Since I’m already here and a hot, sweaty mess I might as well lift a little heavy iron while I’m at it. So I’m moving off the bike to the weight racks and switching over to another album, the ‘Fully Completely‘ album by Canadian rock darlings The Tragically Hip.
‘Fully Completely‘ is where the Kingston, Ontario band finally come to the apex of their talent. This album to some will play like a canon of greatest hits and Lords know that when it was released in 1992 I heard it, like, a gazillion times in the hallways of my university residence.
Lead singer Gord Downie sounds crisp and full of life, and the songs he verbally dramatizes are rich in lyrical sharpness and instrumental color. With more than half of this album’s songs being released to Canadian radio, it established the Hip as a mainstream contender and rescued them from their bar band persona. After all, it contains subject matter covering hockey to Prime Ministers.
How can it get any more Canadiana then that?
Songs like ‘Courage‘ and ‘At the Hundredth Meridian‘ glimmer with Downie’s poetic finesse while basking in the dimmed glow of background guitar. ‘Fifty-Mission Cap‘ is centered around their interest of hockey nostalgia Bill Barilko, and ‘Locked in the Trunk of a Car‘ simmers with an R.E.M.-type brusqueness that hovers in mystery. The astuteness of ‘Wheat Kings‘ comes off as one of their best slow songs, once again elevated from Downie’s peculiar unequivocalness. Letting Downie glide into each song with his complex philosophical idioms was a step in the right direction, a feat that was almost mastered on 1991’s ‘Road Apples‘, but fell just inches short.
However, my favorite (coming at a bit of a surprise I might add) is ‘Lionized‘. Wow. But then again, how can you not love a song that starts off with “cold wind blowing over your private parts”.
Not this guy I tell ya!