Collaboration Post

[Music] Man Machine Poem – The Tragically Hip (2016)

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:

I bought the CD of Man Machine Poem basically on Day 1 of its release in June 2016. The Tragically Hip announced Gord Downie had a terminal brain tumor the December before, and with an announcement of a final tour that summer, I was down with buying this album. Kevin and I listened to it, and I felt it was a complete deviation from their past albums…or so I thought… Since that time, I know different, thanks in big part to doing this blog series on the Hip’s work.

Produced by Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew, and the Stills’ Dave Hamelin, Man Machine Poem is moody and devoid of bar-room rock. This style is not completely off-base for the Hip. We’ve seen them release something dark and different before (think Day For Night, In Violet Light, In Between Evolution), even experimental (Tiger the Lion from Music @ Work).

I enjoyed what I heard of Man Machine Poem back in the day, but it didn’t get the proper attention from me it commands, and I think I know why: the album is moody, and I have to be strongly centred to listen to it. Spinning the album five years later, knowing what I know today about what happened to Gord Downie, I can’t help but feel deeply emotional when listening to it. The best example is the first track, Man, with its electronic voice stating:

I'm a man and I'm a man. I do what I hate and don't understand

…for some reason this song gets me in the feels every damn time! And each subsequent track is just as heavy. I hear something eretheal in Downie’s lyrics, a deep emotion in his singing in every song, and even a personal catharsis. Rob Baker’s guitar and Johnny Fay’s crash symbol round out the tone of the record.

These songs were all written and recorded before Downie was diagnosed with cancer. Still, I feel sad and sentimental, knowing this would be the last latter day studio album of original songs with Gord at the helm we would ever get from the Tragically Hip, ever. Thank goodness, at least the remaining members are putting previously unreleased material out there for fans to enjoy.

I do feel Man Machine Poem is an important and significant edition to the Tragically Hip’s catalogue, and in the right setting, it strikes the right mood nicely. It’s a 4/5 for me.

Man Machine Poem
The Tragically Hip
2016

Thanks for reading! Please check out Kevin’s take!

[Music] Fully Completely Deluxe Edition (…Mostly) – The Tragically Hip (2014)

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:

Now, before you say, “Hey Sarca, I’ve heard from you about Fully Completely already. Do we really need a rehash?” No, no we don’t. I gave this album in its original release 5/5 (Read more here!). What I’m reviewing today is the 2 CD Fully Completely Deluxe Edition – mostly, lol. I’ve already covered the album proper elsewhere. I’ll be touching on the rest of the Deluxe Edition, m’kay?

In November 2014, the Tragically Hip released two versions of their reissued Fully Completely album: there is a 2 CD Deluxe Edition set, and a bigger Limited Edition Super Deluxe Box Set. Full disclosure, I had the Limited Edition Box Set, but it’s now with Aaron at the KMA HQ; Aaron and I did a swap, and I now have his Deluxe Edition in my collection. I have my reasons why…If you want to read my review of the Fully Completely Limited Edition Super Deluxe Box Set, please read my take here!

As for the Deluxe Edition of Fully Completely, it is a two-CD collection that includes Fully Completely, remastered by the legendary Bob Ludwig. Additionally, two unreleased songs were added to the album line-up. Radio Show is a great rockin’ bar-room tune. The song sounds like old school Hip! Toe-tapping is very necessary here. The second song, Hard Done By is very familiar lyrically, as it’s actually the tune found on Day For Night, only sped up with a rock spin. The version we are all used to is so brooding in its own right, setting off a different vibe. This new version is an interesting take and more upbeat. I like it.

The second CD included in the Deluxe set is worth its weight. It’s the Tragically Hip performing every track from Fully Completely (plus a performance of Twist My Arm), September 13, 1992, at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, a few weeks ahead of the release of the album. In three words: it is AWESOME. I’ve listened to this at least half a dozen times in the last two days, and it never gets old. The band was well-prepared that evening – tight – and the mix is tops. Gord Downie is hilarious, playing up the affected straight man. Each song gets a Gord introduction, and they are at times really funny. I LOL’d at him when he introduced Courage (For Hugh MacLennon) by saying like it was a slogan in a commercial for life insurance, “Courage. It couldn’t come at a worst time.”

The packaging to the Deluxe Edition is a standard gatefold 2-CD set. Tucked away in one of the sleeves is the original folded page from the original CD that displays liner notes and credits on one side, and the album cover artwork from Lieve Prins on the other side. A totally serviceable collection that fits well with the other Hip CDs in your collection.

I 100% recommend including the Deluxe Edition of Fully Completely. Not only do you get to hear a great album, but hearing the Hip in top form performing their songs live BEFORE they were actually released, is quite novel. It’s a 5/5 for the set.

Fully Completely 2-CD Deluxe Edition
The Tragically Hip
2014

Please check out my review of the Fully Completely Limited Edition Super Deluxe Box Set here!

And lastly, please check out Kevin’s take!

[Blu-Ray] Bobcaygeon – The Tragically Hip (2012)

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:

When I first learned that there was another Tragically Hip concert film, titled Bobcaygeon, I got excited. The last Hip concert film we watched, That Night in Toronto, was pretty good, so I was ready to settle in and see Gord and the Boys at it again. This film was to be significant, chronicling the major concert that took place June 25, 2011, in the small town of Bobcaygeon, Ontario, the subject of one of the Hip’s best known songs of the same name. This concert was a big deal: 25000 fans, converging on a town of 2500 basically in the middle of nowhere.

Bobcaygeon, however, is not simply a concert film; it gives an inside look into the planning and execution of a huge undertaking. The concert already two years into its planning at this point, the film begins just days ahead of the event where we are first introduced to the key organizers of the event as they arrange and assemble the stage in the middle of an empty field. We sit in on a town meeting where public safety, parking and affected local business is discussed. We meet the local townsfolk who are excited for the concert, meanwhile an unhappy bride who booked her wedding on the same day and time as the concert can’t get lodging for her guests. We follow a handful of Hip fans and ticketholders from all walks of life as they share what the Hip and this concert means to them.

Lastly, we are given a backstage peek into the Tragically Hip as they prepare to perform in concert. I wrote in my notes, “FINALLY!” as in finally, we get to see this intensely private band interact outside of performing! But as I watched, hoping to learn new personal details, in the end I didn’t really get anything profound, except that Johnny Fay wore braces and liked to use alcohol wipes instead of pit stick. I guess that’s…something private…

Mostly, I was surprised to see Bobcaygeon didn’t show the Hip’s complete concert here – only four songs are actually shown performed in full, and only eight songs in total:

  • Grace, Too
  • We Want to Be It
  • Ahead By a Century
  • It’s a Good Life If You Don’t Weaken (Full)
  • Courage (For Hugh MacLennon)
  • At the Hundredth Meridian (full)
  • Bobcaygeon (full)
  • Fifty Mission Cap (full)

But, the fact that director Andy Keen chose to concentrate less on the Hip’s proper concert performance and more on everything else is a little disappointing. This was a big Hip event! As important as it was to show the set-up of the concert, some of the doc’s focus was not very interesting: a tattooed family of four and their concern for booze after the concert? Pass. As for the rest of the fan stories, hey, I’m already a fan, you don’t need to convince me to like the Hip. Now, let’s see ’em perform!

In any case, I can say though that the look and sound of this film on blu-ray is pretty damn good. The sound mixing was especially impressive, drawing out elements I wasn’t expecting, like Gord Sinclair’s baselines, for example.

The Bobcaygeon blu-ray itself is barebones – containing only the film, no extras. What would have been fab is including the entire concert on a second disc. We all know the whole show was documented…I’m led to believe that Bobcaygeon is a film solely meant for fans – die-hard ones at that, who already know the story and want a bit of behind-the-scenes, and maybe some fan tales. Those who are new to the Hip, however, would likely not get the concert experience they should be getting; for them, I’d recommend That Night in Toronto. Overall, though, as a fan, I enjoyed Bobcaygeon for what it was: a doc that set up the planning and execution of what was a great event in a small town. I just wish they showed a little more of the actual concert. It’s a 3/5 for me.

Bobcaygeon (Film)
The Tragically Hip
2012

Thanks for reading! Please check out Kevin’s take!

[Music] Now For Plan A – The Tragically Hip (2012)

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:

I bought the Tragically Hip’s 12th album, Now For Plan A, when the HMV stores went tits up in Canada in Spring 2017, and I got it for a song. It embarrasingly remained in shrinkwrap in a basket by my couch for months until we pulled our “resting” music collection out of storage that Fall. I still hadn’t listened to it until this week.

Now for Plan A is once again a departure from the previous “departure” albums, World Container and We Are the Same. The Bob Rock polish from latter releases has been scuffed up again thanks to Canadian producer, Gavin Brown who ensured the Hip’s capable grit and urgency was once again given a spotlight. There is loud on this one and very little calm. Even with the subdued songs, Rob Baker doesn’t turn the guitar down, Johnny Fay constantly hits the crash cymbal, and Gord Downie’s lower register returns. If you prefer your Hip with a constant rock edge, this might be your record.

At Transformation starts the album off with a delicious strum of a guitar and develops into the urgency found in Vaccination Scar from In Between Evolution. Man, that guitar tone…delicious! Not surprised this was released as a single (although I wasn’t listening to radio at this point).

Man Machine Poem follows, and perhaps is a preview of what is to become of the Hip album of the same name (the next album to review). A lyrically simple song that starts subdued and crashes into a sweeping crescendo. The guitar play is quite pleasant, but Gord Downie strains himself through it. Never mind man machine – echo machine is all over this one to the point that I feel like the voice is being sung into a tunnel.

The Lookahead is a short, catchy rock track that is pretty ready for radio. Sarah Harmer helps out with backing vocals. Some great lyrics in the chorus here:

You weigh a snowflake
Cause great trees to fall
Descending
On perfect arms
Like Jeff Beck
To give me the lookahead

Things slow down a tad with We Want to Be It, a sentimental and likeable Hip tune, whose vibe is hyped up by the next tune, the urgent Streets Ahead. Some great guitar work here, but a little too much pro tools effects on Gord’s voice.

Now For Plan A follows; it’s a quiet and serene tune – about the only one on Now For Plan A so far. It’s lovely and atmospheric. Sarah Harmer’s gentle voice once again tends to the backing vocals.

The Modern Spirit starts up with a drumbeat similar to In View, and then breaks into a rock song, which, if we are to take the instrumental of the tune, wins. But, this one is probably my least favourite song here. Why does Gord sound like he is in pain?

About This Map is next, and I really love the vibe of this song. A great bass line, great fingering on that guitar, harmonies are strong…and even though the lyrics aren’t much other than “about this map,” and “want to want to,” the tune itself is pretty.

Take Forever is a typical Hip bar room rock tune with all the trappings. Good guitar riffs. That bass! Gord Sinclair kicks it out of the park on this one. This one could easily live on radio, although it was not released as a single.

Done and Done follows, and we’re met with another quiet, but emotional, song. Gord Downie’s voice is right in the range where it should be – beautiful. I really like this one.

Goodnight Attawapiskat is the political and power song of the album…located in Northern Ontario, Attawapiskat First Nation is known as the place where De Beers leased land from the tribe to build a diamond mine. The lyrics bite, when you imagine the predatory nature of the situation:

And though there's no sign of a songbird up here yet
No one to take advantage of
We know that life is short nobody can afford it
To sing a song that they don't love
I've come too far to feel like this
You've come too far to feel like that

Now For Plan A is the Tragically Hip’s shortest album at 39 minutes. Overall, a pretty good album, a few small issues I have with the production, like the overuse of echo, and poor Gord sounds in pain in some of the tracks, but overall a decent rock album. It’s a 3/5 for me.

Now For Plan A
The Tragically Hip
2012

Thanks for reading! Now check out Kevin’s take!

[Music] We Are the Same – The Tragically Hip (2009)

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:

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
2009

Thanks for reading! Now go check out Kevin’s take!

[Music] World Container – The Tragically Hip (2006)

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:

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!

World Container
The Tragically Hip
2006

Thanks for reading! Please check out Kevin’s take!

[Music] Yer Favourites – The Tragically Hip (2005)

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:

Yer Favourites is a 2-CD greatest hits compilation by the Tragically Hip, released as a part of the Hipeponymous boxset, but was also sold as a separate package. Save for two bonus tracks, each song in this set was chosen by fans. The band had sent a call out on their website back in the day for fans to “submit yer favourites.” What can I say, I missed out on that call…then again I would have just been pulling songs from the Hip’s first five albums, and not the full 9 albums plus EP that Yer Favourites contains. There are a total of 35 familiar tunes, with two bonus tracks, and the distribution of songs chosen show which albums are most popular with fans:

The collection starts with a kickass bonus track called No Threat. This is a modern rock n’ roll tune; catchy and fresh. We are then lead down the Hip Memory Highway, starting with the familiar Grace, Too, and from there it’s a great 154 minute trip through the band’s catalogue thus far. The journey ends with another bonus song, called The New Maybe, a gentle acoustic guitar track.

The songs on this collection have been remastered and they do sound a little different to my ears. For some of them, there is a crispness; you can hear this particularly in the song Fiddler’s Green; Gord Downie’s countdown at its start is very clear, whereas I don’t recall it being so clear on the Road Apples album. Four songs got the remix treatment – Looking For a Place to Happen, Courage (For Hugh MacLennon), Fully Completely and At the Hundredth Meridian. A couple of them get a slight overhaul from their original, where guitar, bass or drums get a bump, becoming more prominent than heard before (Looking For a Place to Happen, Courage). The remix of At the Hundredth Meridian treats the guitar arrangement a bit differently from the original, and the backing vocals are much more prominent, but, I don’t mind it. Fully Completely is noticeably different: Its original had suffered a little from “echo-itis” with Gord sounding like he was singing in an empty warehouse with a tambourine. The remix tones that echo down considerably, and kicks Mr. Tambourine out. I like it! Now, should these remixes be on a compilation such as Yer Favourites? Traditionally, I get annoyed when bands put remixes on a greatest hits compilation: those are NOT the versions I am familiar with! BUT, strangely, I wasn’t irritated by the remixed songs here, and I found myself mostly nodding in agreement with the direction they went in the new cuts. So, your mileage may vary, but I’m fine with ’em here…this time.

I always knew Hip fans had great taste, and it shows in the tunes they chose for this compilation. Each song on Yer Favourites is like a “ooh! I love this song!” surprise, and I don’t think I would swap out a single song. Would I add any? I could easily name the rest of the tracks from Fully Completely, but that might be overkill, lol. Honestly, I’ve complained about the Hip not editing tracks, and this compilation’s setlist is excellent.

The greatest part of a fullsome package such as Yer Favourites is that everyone equally benefits: listeners new to the Tragically Hip who are looking for an intro to the band should buy this, and those who have been lifelong fans will have all their favourites in one set. Yer Favourites caters to both well. I recommend the investment; you won’t be disappointed!

5/5

Yer Favourites
The Tragically Hip
2005

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out Kevin’s take!

[DVD] That Night in Toronto – The Tragically Hip (2005)

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:

That Night in Toronto is a live concert DVD of the Tragically Hip’s performance during their In Between Evolution tour, November 2004 at the Air Canada Centre, in Toronto, Ontario. Directed by brothers Francois and Pierre Lamoureux this two-hour long concert is complete without edits; the spaces in time between songs and encores were kept as they happened that night. I watched this for the first time last night. As far as Hip concert DVDs go, this one was pretty good. At 5.1 Surround, this was a decent sounding concert. I could hope for a li’l Blu-Ray clean-up, but really the print wasn’t bad either.

The Hip performed 24 of their hits to a packed house that evening (18,000 people!). The band was tight and in their prime. Gord Downie was oh-so sweaty; par for the course. They had three encores, and some surprises in the set-list. Kevin and I had some fun trying to guess what songs they’d perform next. I said, “I’d like to hear Three Pistols, but I doubt I’ll hear it…” only to prove me wrong by performing it. It was special to me to see these guys in concert at that point in time (2004). I couldn’t help but think how many hits they had under their belt, and there were more to come.

The set-list itself features a range of songs spanning all their releases from Up to Here to In Between Evolution:

  1. Vaccination Scar”
  2. “Fully Completely”
  3. “Grace, Too”
  4. “Summer’s Killing Us”
  5. “Ahead by a Century”
  6. “Silver Jet”
  7. “As Makeshift as We Are”
  8. “Courage (for Hugh MacLennan)”
  9. “Bobcaygeon”
  10. “Nautical Disaster”
  11. “Gus: The Polar Bear from Central Park”
  12. “Poets”
  13. “At the Hundredth Meridian”
  14. “It Can’t Be Nashville Every Night”
  15. “My Music at Work”
  16. “New Orleans is Sinking”
  17. “Heaven is a Better Place Today”
  18. “It’s A Good Life If You Don’t Weaken”
  19. “Little Bones”
  20. “Gift Shop”
  21. “Springtime in Vienna”
  22. “Three Pistols”
  23. “Boots or Hearts”
  24. “Blow at High Dough

I suppose if I were to critique anything… there were no extras on the DVD – just credits, a setlist, and an easter egg that led to three Hip concert posters. No interviews, no backstage action of the band, nothing. The liner booklet does include a partial contact sheet of teeny black and White candids of the band, but mostly backstage hallways and columns. What a missed opportunity.

Overall though, That Night in Toronto is pretty darn good. I’ll give it a 4/5. An enjoyable watch.

That Night in Toronto (DVD)
The Tragically Hip
2005

Thanks for reading! Now check out Kevin’s take!

[Music] In Between Evolution – The Tragically Hip (2004)

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:

In Between Evolution? Now we’re getting into stranger territory, people.

The next bunch of Tragically Hip studio albums are completely foreign to me, and are definitely fit for a fresh review as I have no point of reference… That said, In Between Evolution…ah…I don’t remember where or when I got the CD.

To start, let’s talk about judging a book by its cover. I dislike the album art of In Between Evolution…the shade of amber, the stylized drawings…I think this might be my least favourite album art design of the Hip’s. Thankfully, I am able to look beyond cover art as I found the album recording overall pretty satisfactory.

I popped In Between Evolution (IBE) in the player early this week and listened while doing some work. At first pass several of the songs sounded like other songs I heard before, or more like songs “a la [insert artist].” Heaven is a Better Place Today starts things off to a poppy rock start reminiscent of early R.E.M.with the guitar stylings of Tom Petty. Summer is Killing Us follows up next, reminding me a bit of Foo Fighters. Gus: the Polar Bear From Central Park with its deep guitar that trails off at the end reminds me of Neil Young. Now, when I say these remind me of other artists – not a negative! I happen to love R.E.M., Petty, the Foos and Neil. All good! I come to find out this album was produced by Adam Kasper, who has worked with *ahem* R.E.M., the Foos, among others that I like. We can see how some of the roots of these songs were set…

Vaccination Scar, the fourth song on IBE, is definitely the one song I recognize from somewhere (likely radio) and reminds me of Interpol (PDA, specifically). It’s one of my favourites from the album. There is some great singing guitar here that tells its own story.

It Can’t Be Nashville Every Night is the one song that comes close to the Hip standard – a great rock tune with a catchy “yea” in the chorus. And it starts with expletives; a great start to a song, I say!

If New Orleans is Beat is the quieter song on the album. It’s a lovely tune, followed by another lovely tune, that is fast becoming a favourite of mine, You’re Everywhere, its lyrics I interpret to be about the plight of adulthood and independence…and no matter how much we try to “never be our parents,” their ways always creeps in, don’t they?

As Makeshift As We Are, track 8 on the album, is the more generic radio rock song, but an enjoyable listen all the same.

IBE shows its need for better track omission with the next three weaker tracks – Mean Streak, the Heart of the Melt and One Night in Copenhagen. Now, I wouldn’t rate these as horrible…not at all. They’re just not as strong compared to the rest of the album, and definitely more forgettable. With a burgeoning 13 tracks to IBE, if ever they considered which to cut out, I’d remove these three.

We then hear some interesting footwork from Johnny on the bass drum in Are We Family, the second to last track, only to be rewarded with another classic rock Hip track in Goodnight Josephine, a decent closer.

Through reflection, the Tragically Hip’s album being called In Between Evolution may be a play on the band’s own emerging evolution; Hip songs evolving into other songs that sound like other familiar artists. I’m not sure, but I really enjoyed this experimentation (whether intended or not). I’ll have to see where the Hip end up in terms of style with their next album. But, as for In Between Evolution, I give it 3/5.

In Between Evolution
The Tragically Hip
2004

Thanks for reading! Now check out Kevin’s take!

[Music] In Violet Light – The Tragically Hip (2002)

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:

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
2002

Thanks for reading! Now please read Kevin’s take!