Tragically Hip week is over now and Canadians of a certain age are still suffering the inevitable post-hip hangover. Make no mistake, it has been an emotionally exhausting few months, from the time news was shared about Gord Downie’s illness up until the final bows of their last waltz in Kingston. An event so captivating that we as a nation tuned in and watched with the same fervor as though it were game seven of a Toronto vs Montreal Stanley Cup final. (Yes I am aware they are in the same conference and could never play each other in the finals, but let us visualize that particular miracle in order to highlight the magnificence of the situation). Along with this very public outpouring of love for the band came the declaration from many of how the Hip had provided the soundtrack to their lives.
That phrase – the soundtrack to your life – is a weighty statement that carries with it a big chunk of your baggage and memories and even your personality. It's more than that Ramones phase you went through in high school, or when you declared yourself a hip jazz-cat because you bought a second Miles Davis CD. If you outgrew Green Day after grade 9, then perhaps that was merely your soundtrack to getting stuffed in a locker by a senior.
What we are talking about here kids, is the stuff that sticks. The music that was playing during your formative years and beyond. It would have accompanied your teenage span, when you were busy making all the mistakes that helped turn you into a real human being, but also followed you to University or travelling the world. If you had copies of the Tragically Hip’s Up to Here on vinyl, followed by cassette, CD, iPod and finally back to vinyl (when that became cool again), then I have news for you my friend. The Hip are part of the soundtrack to your life.
There is something to be said for music that you never tire of. To test this theory, think back to the last time you visited a cottage. If you listened to Bobcaygeon five times on the way up, and then later pulled out your guitar and sang a whole bunch more Hip songs around the campfire, this is definitely your band. Need further proof? Does your four year-old know the words to Wheat Kings? If so, then that CD has been in rotation in your car for a loooong time.
It is a rare and special thing to have grown up and matured with a band. Particularly if that band feels like they are from your hometown, and you know that you will never outgrow them. Way back in the day, I wanted them to be a big deal in the USA, and I wanted to share them with the rest of the world, but not anymore. I like the intimate thing Canadians have going with these guys. I still want them to be our secret.