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Tied to the 90s: 8 songs to get drunk to with Canadians at the cottage Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Posted 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.

Tied to the 90s
Canadian Flag

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:

Stuck in the 90s” and “King of Spain” by Moxy Früvous

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.



1. Baba Oje - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I refuse to respect or listen to Sloan since I saw them open for somebody and try to get a “Slo-one” chant going unsuccessfully. Three times. It was just sad.

2. mingusmonk - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Money City Maniacs seems familiar because it was on a popular blog’s Morning Rock segment.


Why on earth that factoid is lodged in my brain, yet I’ll forget to buy toilet paper on the way home, is an issue that is beyond frustrating.

3. Yostal - Wednesday, May 23, 2007


You know, because YouTube is websensed at work, I often forget to check it, so I honestly didn’t realize this. Now I feel like a complete idiot for not seeing the connection.

4. Jerkwheat - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

ah, Fruvous.

and you can’t escape the Morning Rock mingus…it p0wnz all

5. DougOLis - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

So does this mean “My Heart Will Go On” is not a good song for drinking to? Cause if so, then that changes my whole paradigm of what drinking is.

6. Greek McPapadopoulos - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I saw Pearl Jam cover “RIFTW” with Sleater-Kinney and Johnny Marr, with David Cross joining in too. That song always kills.

7. Yinka Double Dare - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

You really can’t go wrong with that entire Sloan album. Or the one before it (One Chord to Another), which might be even better.

Matthew Good is kinda crazy. His writings are rather bizarre. But that’s a darn good album.

8. Yinka Double Dare - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Greek, didn’t Neil Young do that on SNL, with Pearl Jam as the backing band? Maybe I’m remembering wrong.

9. DougOLis - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Is it just me or does Win Butler (Arcade Fire) in the “Rebellion (Lies)” video look exactly like Conor Oberst in the “Four Winds” video that Jerkwheat did for YMR today?

–fixed by author for spelling…

10. Kid Canada - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Canadian gems from the 90s, eh?

The Tea Party – “The Bazaar”, “Sister Awake”, “Fire in the Head”

Junkhouse – “Shine”

The Lowest of the Low – “Bleed a Little While Tonight”, “Rosey and Grey”, “Salesmen Cheats and Liars”

The Rheostatics – “Record Body Count”, “Stolen Car”

Bootsauce – “Love Monkey Number 9”

Hayden – “Two Doors”

p.s. no self-respecting Canadian male listens to Moist.

p.p.s. Matthew Good >>>>>>> Chad Kroeger

11. Kid Canada - Wednesday, May 23, 2007
12. Kid Canada - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Actually, just watch this live performance of Stolen Car, it’s an incredibly beautiful hidden gem.

The Rheos were awesome…very few bands have the balls to name their debut album “Greatest Hits”.

Rheostatics – Stolen Car, live

13. Kid Canada - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Now I’m going.

54-40 – “She La”

Sloan – Underwhelmed (live) – best Sloan song ever.

Sloan – Coax Me (live) – the other best Sloan song ever.

14. mathesond - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Kid Canada, I could never get into Tea Party – too derivative of Zep and the Doors for my tastes. I do agree with your views on Moist, though – I had the (mis)fortune of seeing them open for Neil Young in Halifax back in ’96 or ’97. Oy.

I can’t understand the fixation for Underwhelmed on this site – I would put Median Strip, I Am The Cancer, and Take It In, and that’s just from the Smeared album.

15. Longsnapper Jones - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How does Yostal, of all people, not mention Moxy Fruvous’s “Michigan Militia”? And Sloan’s “Try to Make It” is a perfect song about being pushed into stupid plans that you aren’t interested in.

16. Kid Canada - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

mathesond – I guess it’s hearing them played live a bunch, I love Underwhelmed. I like I Am The Cancer too, but I’ve never been able to get into Median Strip, Take It In, Marcus Said or 500 Up as live songs. I like Lemonzinger a bunch too but never heard it live.

17. TheStarterWife - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Seriously? TWICE now there has been a Canadian music list on this site with nary a mention of Skinny Puppy.


18. mobilus - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Kim Mitchell’s “Rock & Roll Duty” is the Master Cpl. to Neil Young’s Sgt. “Rockin’ In the Free World”. (He had the split personality to put Lager & Ale on the same LP as Go For Soda… no truer Canadian dichotomy of virtue and vice.) Riffin’ Kim aside, I’d go with The Skydiggers “Monday Morning”.

19. Jerkwheat - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Underwhelmed was the first Sloan song I ever heard and therefore it has a special place in my heart – but I have many many Sloan songs that I give my love to

20. ska2682 - Thursday, May 24, 2007

Jerkwheat – You will give your love to pretty much anything that will move….oh wait….that is me!

21. Jerkwheat - Thursday, May 24, 2007

I never gave my love to you—you took it you heartless bastard

22. ska2682 - Thursday, May 24, 2007

Yeah, but deep down you loved every second of it!

23. Michael - Friday, March 14, 2008

I once described Sloan’s “Chester the Molester” as “A Ben Folds song being played by a Canadian Beatles who, instead of tripping on acid, smoked a big joint and ate all the sugary snacks in the house.”

And put me in the “I Am the Cancer” group.

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