Today marks my “official” return to something of a structured run training program. It may not be fast, long* or pretty yet…but it’s a start at least. And today that start begins with the ‘Phantom Power‘ album by the Tragically Hip.
I figured this was as good and as appropriate a listen today given that Gord Downie, lead singer, poet and Canadian icon tragically (if you’ll pardon the pun) passed away from brain cancer (click HERE).
While this album is more or less where I hopped off the Tragically Hip bus, it is also one of two albums I have not listened to yet and therefore detailed in this blog so, sadly, this is my opportunity to finally right that wrong.
And, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hop off the bus because I stopped appreciating the band, but more because my interests at the time leaned more towards Phish, the Grateful Dead and a whole host of more endless “bloobidy-bloobidy-bloobidy” jam based music given my lifestyle at the time.
Nod, nod, wink, wink.
Released in 1998, in some ways, this album was the one that intended as a breakthrough record for the band. It was their first American studio record in two years, and it was given a push by their new label, Sire. All of these factors were needed for promotional purposes, since the record is very similar to all the other Tragically Hip albums that preceded it. However, it would go on to win the 1999 Juno Award for Best Rock Album and Best Album Design.
The band has never quite delivered the power of their live shows on their records (even their live album), but that doesn’t mean they make bad records – they just make records that are uneven and mildly disappointing in comparison to what they are capable of achieving. It’s not only in that respect that ‘Phantom Power‘ delivers the expected – throughout the album, the Hip stick to their anthemic hard rock and boogie, turning in a couple of solid songs and a couple of middling tunes. Then, of course, there’s ‘Bobcaygeon‘ (which provided a gorgeous few moments of peaceful tranquility in my warm-up heading out into the extremely picturesque autumn landscape down Thunder Bay Rd.) that won the Juno Award for Single of the Year in 2000. It has since become recognized as one of the band’s most enduring and beloved signature songs to which every Canadian knows the lyrics backwards and forwards. In many ways, it became our second National Anthem.
So it was with a very heavy heart that today’s set of 4 x s minute painful intervals over 8.46k worth of hard fought pavement was completed up and down Thunder Bay Rd. this afternoon.
*In actuality, this was my longest run since July 1st when my training season went to shit in an over-sized hand basket.