The Five

The Five Hip Songs

By this point in time, the whole Tragically Hip concert could be perceived as getting long in the tooth.

But to hell with that noise.

The Hip have illustrated the cultural fabric of Canada through their lyrics. Downie has been a true poet. He is subtle in his politics, shrouding his voice in well-crafted verses, touching on everything from racism to First Nations issues.

I listened to the Hip more when I was in university. I was stuck in a ’70s rock phase while in high school from ’93-’98. A friend of the family introduced them to me when I was 16, and a university friend, Chris, let my interest thrive as we sat in his dorm room during freshman year listening to Day For NightRoad Apples or Up To Here.

The concert that aired on CBC, Aug. 21 was watched by 11.7 million Canadians. I was one of them.

It’s okay if you missed it. There was no impetus or dire need for Canadians to witness the event, so don’t feel guilty. Anyone who admonishes you for missing it is missing the point of the concert, and CBC’s airing of it.

In honour of Canada’s favourite band, here are my favourite Hip tunes.

5. Song: My Music At Work
Album: Music @ Work
Release: May, 2000
Favourite Lyrics: “The cloud that entertains the dim possibility of showing some restraint — The rain came down berserk.”
4. Song: Little Bones
Album: Road Apples
Release: February, 1991
Favourite Lyrics: “The long days of Shockley are gone, so is football Kennedy style.”
3. Song: 50 Mission Cap
Album: Fully Completely
Release: January, 1993
Favourite Lyrics: “The last goal he ever scored (in over time) won the Leafs the Cup. They didn’t win another till 1962 — the year he was discovered.”
2. Song: At the Hundredth Meridian
Album: Fully Completely
Release: April, 1993
Favourite Lyrics: “If I die of vanity, promise me, promise me, they bury me some place I don’t want to be, you’ll dig me up and transport me, unceremoniously, away from the swollen city-breeze, garbage bag trees, whispers of disease and the acts of enormity.”
1. Song: Poets
Album: Phantom Power
Release: June, 1998
Favourite Lyrics: “Don’t tell me what the poets are doing, those Himalayas of the mind.”

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