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Tragically Hip - Phantom Power
 By: Stephen Jordan


The band I'll be talking about is the Tragically Hip. They are undeniably the greatest Canadian band ever, and have a cult like following in Canada. The Hip have released eight albums, including one live album recorded at Cobo Hall, Detroit. Their latest release, "Phantom Power", is a great work of art that recently won a Juno (kind of Canadian's version of the Grammies) for "Rock Album of the Year". I picked up the cd during the summer and can listen to it any time of the day. Every song is very enjoyable to listen to and many songs discuss events that occured in good old Canada.    'Poets' is the first track and discusses the topless law for women in Ontario. The video was filmed in a house with around 450 cats and was directed by the lead singer of the band, Gord Downie. 

Other hits on the album are 'Something On', 'Bobcaygeon',and 'Fireworks'. Fireworks mentions the 72 Summit Series and the great Bobby Orr. In fact, frontman Downie is a Boston Bruins fan and is the Godson of Bruin's GM Harry Sinden. Downnie's brother also works at the Fleet Center. "Bobcaygeon' is deep in meaning and brings back the memories of a riot that occured in Toronto several years back. Another song on the record is 'Save The Planet' which has a 'Little Bones' feel to it (Little Bones was on a previous record, "Road Apples"). This record encorporates more instruments than previous Hip records, including a
flute in several songs, 'Emperor Penguin' for example. It is a more mature album for the Hip, doesn't have the flat out rock and roll songs from previous albums, and is very nice to listen to. The songs have a deep meaning and there are no fillers; every song is worth listening to.

I had the pleasure of seeing the Hip for the first time live when they kicked off their Canadian Winter Tour 99 in Saint John, New Brunswick and the show was amazing. There was great lighting by the crew, the  stage was a pleasure for the eyes with a chandalier hanging from above. The energy of the band was very high, but maybe even higher from the incredibly loud crowd. The crowd cheered loudly at every free moment, and the clapping, head movements,and swaying were evident all night. I had a decent floor seat and the band was loud and on their game. From the first song, 'Poets' to the last song,( which I can't remember if it was 'Little Bones' or not but I'm pretty sure) I was HIPnotized. In my mind, the best song of the night was 'At the Hundredth Meridian' in which Downie went into a ramble like he does so often in the middle of the song. Then the band went back to the song with a blast full of emotion and energy. The moment just before Downie sang, 'if I die of vanity, promise me, promise me, they bury me some place I don't want to be, ....' the blast of the drums and guitars all came together to form an explosion. After over two hours and two encores,the show had to come to an end and I was satisfied. My first Hip experience was super and I'd jump to see them live again. If you like rock and roll, but have never heard the Hip, you may not find this record as satisfying as Hip fans would. Maybe if you are skeptical about the Hip, pick up "Day for Night" and you will be hooked. "Phantom Power" is a great record and any Hip fan will love it. 

Feedback?  You can email Stephen Jordan at thugs_tth@yahoo.com

Visit the Artist Feature for the Tragically Hip

Click here to purchase this cd online and hear real audio samples. 

 


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