The Tragically Hip – Trouble at the Henhouse (1996)
It was 20 years ago today…or at least, 20 years and a few months/weeks/days ago today that I picked up Trouble at the Henhouse (TATH).
I even stayed up past my bedtime to get it!
So was it worth the midnight trip?
The first half is one for the books.
Gift Shop – the band entry on “the pendulum swings” may be the best band entry in the catalogue.
Springtime in Vienna – is on my bucket list of places to go at a specific time of year.
Ahead by a Century – The Paul Langlois backup vocals, beauty.
Don’t Wake Daddy – I’ve been pausing and wondering about these lyrics for years!
Flamenco & 700 ft. Ceiling – Another fine exemplar of how to sequence a record, gliding seamlessly from gentle to aggressive as only The Hip can.
Though for the first time since I became a Hip obsessive, on the second half of TATH, they seemed somewhat human.
Butts Wigglin had/has the nice Kids in the Hall connection and Put it Off wrapped/wraps things up effectively, but in between, tracks 8-11, just weren’t/aren’t at the same awe-inspiring level.
But because tracks 7 & 12 started and ended the side with strength, the great band sounding merely ‘good’ wasn’t that much of a cause for concern.
Despite being almost a decade into their career, TATH was an album of a few other firsts.
-The first to arrive in a 100% recycled materials case (no booklet, lyrics printed on the cardboard)
-The first self-produced effort (as I learned from the Spring ’96 issue of Tales From the Hip pictured above!)
– The first album tour I had the privilege to attend, December 11, 1996, at Copps Coliseum (and seeing The Hip has been a privilege many more times since)
Good/great as the TATH songs were, as Rob Baker noted in the Summer ’96 issue of Tales From the Hip, “the song has to be better live. I think a song has to continue to improve…”
Now if only The Hip were to record a live album, to see if some of these TATH songs would continue to improve…
The Hip Tour/My Post Schedule
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)