What can I say, I was a snob. In some ways I still am. But come on. It couldn’t be poetry if Teva sandals-and-socks wearing frat boys were into it, could it? What would they know about real art when they don’t even know what real shoes are? And he’s so ‘Canadian’. What’s revolutionary about that? Could a band so overtly popular, so blindly loved and followed have anything of real substance to add to culture, to art? And why in God’s name, did it feel like everyone in my first-year university dorm fully and completely losing their shit over The Tragically Hip‘s Fully Completely?
I didn’t get it then. Even now, watching random pedestrians getting stopped by news crews on the street to
sing butcher “Courage” into the camera makes me cringe. The fanaticism and loyalty still leaves me scratching my head, but time, the great revealer, has brought me closer to knowing, nurtured my appreciation, and tempered my cynicism. By the time Trouble In The Henhouse rolled around, I was wide open and ready. “Grace, Too” and “Nautical Disaster” from 95’s Day For Night softened my shell, left me permeable and ready to soak in the understated, soft brilliance of songs like “Ahead By A Century” and “Flamenco”.
I imagine Gord Downie‘s mind like a waterfall, while mine is like a sieve. The detail and nuance in his work is impeccable, and the imagery he conjures often leaves me gob-smacked. I haven’t paid close enough attention to Downie and The Tragically Hip’s work much past his solo album Coke Machine Glow, and by the time this blog started focussing solely on Canadian music, The Tragically Hip had fallen off my ‘must-listen’ list, relegated to the ‘get-to-it-whenever’ pile. But like that thundering waterfall just a few paces up the road from where I’m living now, no matter how long its been since I stopped to appreciate its presence in my life, the sheer volume and power of these forces of nature never ceases to leave me in awe and wonder.
To echo Leslie Feist‘s sentiments when she shared this rendition of “Flamenco” the other day: Love, respect, admiration, and pride, Mr. Downie. Super capacity, indeed.Tags: Feist, Gord Downie, The Tragically Hip