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The Tragically Hip – Fully Completely (1992)

July 28, 2016

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What was your Tragically Hip gateway?

For me, the memory remains vivid.

Fall 1992. Seeing the video for Locked in the Trunk of a Car enter the Coca Cola Countdown.

My eyes have never been wider.

.

As Fully Completely was my first Hip album, it is inevitably my favourite.

But even if it wasn’t my intro to The Hip, I struggle to see it being ranked much lower.

Mostly because Fully Completely is a perfect microcosm of all the things that makes the band so special.

I’ll attempt to keep it to one item per track:

Courage (for Hugh McLennan)
The lessons in literacy continue. The third verse is paraphrased from MacLennan’s 1958 novel, The Watch That Ends the Night. Another solid Gordie book recommendation.

Courage

Turn to page 274

Looking for a Place to Happen
What separates a good song from a great song? Often the second verse, usually the extra flourishes that were missing the first time around. Here, Looking goes from good to great, thanks to some subtle yet devastatingly effective Bobby Baker guitar details.

At the Hundredth Meridian
The spoken/whispered/sung third verse. I can’t help but speak/whisper/sing along every time.

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Contract or no…these pair deliciously

Pigeon Camera
The Hip are master crafters of the not-quite-ballad trackLike the eventual Bobcaeygeon, Toronto #4, or The Dire Wolf, Pigeon Camera is an early example of what would become a trademark song-style.

Lionized
The best albums aren’t necessarily Greatest Hits collections. As with many Stanley Cup winning teams, you’ll have the superstars of course, but you’ll have key contributions from the role players. An album track like Lionized is part of what makes Fully Completely so effective as a whole. It has role to play in the running order, it picks the tempo up from where Pigeon Camera left off, setting the stage for the side one closer.

Locked in the Trunk of a Car
Perhaps a microcosm within a microcosm (whoa) of what makes The Hip so exceptional. Every inch of tape is indelible, from Johnny Fay’s opening ride cymbal through GD’s “Let me Out” screams & outro fade out. Did I mention the video?

We’ll Go Too
A welcome respite following Locked‘s grisly subject matter. Great guitar tones too.

Fully Completely
A studio recording that somehow captures the intensity of a live performance. Give it a spin to see for yourself. Wait and you’ll see, just wait and you’ll see.

Fifty Mission Cap
They don’t always sing but when they do, Paul Langlois and Gord Sinclair provide some timely & memorable backup vocals. Such as their “in overtime” and “worked it in” contributions here. And seeing as the sleeve for Fully Completely did not contain the lyrics,  here is 13-year-old-me’s attempt at transcribing them!

artist and art

Limited edition promotional poster for 1995 Canadian Tour

Wheat Kings
If you can play G,C,D on the guitar, you can play Wheat Kings. Simply beautiful.

The Wherewithal
Terrific juxtaposition with Wheat Kings.

Eldorado
A curious choice for a closer but the more I think about it, it’s the only appropriate finale. Leading up to Fully Completely, the band had stronger individual tracks kicking around (the as of yet unreleased, Get Back Again, to name but one, is gorgeous). That being said, another heavier/lighter, faster/slower track just wouldn’t provide the same closure.

Enough closure for 13-year-old-me to declare Fully Completely the #1 Hip album to date.

In 2016, the #1 to date declaration stands.

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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 play: Fully Completely (1992)
Check out these Fully Completely (1992) reviews by: Brian, Aaron, Sarca

Jul 30 2016 The Hip plays: Edmonton, AB. I play: Day for Night (1994)

Aug 1 2016 The Hip plays: Calgary, AB. I play: Trouble at the Henhouse (1996)

Aug 3 2016 The Hip plays: Calgary, AB. I play: Live Between Us (1997)

Aug 5 2016 The Hip plays: Winnipeg, MB. I play: Phantom Power (1998)

Aug 8 2016 The Hip plays: London, ON. I play: Music at Work (2000)

Aug 10 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I play: In Violet Light (2002)

Aug 12 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I play: In Between Evolution (2004)

Aug 14 2016 The Hip plays: Toronto, ON. I play: World Container (2006)

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 (2011)

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

 

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29 Comments
  1. Nice beard action!

    I think in many ways, this is the most important Hip album. Musically and in the eyes of Canadians, they transcended their past and became something bigger.

    • haha, thanks Mike – so far the convenience of Not shaving is still outweighing the drawbacks of any itchiness/looking a bit derelict!
      I’d agree with that statement about Fully Completely – I’d say musically, they got even more interesting on the next one. Maybe not better, but even more intriguing

      • I must be the only guy who doesn’t get beard itch. At least not until it’s really long.

        I like all the other comments here too. Everybody has their own ways to describe Fully Completely, but we all seem to agree it’s an up-tick.

      • I’m not quite at Billy Gibbons length yet 😉
        And agreed, a capital “Like” to all comments here!

  2. Kudos for the shite photies (Hundredth Meridian beer is yummy), and the sidewalk chalk graph (because it isn’t a Geoff blog post without some sort of informational chart! It’s been a while since I read McLennan… maybe I oughta again.

    I remember watching the LITTOAC video with my Mom, and she said “you LIKE this stuff?” Haha.

    Yup, this is where the Hip went megawatt. As you rightly point out, every song is perfection. Every time I listen, I marvel at this record – there is absolutely no filler.

    As for it being their best? It’s hard to argue, I’d say most people would agree with you. I, myself, agree with you… except I love the next album even more!

    • As you can relate Aaron, thanks to the kids, I’ve got plenty of access to sidewalk chalk! Much appreciated – *spolier alert* I’ll definitely have plenty of nice things to say about DFN too!

  3. Great read Geoff! The first thing I recall upon listening to this album was the departure of the rawness of the first two studio albums with the guitars sounding a little more Metallic and that’s due to Chris Tsangarides production ( Priests Painkiler/ Anvil Metal On Metal)! This album was a leaner meaner Hip but great album.
    Dig the pics and lay out!
    ZZ Geoff with that beard!

    • Haha, ZZ Geoff is going on a future business card Deke!
      Many thanks, I hadn’t thought about it before – but those guitars on Wherewithal have that metallic sound for sure.

  4. Feels like being taken on a tour of sacred sites, Geoff. I can feel the love. Cheers.

    • Thanks Bruce – I remember Joe talking about the self-titled Dire Straits record, saying something like ‘it’s in the bones’ – that would certainly apply here for me!

  5. Great post, Geoff – really enjoyed this one. Definitely a shift in the sound on this one. Subtle, but a shift all the same.

    • Much appreciated J – I’m excited that you’re discovering the hip this year, as you can see from all of the Canadians making Hip posts this year, they mean a lot to us!

      • Clearly!

        (They’re pretty good, though – I can see why you Canadian folks like ’em so much!)

  6. Love the poster! I used to try and transcribe lyrics too.

    • I think it was my artistic peak Sarca! I loved that exercise of rewinding tapes & scribbling lyrics – some songs, I don’t think I was anywhere near the actual lyrics, but I sang along all the same!

  7. Absolutely love this!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Tragically Hip – Day for Night (1994) | 1001albumsin10years
  2. The Tragically Hip – Trouble at the Henhouse (1996) | 1001albumsin10years
  3. The Tragically Hip – Live Between Us (1997) | 1001albumsin10years
  4. The Tragically Hip – Phantom Power (1998) | 1001albumsin10years
  5. The Tragically Hip – Music @ Work (2000) | 1001albumsin10years
  6. The Tragically Hip – In Violet Light (2002) | 1001albumsin10years
  7. The Tragically Hip – In Between Evolution (2004) | 1001albumsin10years
  8. The Tragically Hip – World Container (2006) | 1001albumsin10years
  9. The Tragically Hip – We are the Same (2009) | 1001albumsin10years
  10. The Tragically Hip – Now for Plan A (2012) | 1001albumsin10years
  11. The Tragically Hip – Man Machine Poem (2016) | 1001albumsin10years
  12. Top 5 “I’m Grateful For…” | 1001albumsin10years

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