Gord like Bowie and Cohen knew they were dying. A new solo album, “Introduce Yourself”, will be released on October 27. 23 goodbye songs. Supposedly, very personal. Last year The Hip did release “Man Machine Poem”. It was just before this release that The Tragically Hip made the announcement that frontman Gord Downie was diagnosed with brain cancer (fuck cancer). This is the prism you listen to this album (also Bowie and Cohen) through.
It also contains one of my favorite songs of 2016, “Tired as Fuck”.
It’s not an understatement that The Hip were Canada. If you took the combined lofty place that music loving Americans have for Bruce Springsteen and Michael Stipe then you would almost, start to the get the love affair. You would have to roll Bruce and Stipe into one poet-philosopher and defender of the little. The place of honor that Mr. Downie occupies in Canada’s national imagination has no parallel in the United States.
Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, said in a statement: The Tragically Hip’s music “helped us understand each other, while capturing the complexity and vastness of the place we call home…Our identity and culture are richer because of his music, which was always raw and honest — like Gord himself.”
There has been no other artist in Canada that held the mirror up to who Canada was or should be. Gord Downie asked us all to be better people, treat each other with kindness. To have hope. To have courage.
One thing I love about Gord Downie and The Hip was that they would bring smaller artists with them on tour. It helped them out. It influenced how THOSE bands treated. Guilt by association.
Gord Downie and The Hip’s charitable actions, from food banks to The Chanie Wenjack Fund, makes us think about each others. They were music. They were action.
Music is a wonderful thing.
It can soothe.
It can help us remember the good times.
It can help us forget the bad (or at least live with it for a bit).
They were a hugely successful band with integrity and class. And for that, thank you to Gord Downie, Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair, and Johnny Fay. As music lovers our thoughts are with The Hip.
I also wrote about the Documentary, “Long Time Running”, about The Hip’s final, goodbye tour.
My god I love the line “you don’t let your balloon touch the ground or get so high that you can’t let go” Holy balls what a brilliant line. Yes, I know metaphors in rock don’t always work but I don’t care. One of my favorites.