Tied to the 90s: 8 songs to get drunk to with Canadians at the cottage Wednesday, May 23, 2007Posted by Yostal in 90s rock, Bizzaro Holidays, DeadOn's Resident Pop Culture Historian, Gen X&Y, more indepth than probably need-be, O Canada, Reasons why I am single, Things too long to read, Tied to the 90s, Yostal.
Welcome back to “Tied to the 90s“, a not-very complete guide to a decade that was. I’m your host, Yostal, and once more, I’ll be taking you through the pop culture landscape of the 1990s. If you have any suggestions for future columns, please email me at GoinYostal@gmail.com or leave me a comment.
This week’s edition comes to us from our friends to the North, Canada. You see, tomorrow is May 24, Victoria Day in Canada, which was already observed this past Monday. So what the Hell is Victoria Day you might ask, or more importantly, why does Victoria Day deserve its own Tied to the 90s? Well, according to Wikipedia:
This holiday is regarded as the beginning of the unofficial “summer season” in Canada, and is thus the weekend when many businesses, parks, etc., that operate during warm weather months, will open. This makes it a very popular holiday. This long weekend also often signifies the beginning of spring to gardeners in much of the country as it falls around the time when they can be fairly certain frost will not return until the next autumn or winter. For much the same reason, because colder parts of the country winterize their recreational cabins and turn off water pumps, this weekend can also mark the beginning of the cottage season with cottagers making their first visits to check and clean their properties.
In some parts of Canada, the holiday is colloquially known as May Two-Four. This phrase has two meanings: the holiday always falls on the Monday of or before the birthday of Queen Victoria on the 24th of May, and a two-four is Canadian slang for a case of 24 bottles of beer, the most common packaging of Canadian beer.
So, you’re up at your cabin and you’ve got a package of 24 bottles of Canadian beer, so you’re going to need some tunes. Well, thanks to Tied to the 90s official Canadian correspondent, Dr. David, we got a great start on 8 songs to get drunk to with Canadians at the cottage. What with Memorial Day coming up and all, it’s sort of the same basic bear…
(Oh, and if this isn’t enough, El Jefe has some further (which is to say previous) suggestions at this post. More good stuff there.)
1). “Fifty Mission Cap” by the Tragically Hip (from the band’s 1992 album Fully Completely)
I don’t know that there is any song more quintessentially Canadian than this one. You have a band so Canadian, their only SNL appearance was when John Goodman was hosting (with Dan Aykroyd introducing them [They played "Grace, Too" and "Nautical Disaster", the latter of which is a song I adore]), a band so Canadian, they make a cameo appearance in Men with Brooms as themselves, as a curling rink representing Kingston, a band so Canadian that one of their most famous songs involves a hockey card of Bill Barilko. Who is Bill Barilko, you ask? Well, he was a Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman who scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in the 1951 Finals against the Montreal Canadiens. Four months later, he got on a float plane to do some fishing in northern Quebec when the plane and all aboard disappeared, not to be found for 11 years, a span coincidental to the Maple Leafs’ Stanley Cup drought at the time. (Canadian scientists still can’t explain what’s happened since 1967, but that’s another article for another day.)
(P.S.: If you’re listening to Fully Completely, leave it on for the next track “Wheat Kings“, another quintessentially Canadian song and one of the most beautiful songs by any band during the 1990s. Heck, you could just put on the Hip for the whole weekend and be all set. Seriously, my cousin Eric would likely recommend that course of action. But what fun would that be for a Tied to the 90s?)
2). “Rockin’ in the Free World” by Neil Young (from his 1989 album Freedom)
I already covered “Downtown” a couple of weeks ago during the mea culpa, so I am going to cheat a little and throw in this Neil Young classic, if only so I can quote from Canadian Bacon:
“Canadians are always dreaming up a lotta ways to ruin our lives. The metric system, for the love of God! Celsius! Neil Young!”
Apparently exceptionally popular to cover in concert (see Live 8 Philadelphia with Maroon 5 and Live 8 Barrie with, well everyone, or this U2/Pearl Jam clip in Hawai’i), it is also oft appropriated for movies and television soundtrack layovers. But it’s Neil Young!
3). “Money City Maniacs” by Sloan (from their 1998 album Navy Blues)
Living near Canada, I have been lucky enough to grow up with 88.7 CIMX-FM, better known as 89X, Windsor/Detroit’s Only New Rock Alternative, a 100,000 watt boomer that played an excellent mix of songs and the required CanCon. Sloan’s “Money City Maniacs” was quite the heavy rotation number back in 1998, so when it showed up in the list of suggestions, I was quite pleased. And then I listened to it and couldn’t remember why it seemed so familiar, beyond just listening to it a lot back in the day. Then I was reminded when doing the research: Featured in a Canadian Beer Commercial (specifically for Labatt’s). You watch enough Hockey Night in Canada, you see a lot of beer commercials and a lot of Canadian arenas still use this song in their playlists. Not bad for some boys from Halifax. Another great song from a Canadian beer commercial: “Toy Train” by Rymes With Orange (from their 1994 album Trapped in the Machine)
4). “Starseed” by Our Lady Peace (from their 1995 album Naveed)
Probably my favorite Canadian band of the 1990s after BNL, OLP had its major U.S. breakout with its debut single “Starseed”. And while tracks like “Clumsy” and “Somewhere Out There” prove that the band is no mere one hit wonder, it still, to me, comes back to the exceptional guitar work of “Starseed”, the opening strums into a great swooping power anthem.
5). “Hello Time Bomb” by Matthew Good Band (from their 1999 album Beautiful Midnight)
The man doesn’t seem to dig on publicity or play the record company game. I kind of like him for that. But it also means I have very little to add here. It’s a good song though! Dr. Dave adds this tidbit: ” An amusing fact about Matthew Good is that, during an interview with Rolling Stone, Chad Kroeger of Nickelback was asked who his biggest enemy was. Kroeger replied, ‘Matthew Good,’ prompting the interviewer to ask ‘Who?’”
6). “The Night Pat Murphy Died” by Great Big Sea (from their 1997 album Play)
Great Big Sea is, according to some, the pride of Newfoundland and Labrador. They are best known for performing traditional Newfoundland folk ballads (of which it had a rich and dense history. Perhaps none more frightening than the very direct “Anti-Confederation Song” From my outsider perspective, to say that Newfoundland has a confusing and difficult history when it comes to the notion of confederation with Canada seems reasonable.) But how could you have a playlist advocating drinking with Canadians without a Canadian (imported from Ireland) drinking song. I mean, “Oh the night that Paddy Murphy died, is a night I’ll never forget / Some of the boys got loaded drunk, and they ain’t got sober yet;” is beginning to prove what my uncle always likes to tell me, the difference between and Irish wedding and an Irish funeral is one fewer of the guests is drinking. OK, actually, he says it much more directly than that, but I really hate reinforcing my own people’s stereotypes.
7). “Steal My Sunshine” by LEN (from their 1999 album You Can’t Stop the Bum Rush)
You know, it’s gone past popular, past annoying, past kitschy, and back to tolerable. One of the peppiest numbers on the list, featuring a sample of the Andrea True Connection’s 1976 hit “More, More, More”, this track follows in the Weezer tradition of talking about plans regarding a party or some such in the gaps between the verses. I mean, I’ve never seen Karen look so bad before…I mean…but…Oh and what the hell is a butter tart? Or do I not even want to know?
8). “Rebellion (Lies)” by Arcade Fire (from their 2004 album Funeral)
Screw it, I never get to talk about the new music I like, and since I am already off the board this week anyway, I’m throwing in one of my favorite songs of the current decade. I need to keep some semblance of indie street cred after the last few weeks, and I just happen to love anthemic, sweeping songs. So, here I am, all set with the current darlings of indie rock and Montreal. Every time you close your eyes!
Additional suggestions (and notes) from Dr. David:
“Unsound” by Headstones (from their 1995 album Teeth and Tissue)
Hugh Dillon, frontman for the Headstones, is also the star of 1996 film Hard Core Logo. That film inspired another Canadian band to name themselves Billy Talent after the band’s guitarist, albeit with a different spelling.
“Home for a Rest” by Spirit of the West (from their 1989 album Save This House
One of the top 10 pop music drinking songs of all time.
“Shine” by Doughboys (from their 1993 album Crush)
Shine was the theme song for MuchMusic’s “alternative” show, The Wedge, for most of the 1990s.
“Push” by Moist (from their 1994 album Silver)
The video for “Push” was completely independently produced, cost $1,100, and hit #1 on MuchMusic in 1994.
“Trigger” by Change of Heart (from their 1994 album Tummysuckle)
Change of Heart was a band from Toronto that was far more popular among other bands than they were among the general public.
“One More Astronaut” by I Mother Earth (from their 1996 album Scenery and Fish)
What better way to enjoy the cottage than an album named Scenery and Fish?
“Ali” by Jale (from their 1996 album So Wound)
Grrl-rock from the East Coast. Check out Cub (occasionally featuring Neko Case on drums) for some west-coast grrl-rock.
And gratuitously for the_bad_one:
That’s all I have for this week. I genuinely hoped you enjoyed it, and please come back next week for another edition of “Tied to the 90s”. Until then, this has been Subcommandante Yostal, logging off.