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The Sugarcubes – Life’s Too Good (1988)

NordicCountriestunesNifty Nordic logo by Sarca @ Caughtmegaming

Nordic Artist #1: Björk
Nordic Artist #2: ABBA
Nordic Artist #3: Röyksopp
Nordic Artist #4: The Sugarcubes

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[Album 469/1001]220px-The_Sugarcubes_-_Life's_Too_Good

Question: What do A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, Air’s The Virgin Suicides, and The Sugarcubes’s Life’s Too Good have in common?

Answer: Each had the misfortune of being the album review immediately following a childhood-favourite catalogue re-immersion (weezer, Gin Blossoms, and The Hip respectively).

While none of the three albums in question earned anything resembling a negative review from yours truly, I can’t help wondering how they’d fare if I’d heard these albums in a different context.

But life’s far too short (and far too good, for that matter) to dwell on such impossibilities.

Instead, it’s great that what have been new discoveries for me are likely childhood favourites for countless others.

And while I won’t be able to muster much more than pleasant platitudes for the above trio, because these records mean so much more than that to so much more of the world, I’m not sure it really matters.

Is Life’s Too Good worth hearing? If you ask me, sure, I’d say so.

If you ask someone whose childhood revolved around this record?

I’d imagine they’d say life wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good without it.

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Today’s 193 words were part of the #200wordchallenge,
happening all this week over at mikeladano.com!

200-word

Nordic Countries: 4th time’s the charm!

NordicCountriestunes

Nifty Nordic Logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

Nordic Countries Series Attempt #1, May 2016
Intro post, Top 5 Namechecks…and life gets busy, I disappear from blogging altogether.

Nordic Countries Series Attempt #2, June 2016
Return to blogging with a group post & To Windsor & Back series…I somehow miss the Nordic countries entirely!

Nordic Countries Series Attempt #3, July 2016
I (surprisingly) complete 3 posts covering 5 albums…before heading home & immersing in The Tragically Hip for a month.

Nordic Countries Series Attempt #4, August 2016
It’s too good of a Sarca logo to go so underutilized; I have to make at least one more attempt at Nordic Country exploration – I’ve got a good feeling about it this time!

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200-word
Terrific #200wordchallenge banner & event hosting by mikeladano.com.

For these final Nordic posts, I’m going to participate in Mike’s #200wordchallenge, with all reviews adhering to a strict 200 word limit, ideally 200 exactly.

Many of our fellow bloggers will be joining the fun all next week, from August 29th-September 2nd.

If you’d like to participate in the #200wordchallenge, please do!

Head on over to Mike’s site and let him know, preferably in your best Neil Patrick Harris voice, that you’ve accepted the challenge.

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Until then, enjoy my all-time favourite “4th time’s the charm” scene, courtesy of The Marx Brothers!

Top 5 “I’m Grateful For…”

Hip

The Hip’s Man Machine Poem Tour
Top 5 “I’m grateful for…”
By Geoff Stephen

5. The chance to revisit the catalogue this summer
To share stories, to compare notes, and to hear about the significant role the band has played in the lives of fellow fans. Opening the facebook on Sunday and seeing almost exclusively Hip photos & videos in the news feed. It’s been an amazing journey.

4. The thoughtful Hip-related messages from friends & family over the last month
It made my day every time one of you sent a text from a concert, shared articles/photos/favourite quotes, or reminisced about the shows we saw/the albums we enjoyed together. And thanks for the well wishes, for crossing your fingers, and for hoping I’d be able to catch one of the shows too…it worked!

3. The unbelievable good fortune in being able to get a ticket to the Ottawa show
They may have been the worst possible seats in the house (who am I kidding, we were in the nosebleeds, behind the stage, standing room only, they weren’t even seats!) but it couldn’t have mattered any less. We were there and it was glorious. Thanks also to my friends who shared the experience and shared photos from both that show and…

2. Saturday’s Kingston celebration
What an unforgettable celebration.

1. Rob Baker, Gord Downie, Johnny Fay, Paul Langlois, and Gord Sinclair
These five gentlemen are consummate professionals (total pro), their humility is beyond inspiring, and I have so much gratitude for the music they’ve made & for the difference they’ve made in our lives over the last three decades.

Truly, we are all richer for having seen them.

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 hipThe Hip Tour/My Post Schedule

Jul 22 2016 The Hip played: Victoria, BC. I played: The Tragically Hip (1987)
Check out these TTH (1987) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Jul 24 2016 The Hip plays: Vancouver, BC. I played: Up to Here (1989)
Check out these Up to Here (1989) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Jul 26 2016 The Hip plays: Vancouver, BC. I played: Road Apples (1991)
Check out these Road Apples (1991) reviews by: Brian, Aaron, Deke

Jul 28 2016 The Hip plays: Edmonton, AB. I played: Fully Completely (1992)
Check out these Fully Completely (1992) reviews by: Brian, Aaron, Sarca

Jul 30 2016 The Hip plays: Edmonton, AB. I played: Day for Night (1994)
Check out these Day for Night (1994) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 1 2016 The Hip plays: Calgary, AB. I played: Trouble at the Henhouse (1996)
Check out these Trouble at the Henhouse (1996) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 3 2016 The Hip plays: Calgary, AB. I played: Live Between Us (1997)
Check out these Live Between Us (1997) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 5 2016 The Hip plays: Winnipeg, MB. I played: Phantom Power (1998)
Check out these Phantom Power (1998) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 8 2016 The Hip plays: London, ON. I played: Music @ Work (2000)
Check out these Music @ Work (2000) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 10 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I played: In Violet Light (2002)
Check out these In Violet Light (2002) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 12 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I play: In Between Evolution (2004)
Check out these In Between Evolution (2004) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 14 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I played: World Container (2006)
Check out these World Container (2006) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 16 2016 The Hip plays: Hamilton, ON. I played: We are the Same (2009)
Check out these We are the Same (2009) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 18 2016 The Hip plays: Ottawa, ON. I play: Now for Plan A (2012)
Check out these Now For Plan A (2012) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 20 2016 The Hip plays: Kingston, ON. I attempted to review: Man Machine Poem (2016)
Check out these Man Machine Poem (2016) reviews by: Aaron, Brian & Mike

Thank you for reading/writing/listening/viewing/participating in this series,
it’s been a pleasure doing business with you!

The Tragically Hip – Man Machine Poem (2016)

Man Machine Poem

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The Hip released Man Machine Poem on June 17, 2016.

Shortly thereafter, my friends Aaron, Brian, and Mike wrote thoughtful reviews.

I planned on finally having my review ready to go for today…and now for Plan B.

Eventually I’d like to write a proper album review but at the moment, considering I’m still floating after seeing The Hip on Thursday and we’re a free city bus ride away from the Kingston festivities tonight, I’m not in any sort of space to string together anything resembling a coherent post!

So in the meantime, please read and enjoy Aaron, Brian & Mike‘s Man Machine Poem reviews, wonderful reviews of a truly wonderful record.

I’ll be back with an epilogue to this series when I can write something that doesn’t feel like I’m shouting in Caps Lock about how excited I am!

Enjoy the show tonight everybody!

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hipThe Hip Tour/My Post Schedule

Jul 22 2016 The Hip played: Victoria, BC. I played: The Tragically Hip (1987)
Check out these TTH (1987) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Jul 24 2016 The Hip plays: Vancouver, BC. I played: Up to Here (1989)
Check out these Up to Here (1989) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Jul 26 2016 The Hip plays: Vancouver, BC. I played: Road Apples (1991)
Check out these Road Apples (1991) reviews by: Brian, Aaron, Deke

Jul 28 2016 The Hip plays: Edmonton, AB. I played: Fully Completely (1992)
Check out these Fully Completely (1992) reviews by: Brian, Aaron, Sarca

Jul 30 2016 The Hip plays: Edmonton, AB. I played: Day for Night (1994)
Check out these Day for Night (1994) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 1 2016 The Hip plays: Calgary, AB. I played: Trouble at the Henhouse (1996)
Check out these Trouble at the Henhouse (1996) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 3 2016 The Hip plays: Calgary, AB. I played: Live Between Us (1997)
Check out these Live Between Us (1997) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 5 2016 The Hip plays: Winnipeg, MB. I played: Phantom Power (1998)
Check out these Phantom Power (1998) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 8 2016 The Hip plays: London, ON. I played: Music @ Work (2000)
Check out these Music @ Work (2000) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 10 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I played: In Violet Light (2002)
Check out these In Violet Light (2002) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 12 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I play: In Between Evolution (2004)
Check out these In Between Evolution (2004) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 14 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I played: World Container (2006)
Check out these World Container (2006) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 16 2016 The Hip plays: Hamilton, ON. I played: We are the Same (2009)
Check out these We are the Same (2009) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 18 2016 The Hip plays: Ottawa, ON. I play: Now for Plan A (2012)
Check out these Now For Plan A (2012) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 20 2016 The Hip plays: Kingston, ON. I attempted to review: Man Machine Poem (2016)
Check out these Man Machine Poem (2016) reviews by: Aaron, Brian & Mike

Epilogue to be posted..

The Tragically Hip – Now for Plan A (2012)

Plan A

 

.October 2012

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Given my listening context, and my initial feeling of indifference to the album, Now For Plan A was relegated to the shelf for much of the next few years.

So were many of my other Hip albums, as I continued to obsess with collecting, exploring, and writing about hundreds of new-to-me recordings.

And so the story went.

The nice thing about stories though, is that the narrative can change. Unfortunately this May, the changes weren’t all nice.

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May2016

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The 24th was a truly devastating Tuesday for legions of Hip fans.

But once again, the nice thing about stories is that the narrative can change.

And it has changed quite nicely over the past few months.

After the initial phases of shock, sadness, and anger, this summer has transformed into an incredible journey.

A personal journey, for one.

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July 2016

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Going through The Hip’s catalogue chronologically, while listening to little else, has been an enormous source of comfort for me this summer. This personal re-immersion has also helped me appreciate the band’s evolution throughout their unparalleled career. Which also means for certain recordings that I didn’t necessarily warm up to at the time, like Now For Plan A, I’m appreciating them a lot more when placed in the appropriate context.

But more importantly, from that Victoria Day weekend onward, we’ve gone through a national journey as well.

When The Hip play Kingston on Saturday night, the concert will be broadcast live on CBC (also online at cbc.ca).

Millions across the country will be watching. At home, with family & friends. At public screenings hosted by local arenas, libraries, and churches. Even those who aren’t all that familiar with the band are planning on tuning in, including my 93-year-old Great Aunt!

None of this was anybody’s Plan A.

We’re all blessed that The Hip’s tour has positively changed the narrative and that their tour has become such a wonderfully unifying event.

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hipThe Hip Tour/My Post Schedule

Jul 22 2016 The Hip played: Victoria, BC. I played: The Tragically Hip (1987)
Check out these TTH (1987) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Jul 24 2016 The Hip plays: Vancouver, BC. I played: Up to Here (1989)
Check out these Up to Here (1989) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Jul 26 2016 The Hip plays: Vancouver, BC. I played: Road Apples (1991)
Check out these Road Apples (1991) reviews by: Brian, Aaron, Deke

Jul 28 2016 The Hip plays: Edmonton, AB. I played: Fully Completely (1992)
Check out these Fully Completely (1992) reviews by: Brian, Aaron, Sarca

Jul 30 2016 The Hip plays: Edmonton, AB. I played: Day for Night (1994)
Check out these Day for Night (1994) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 1 2016 The Hip plays: Calgary, AB. I played: Trouble at the Henhouse (1996)
Check out these Trouble at the Henhouse (1996) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 3 2016 The Hip plays: Calgary, AB. I played: Live Between Us (1997)
Check out these Live Between Us (1997) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 5 2016 The Hip plays: Winnipeg, MB. I played: Phantom Power (1998)
Check out these Phantom Power (1998) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 8 2016 The Hip plays: London, ON. I played: Music @ Work (2000)
Check out these Music @ Work (2000) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 10 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I played: In Violet Light (2002)
Check out these In Violet Light (2002) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 12 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I play: In Between Evolution (2004)
Check out these In Between Evolution (2004) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 14 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I played: World Container (2006)
Check out these World Container (2006) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 16 2016 The Hip plays: Hamilton, ON. I played: We are the Same (2009)
Check out these We are the Same (2009) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 18 2016 The Hip plays: Ottawa, ON. I play: Now for Plan A (2012)
Check out these Now For Plan A (2012) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 20 2016 The Hip plays: Kingston, ON. I play: Man Machine Poem (2016)

The Tragically Hip – We are the Same (2009)

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hipThe Hip Tour/My Post Schedule

Jul 22 2016 The Hip played: Victoria, BC. I played: The Tragically Hip (1987)
Check out these TTH (1987) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Jul 24 2016 The Hip plays: Vancouver, BC. I played: Up to Here (1989)
Check out these Up to Here (1989) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Jul 26 2016 The Hip plays: Vancouver, BC. I played: Road Apples (1991)
Check out these Road Apples (1991) reviews by: Brian, Aaron, Deke

Jul 28 2016 The Hip plays: Edmonton, AB. I played: Fully Completely (1992)
Check out these Fully Completely (1992) reviews by: Brian, Aaron, Sarca

Jul 30 2016 The Hip plays: Edmonton, AB. I played: Day for Night (1994)
Check out these Day for Night (1994) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 1 2016 The Hip plays: Calgary, AB. I played: Trouble at the Henhouse (1996)
Check out these Trouble at the Henhouse (1996) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 3 2016 The Hip plays: Calgary, AB. I played: Live Between Us (1997)
Check out these Live Between Us (1997) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 5 2016 The Hip plays: Winnipeg, MB. I played: Phantom Power (1998)
Check out these Phantom Power (1998) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 8 2016 The Hip plays: London, ON. I played: Music @ Work (2000)
Check out these Music @ Work (2000) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 10 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I played: In Violet Light (2002)
Check out these In Violet Light (2002) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 12 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I play: In Between Evolution (2004)
Check out these In Between Evolution (2004) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 14 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I played: World Container (2006)
Check out these World Container (2006) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 16 2016 The Hip plays: Hamilton, ON. I play: We are the Same (2009)
Check out these We are the Same (2009) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 18 2016 The Hip plays: Ottawa, ON. I play: Now for Plan A (2012)

Aug 20 2016 The Hip plays: Kingston, ON. I play: Man Machine Poem (2016)

The Tragically Hip – World Container (2006)

World Container

Do you have a bucket travel list?

I’ve heard of people wanting to see a game in every MLB stadium, or wanting to visit as many countries/continents as they can.

Personally, I’d like to check out as many Hip name-checked geographic locations as possible. This summer’s progress:

Springside Park (An Inch an Hour) in Napanee? Check.

Bobcaygeon (Bobcaygeon)? Got within 25 kilometres or so in late July. Almost.

Mistaken Point, NL & Moonbeam, ON (From World Container’s Fly)? Well, based on the google maps below, slightly trickier to make a day trip from Kingston!

 

Mistaken Point

Moonbeam

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You may have noticed the CD was absent for the opening photo.

But for a good reason: it is currently in the car CD player, right where it belongs.

Though, admittedly, I rarely listen to World Container by myself.

But for the best of reasons: it’s my wonderful wife’s favourite Hip album, so it is typically enjoyed together!

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Why World Container (WC)?

To quote the WC track, Pretend, “is that your question? Because that one is easy.”

WC is The Hip’s most cohesive record
A true front-to-backer, with recurring themes & repeated lyrics, re-appearing in wildly different contexts, yet somehow totally unified.

Gord Downie = Best English Teacher Ever
Metaphor – “Yer not the ocean, you are just a lake”
Simile – “Holding your fist in the air like if you need me you’re on your own”
Homonym – “Am I lovesick?” from the track Luv (Sic)

The songs
The songs! Without great songs, nothing else matters. Though the eleven tracks work exceptionally well as a whole, I’d be remiss if I didn’t single out the following:

Family Band – The chorus lyric, “we’ll be a shade shy of truly loving this,” could not be less apt. Exceptional, especially the bridge, “into the back seat folded down,” I am truly loving this.

World Container – Yesterday, I asked my wonderful wife what her favourite WC track was. Though she almost instantly listed half of the album, the title track, the album’s closing track, was the first to appear on her list. And if asked the same question, I’d probably reflexively provide the same answer. It’s grand, it’s life-affirming, and two of its final lines say it all:

“What we have here are all flaws in progress”
In 2006, The Hip was still a work in process, just as a Family Band ought to be. Not necessarily pleasing everyone, but thankfully still as creative as ever.

“Where all songs are one song and that song is don’t forget”
Or where eleven songs become one unforgettable record.

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hipThe Hip Tour/My Post Schedule

Jul 22 2016 The Hip played: Victoria, BC. I played: The Tragically Hip (1987)
Check out these TTH (1987) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Jul 24 2016 The Hip plays: Vancouver, BC. I played: Up to Here (1989)
Check out these Up to Here (1989) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Jul 26 2016 The Hip plays: Vancouver, BC. I played: Road Apples (1991)
Check out these Road Apples (1991) reviews by: Brian, Aaron, Deke

Jul 28 2016 The Hip plays: Edmonton, AB. I played: Fully Completely (1992)
Check out these Fully Completely (1992) reviews by: Brian, Aaron, Sarca

Jul 30 2016 The Hip plays: Edmonton, AB. I played: Day for Night (1994)
Check out these Day for Night (1994) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 1 2016 The Hip plays: Calgary, AB. I played: Trouble at the Henhouse (1996)
Check out these Trouble at the Henhouse (1996) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 3 2016 The Hip plays: Calgary, AB. I played: Live Between Us (1997)
Check out these Live Between Us (1997) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 5 2016 The Hip plays: Winnipeg, MB. I played: Phantom Power (1998)
Check out these Phantom Power (1998) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 8 2016 The Hip plays: London, ON. I played: Music @ Work (2000)
Check out these Music @ Work (2000) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 10 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I played: In Violet Light (2002)
Check out these In Violet Light (2002) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 12 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I play: In Between Evolution (2004)
Check out these In Between Evolution (2004) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 14 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I play: World Container (2006)
Check out these World Container (2006) reviews by: Brian, Aaron

Aug 16 2016 The Hip plays: Hamilton, ON. I play: We are the Same (2009)

Aug 18 2016 The Hip plays: Ottawa, ON. I play: Now for Plan A (2012)

Aug 20 2016 The Hip plays: Kingston, ON. I play: Man Machine Poem (2016)

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