The Tragically Hip – Music @ Work (2000)
“It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times?”
– Charles Montgomery Burns
Paradoxically, depending on whom you ask, or what part of the album you ask about, Music @ Work represents some of the peaks and/or valleys of The Hip’s career.
The opener, My Music at Work, is custom-made for radio: just over 3 minutes, appropriate intro length for the radio DJ to “hit the post” (talk up until the vocals hit), major chords, major catchiness. This immediate accessibility makes the track either revered or shunned, rarely in between.
But then things get really interesting on Track 2, Tiger the Lion, arguably the most polarizing Hip tune there is.
Now this was a few years before the ‘Liger’ in Napoleon Dynamite (speaking of polarizing entertainment) and after the toe-tapping opener, this one comes out of left field.
Whadda I think?
I simply adore it.
And the next track (Lake Fever). And then the next four (Putting Down, Stay, The Bastard, The Completists) are all really solid too. What a side A!
Though with the exception of the exceptional Toronto #4, the second half just isn’t as memorable. The songs are never bad per se, just not engaging.
For me, it’s that disparity between the fantastic first & forgettable second side that makes Music @ Work both the best & blurst of times.
However, the beauty of The Hip is that the studio album is only part of the experience. I had the pleasure of seeing them a few times in support of this album. As you can imagine, the underwhelming side B tracks were improved in concert. And the stellar side A tracks? Somehow even stellar-er!
A picture of some photographs, taken on a non-digital camera, from the front row of one of the shows (yours truly in the Dougie Gilmour jersey). I don’t think I was the photographer – I think my friend must have gotten the roll developed & given me doubles, talk about life in Y2K. 🙂
The Hip Tour/My Post Schedule
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 (2012)
Aug 20 2016 The Hip plays: Kingston, ON. I play: Man Machine Poem (2016)