a pronounced U2 guitar and drums permeate the track; I think that might be why I really like it. In View is a rather poppy tune that mixes a giddy xylophone with the Hip’s delicious guitar arrangement. It’s almost too perfect for the Hip to be involved with it…I challenge anyone not to tap their toe to this catchy track; it’s perfect.
Fly, the fourth song, hones in on the Hip’s easy road trip rock style; a perfect juxtaposition of guitar sound and Downie’s singing. I’m actually wondering why this one wasn’t made into a single? This is probably my favourite song on World Container.
Luv (sic) asks “Am I lovesick?” And that’s when we get the double entendre of the title. Some great reverb can be heard to partner with the desperation of Gord Downie’s question. It also has a great trailing guitar at its end that hints Neil Young.
Tracks The Kids Don’t Get It and Pretend play off each other lyrically, but from opposing aesthetics: both asking the initial query: “if I ask you a question”…The former acts as moody teenager in its hard rock styling and theme of truths, playing off Pretend‘s more mature and restrained piano-driven arrangement, and its own opposing theme of “make-believe.”
Last Night I Dreamed You Didn’t Love Me is a more upbeat and catchy rock tune despite its title and sad subject matter.
The Drop Off has a familiar sound from the Hip’s earlier days that is as close to the old bar rock as this album gets (think Up to Here), only Gord Downie sounds more angsty and strained here. I can see why: the song tells the tale of summertime, teen relationships, and a lesson that can come from living life: “ya don’t go swimming past the drop off, or else…” There’s also an f-bomb and a Kiss Alive t-shirt in there for good measure…
Family Band is the fourth single from World Container, and is very ready for the radio in its style, but it wouldn’t be the Hip without adding some great lyrics for good measure. I can’t help but sing “small groups of people SMOKINNNNN'” loudly to this track, and then laugh.
The title track, World Container, rounds out the album, with a piano-led ballad, that starts light and ends heavy. Some great lyrics here too that reminds us to live life, and not to be held back by our mistakes.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I like World Container‘s album cover design; a real salve from In Between Evolution‘s terrible cover. So, great tracks, great cover design…What can I say? Overall, World Container is a great album. It’s an easy 5/5 from me!
The Tragically Hip
Thanks for reading! Please check out Kevin’s take!