Music @ Work: My Top 5 Tragically Hip Songs
The Tragically Hip have been a favorite band of mine for the better part of a decade. When it was revealed two weeks ago that Gord Downie, lead singer, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, I was bummed. The year of cancer has taken a friend already and has seen my mom diagnosed. I started listening and I thought about my favourites
- •"Grace Too"The Hip is my Music @ Work. I bust out my copy of "Yer Favourites" and wear it thin. "Grace, Too" has a bad ass, raunchy, and trippy melody backing it. It's a song about getting laid, but it's dark and mysterious too. It always feels like it's shape-shifting. It's a song that reveals the complexity, layers, and depth that The Hip are working with.
- •"Wheat Kings""Wheat Kings" is about David Milgaard, a Saskatchewan resident who was wrongly convicted of murder and did 20 years for it. There is a subtle anger to this acoustic ballad, but seems to be aimed at the regular people who judged him wrongly. It may also be told directly from his perspective too, as "wheat kings" may refer to a hockey team and "pretty things", a band the Hip covered early in their career. It just goes to add to the band's incredible songwriting.
- •"At Transformation"This song is from the band's last album, and speaks volumes. It showcases Gord Downie's ability to convey multiple emotions at once: anger and fright in this case. While recording Now For Plan A, Gord's wife was fighting a battle with breast cancer. "At Transformation" feels like someone at the end of their rope, trying to do all they can in a helpless situation.
- •"Courage"(For Hugh MacLennan)"This song is inspired by Canadian author Hugh MacLennan's novel 'The Watch That Ends the Night." It highlights what the novel's about: the decisions we make that get us into the shit we get into, even if it's the right thing to do. The ordinary decisions that lead to complex problems and dilemmas.
- •"Bobcaygeon""Bobcaygeon" is like a historical romance novel stuck in a song that also borders on being meta. It contains my favorite lyric in all of music. You fall in love with it the same way it's protagonists do, "one star at a time."