2.09.2008

74 Minutes or Less: Canadian bands

welcome to the fifth installment of 74 Minutes or Less.

74 Minutes or Less is the weekly1 supergig playlist. the concept is simple: i pick a theme, i choose at most 74 minutes of music that fits the theme, and i discuss it here. if you, or i, or anyone else thinks the playlist is so awesome that it deserves to be compiled and burned to CD for posterity, it won't be a problem--because it's no longer than 74 minutes.

this week's theme is songs by Canadian bands and artists. there are a ton of good Canadian bands out there...in fact, if given the choice between listening to an American rock station and a Canadian one, i'll take the Canadian station any day of the week. they seem to do a better job at sifting away the schlock, and i'm more likely to hear bands that i don't here on the same old same old American rock radio.

some of these songs are along the lines of the rock that i usually talk about here. some, however, are different. a few aren't rock at all. some weren't from the nineties or the aughts like almost everything i listen to. a few are are random guilty pleasure songs of mine. still...for one reason or another, i like every one of these songs--and they're all from Canadian acts.

  • "Summer of '69" by Bryan Adams (3:32)
    • Bryan Adams took a carefree, youthful summer afternoon and spun it into a song. this song is pure ear candy. i didn't really know it when it came out; i really discovered it my senior year of high school when an a capella group came to my school and sang an arrangement of it. i find the genre of college a capella insufferably obnoxious, but at least i owe it for pointing me in the direction of this song.
  • "Insensitive" by Jann Arden (4:16)
    • i loved this song when i was in middle school. it would come on Casey Kasem's Top 40 on Sunday mornings when my family was driving to and from the bowling alley. the verses are longing, but the chorus is surprisingly sarcastic for a pop song of its type. in addition to the lyrics...i really like Jann Arden's voice. it's sultry.
  • "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" by Celine Dion (7:37)
    • this was my favourite songs when i was 13. it was before i got into rock music...in middle school, adult contemporary was the thing to listen to, and i listened to more Celine Dion than i should admit to. this song is still a great one, though. it's epic, it's overblown, and it's what Diva Music ought to be. i even like to channel my inner diva once in a while and sing it at karaoke...i don't do it justice like Celine does, but it sure is fun to belt out.
  • "Cold (But I'm Still Here)" by Evans Blue (3:57)
    • i love songs that seem inoffensive on the outside, but the lyrics reveal something far more sinister. this song came on the radio all the time throughout 2006, and although it sounded a little dark [even Earshot-esque...i swore it was them until a deejay set me straight], it took me a while to process what the lyrics were doing. i keep reading the lyrics over and over, and the song could only be a story, told from the perpetrator's point of view, about kidnapping one's ex. it's scary stuff, and i love how it lurks under such an accessible, radio-friendly outer shell.
  • "Costume for a Gutterball" by Finger Eleven (4:39)
    • this was one of my teen angst anthems in high school. however, unlike most teen angst anthems that i can dismiss as such and consider as either guilty pleasures or a part of my past, this songs stays with me. it does such a good job of conveying the tension between the dangers of putting on an artificial face to the world and the temptation of making that artificial face when you're not quite sure who or what you are.
  • "Stay In Shadow" by Finger Eleven (3:15)
    • so, i try to avoid putting a band on a playlist more than once. but, Finger Eleven is a special case. they're one of my two favourite bands of all time, and this song shows a different side of them. where "Costume for a Gutterball" was slow, introspective, and a bit subdued, this one falls squarely into the realm of Push People And Throw Things Music.
  • "American Woman" by The Guess Who (5:10)
    • i'm not quite as much of a fan of this song nowadays, but i loved it when i was a little kid. it was fun to sing along to. i also appreciate the fact that "American Woman" was performed by a Canadian band; i didn't know The Guess Who was Canadian for a very long time. also...i'm still pissed off at Lenny Kravitz for covering it so badly. he took a fun song and made it into a caricature of its former self. if i were to do a Worst Covers Ever list, that would be on my top ten.
  • "Goodnight Goodnight" by Hot Hot Heat (2:10)
    • mmm. short, bouncy, and poppy. not the kind of song i normally like to listen to, but no matter. my roommate the year after college was a big fan of these guys, and i got really annoyed when he kept playing "Bandages" all the time. i never liked that song much. but, then he got on a kick of playing this one, and it grew on me.
  • "Brackish" by Kittie (3:08)
    • the chorus of this song is so cool. there's the one voice that's singing sweetly, and then the other one that's growling over it. i mainly listen to Kittie for the vocals, and this song does an even better job than any of their others in showing why. some of the singing is ethereal, some of it is gravelly, and some of it ranges in between. this song showcases their vocal range.
  • "Sweet Surrender" by Sarah McLachlan (4:03)
    • i have a soft spot for this song. when i was in high school, this was my go-to song if i ever had to sing in a talent show. i like quite a few of her songs...i didn't like her voice at first (when "Possession" came out), but eventually it grew on me and i have a handful of her songs in my music collection now. i had a hard time picking...this one, "Angel," and "Adia" are all gorgeous. but, this one is even more fun to sing than it is to listen to, so it won out.
  • "The Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats (2:41)
    • i can't believe i'm putting this on here, but there you go. this song is silly. this song is eighties. i can't listen to this song without a straight face, and that's part of the fun of it. it also provided the foundation for an inside joke with my friend in undergrad...although the story behind it involves absurd amounts of mock trial geekery, which is a little beyond the scope of this blog, and probably not interesting to most of you. the moral of the story is...yes, this song is a guilty pleasure and a little atypical for my [rather anti-eighties] musical tastes, but i love it anyway.
  • "Leader of Men" by Nickelback (3:30)
    • i know. i said the N-Word. you all thought i was better than that. the schlock they put out now isn't worth the plastic it's etched onto, or even the bits and bytes it takes up if you download it. it's boring.2 but, i still enjoy their album The State. it came out in 1999 in Canada, and in 2000 in the States after "Leader of Men" and "Breathe" got some radio play. "Leader of Men" is my favourite song on the album. the stripped-down music fits the lyrics perfecty; it captures perfectly the mood of inadvertently falling into a long-term relationship and being too apathetic to end it even though it has flatlined.
  • "One Man Army" by Our Lady Peace (3:22)
    • this is my ultimate driving song. i don't drive anymore, but this song was always on the radio during the short few-month period my senior year of high school when i did drive. i remember flying down the Beltline with this song blasting from the speakers, driving home after dropping my mom off where she lived. sometimes my little brother would be in the car...he didn't know the song or particularly seem to like it given his hip-hop tendencies, but didn't get to turn it off because i was driving. even though the lyrics are really bitter...the song just makes me feel so free.
  • "Fist Wrapped In Blood" by Silverstein (2:59)
    • i don't really know why i like this song as much as i do. like most of Silverstein's stuff, it's pretty cliché, but this one doesn't bore me. it's fun, fluffy, catchy screamo-pop. i know it's fodder for those annoying teenage "mall-punks", but every so often they're on to something.
  • "We're All To Blame" by Sum 41 (3:39)
    • here's another band i'm almost embarrassed to have on here. most of their songs are early- to mid-aughts pop-punk gone wrong. even the verses of this song are reminiscent of the tuneless shouting characteristic of most of their music. but, the chorus redeems it. the chorus keeps me coming back to it. i know "pretty" is an odd word to use to describe the chorus of a rock song, especially a rock song about political annoyance, but it fits.
  • "Home" by Three Days Grace (4:22)
    • Three Days Grace is rather formulaic. i'm the first person to admit it. however, it's okay in my book if you do the formula so well that you remind me why some pattern became The Formula in the first place. nothing in isolation would denote that there's anything special about this band: the lyrics tend toward the trite, and the vocals and instruments don't actually add anything new to the Screaming Alt-Rock genre. however, it's so rare anymore that anything in the genre comes in such a well-executed package of unvarnished angst.
  • "Christ Is On The Lawn" by Treble Charger (4:23)
    • most of Treble Charger's music occupies the grey area between pop-punk and late-nineties/early-aughts alt-rock. most of it is upbeat...and good. this song is a lot slower, almost a ballad, but it's my favourite one of theirs, and the one i keep going back to again and again. i'm still not quite sure what the cryptic lyrics to it mean, but the music conveys such emptiness and yearning.
total time: 66:43

that was 74 Minutes or Less #5: Canadian bands and artists. if you've got a thematic idea for a future playlist, comment or email me at superherogirl@gmail.com.

***
1 i know...i missed last week. i fail at blogging and i fail at life. angry comments are welcome, and i won't even yell you out for making them.
2 except for "Animals." i can't call "Animals" boring, because it's the worst song i've ever heard. i've heard a lot of songs, but that one makes me ill. no song with lyrics about Chad Kroeger giving some jailbait girl cunnilingus should ever have been written.

2 comments:

Kevin said...

I probably know about half of those songs, but I won't comment on all of them.

1)I agree with you on "American Woman," I could never understand how ANYONE could like the Lenny Kravitz cover. That version was abysmal.

2) Hot Hot Heat is okay in small doses.

3) I used to love Sum 41 for awhile. I liked that they channeled their inner Metallica on "The Bitter End," also on the same album as "We're All to Blame>"

4) I hate Silverstein and their ilk.

5) You liking Nickelback's first disc reminds me that I like -- gasp! -- Creed's first album. They were good for awhile, then Scott Stapp got too pretentious for his own good.

nicolle said...

i'll admit it too...i loved Creed's first album. i still give it a spin every so often; it has a ton of good songs on it. then he got too big for his breeches, and the albums got progressively worse.

[now, of course, he has fallen off the deep end, between a rather embarrassing TV appearance and a hilariously pathetic prank that may have been pulled on him.]