CanCon gets an unfair rap in my estimation. Sure there’s a lot of cheese that otherwise wouldn’t warrant airplay, never mind actual recording, but it all gives a distinctly Canadian flavour to our music consumption. And I fully believe it helped a music scene flourish that otherwise wouldn’t have existed. Undoubtedly there would have been the odd breakout success finding a path to stardom in a US-UK dominated industry. The Neil Youngs and Rushs of the world always find their destiny, not to mention the Shanias and Justins (ugh). But without CanCon I doubt we’d have as many, perhaps any, of the Canada-only superstars that we all love and proudly call our own.
In my mind, no band encapsulates that concept more than The Tragically Hip, though The Guess Who are likely close. The Hip is possibly the most beloved Canadian band of all time, top five at least, and they never really achieved stardom outside of Canada. And they seem perfectly happy with that, as are we. They continue to churn out albums with Canadiana tinged songs and relentlessly tour the country to the joy and appreciation of adoring fans.
In the late 80s and early 90s The Hip released what is arguably the greatest triumvirate of successive albums by any CanCon artist in history: Up To Here, Road Apples, and Fully Completely. Once again this occurred during the core years of that powerful teen/young adult wheelhouse period of music consumption and I loved those three albums to death. There are many hits most of you know and they’re all worthy of this honour but I’d like to go a little deeper into the Hip catalogue. This is a song that was not released as a single so didn’t get any airplay or MuchMusic attention. You had to own the album to earn the privilege of hearing this gem.
Let’s kick off the weekend with “Trickle Down” from the 1989 classic Canadian album Up To Here from The Tragically Hip.