Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Tragically Hip

  • Music @ Work [Sire, 2000] C

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Music @ Work [Sire, 2000]
Blame Canada, which gulls citizens into subsidizing local culture with the lure of universal health care. Fifteen years on, that northern nation's favorite rock band--led by deep thinker Gordon Downie, who ungratefully notes, "If I do believe in a country, it's the country of me"--has progressed from a passable "blues-based" literacy (imbued, of course, with the natural sense of rhythm for which Canadians are renowned) to candidly ornate and obscure art-rock. "Why haven't The Hip sold millions in the States?" demands one loyal fan. His first hypothesis: "Lyrics don't translate into ebonics." So let's set Big Daddy Kane on this quatrain: "I loaded the variables like masterpieces from under the germ-led advance/I saw your compass on a sea of frayed cable and aspects of vision afloat/in a glance/and outside the train overnight floodlights on the inexorable sights." C

Further Notes:

New Wave [1980s]