Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Tragically Hip's World Container

You knew this was going to be coming from me sooner or later. Many of you who know me personally out there know that I am a big fan of The Tragically Hip.

They're coming back to Edmonton to play a concert on January 14, by the way. Me? Row 31.

So anyway, that's not what I wanted to discuss. I didn't want to come online to brag about getting row 31 tickets to see The Tragically Hip in January. Truth be told, row 31 is not all that spectacular for a show at Rexall Place. It's good, but you're not going to win any medals for getting tickets for row 31. I got to see the Hip in a night club once. I should have got a medal for that one. But enough of this concert talk.

The new album by The Tragically Hip came out recently. It's called World Container. I would have done a review for you, my gentle readers, almost right after the fact had it not been for all of my recent computer problems, which you undoubtedly read about in my last post.

World Container is yet another strong outing by Canada's favorite band.

It's different then what listeners would come to expect from The Hip in recent offerings, though. The sound this time is a more concise rock record. There are more tracks here that a really indicative of a rock n' roll band's as opposed to a band fronted by an amazing poet. Don't get me wrong, the lyrics here are tremendous, "World Container" and "In View" are prime examples of that, but not in the way that the lyrics on In Violet Light or In Between Evolution are tremendous. Frontman Gord Downie, whom I am probably forever in debt to for almost literally making my head explode with lyrical appreciation over the years, doesn't canoodle the English language as much as he's done in the past, offering here a more sparse effort with his words, but it's more of an exercise in minimalizing than producer Bob Rock throttling the singer. I think that Bob Rock's production really sheds more light on the guitars of Paul Langlois and Rob Baker. Songs like "Family Band" and "The Drop Off" show off a couple of meaty riffs from Langlois that brought mind the old days of Up To Here.

So where does this sit in The Tragically Hip canon? I'm not entirely sure. I've listened to it a few times now and I can't decide entirely how it measures up to their previous efforts, especially In Violet Light and In Between Evolution. I think this is the kind of album that would win back any fans who have been alienated by the band's more esoteric direction with its latter albums, but it's not so straight-forward that the people who appreciated those colorful works could see it as a step backwards.

I guess I would have to say that this is the right album for them to do at this point. It's half way between old Hip and new Hip. It's calculated, laced with some really catchy songs and I don't think this could distance them from any of their fans, whether it's the arthouse crowd or the beer-swilling mullet-heads. And they might just get a few new fans (if there are any people who haven't heard them yet) to boot.

Thumbs up indeed.

See you in January.

What we have here are all flaws in progress
where all songs are one song and
that song is, DON'T FORGET

-Gordon Downie
"World Container"

Some Housekeeping Notes

First off, I apologize for the delay in updating my blog. Has it been 10 days since my last post? Already? Wow. Time flies when everything is fucking up around you.

So for those of you who aren't in the know, my computer passed away suddenly and tragically just over a week ago. On Tuesday I finally got a new computer and since Tuesday I've been spending my free time getting my new computer set up just right. I'll be getting back to posting on my blog with some regularity very soon.

Aside from that you should head down to the Raving Poets website regarding news about our imminent return to rock Edmonton down to its foundation. Starting Wednesday, November 1, and going on every Wednesday night in the month of November, the Raving Poets will be doing a new series of readings: Five Wednesdays One November. It takes place at Yianni's Taverna, Kazbar Lounge (10444 - 82 Avenue, Edmonton) kicking off at 8:00 p.m. each time. It promises to be a hell of a series because I'm sure I'm not the only Raving Poet who has had some time to put together a whole arsenal of ass-kicking, donkey-punching, mule-throttling work. Expect blood.

Now that I'm back, let me just say that it's great to be back. I think that I might one of those people with an internet addiction problems. I had the shakes bad. Now begins the morphine drip of my life.