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)
- Review: World Container (2006)
What can be said about the Tragically Hip’s 11th album, We Are the Same, except I was a complete stranger to it before this week. In 2009 when this album was released, I was hardly listening to my music collection. We are very close to the time when Kevin and I packed away our CDs in a large rubbermaid container to make room for our growing video game collection. Now, before every music fan here hyperventilates…worry not, the music collection is now prominently displayed in our home now – where it should be! But, I was only listening to satellite radio and not taking in any new music. The Hip, sadly, was wayyy off my radar. Any mention of them was in passing, and my thinking was, “yeah, I’ll get to them when I have a sec…” But, as any adult knows, time is an avenger…
If I had been paying any attention, and had just bought We Are the Same on a whim when it was first released, I think it would have become my next obsessive listen. It is a high calibre production similar to the Hip’s previous album, World Container. Bob Rock produced this one, and like the last album, there are no rough edges. The songs are enjoyable, and set a perfect vibe that you don’t mind reliving. Gord Downie is at his best here: his voice is so clear and the harmonies are incredibly good.
We Are the Same plays with different rock formats, and attempts to strike a balance between them. We have the Hip rock we’re familiar with (The Exact Feeling), gentle rock tunes (Honey, Please, The Last Recluse, Coffee Girl, The Depression Suite), hard rock bruisers (Frozen In Your Tracks, Love Is a First), and the soundalikes (Speed River; starting out like the Summer of 69; the talky bits in Love Is a First harkens back to In Pursuit of Happiness’s I’m An Adult Now). The above said, there isn’t anything overtly different about We Are the Same that hasn’t been done by the Hip before aside from the number of epic ballads (Now the Struggle Has a Name, Queen of the Furrows, and Country Day). Hey, ballads can be pretty excellent, and for the most part, they’re good here…but, some take it to extremes: when you start with an acoustic guitar-led tune and end with violins, horns and banjos like we see in Country Day, it can sound less like the Hip and more like Sargeant Pepper’s.
Bar none – the best tune of We Are the Same is the first track, Morning Moon. It starts this album off with an acoustic twang of a guitar, and develops into this great tune that could easily be inducted into the pantheon of great rock tracks.There are some of the most beautiful harmonies I have ever heard from the Hip, ever here. This. This is a pretty damn perfect song.
Overall, I like this album a lot; a nice balance of songs, great singing and catchy tunes. I’m just sorry I waited this long to engage with it! It’s a 4.5/5 for me.
We Are the Same
The Tragically Hip
Thanks for reading! Now go check out Kevin’s take!