ADD-inspired analysis of the hip’s latest

For those in the know, for those outside the know, everyone should know this: In Between Evolution is the best album to come out of the The Tragically Hip's music factory in over a decade.

Here’s my self-indulgent, moronic take on what it all means--song by miraculous song:

1. ‘Heaven is a Better Place Today’, which laments the fleeting public sympathy over the tragic death of a hockey player, a reminder that suffering is not a cliché, is a ripping, singalong show-starter… 2. ‘Summer’s Killing Us,’ is perhaps a potshot at the band’s summertime concert crowds—those notorious mapleleaf-waving morons (I'll be one of the crowd, but I won't wave a flag)--who the Hip rub elbows with like clocklock every two summers when ‘the Kingston 5’ tour to promote their wicked-ass releases… 3. ‘Gus, the Polar Bear from Central Park,’ is a grinding yarn about what happens when people no longer fear their monsters because they're caged up by civilization (stupid move, poindexter--that bear’s gonna mow on your ass!) … 4. ‘Vaccination Scar’ is a loud discordant angst-dirge that sounds very angsty and dirgelike… 5. ‘It Can’t be Nashville Every Night’-–the second of three tunes with americana in the title (perhaps this disc is meant to appeal directly to Americans—a marked change from their last 9 efforts)--is a sweet funny punchy morsel about Nashville that breathes a crazy mood I can only describe as ‘Crazy-Nashy-Crashville’… 6. ‘New Orleans is Beat’—no, the Big Easy is no longer ‘sinking’ (hahaha) but perhaps it's a bit weary--is the symbolic ‘end of side one’, the kind of lovely piece that Das Hip like sticking at the midway point of an album (‘Long Time Running’, ‘Flamenco’, ‘So Hard Done by’ anyone?)… 7. ‘You are Everywhere’: yes, friends, you are everywhere--and the Hip is out to get you. This is a scary-assed mofo of a song; when Gord Downie screams ‘when I reel my Irish in/ when I sleep on the train’ like a man possessed, then no matter where you are—here there, everywhere--or whether you’re Irish in any way, you’re going to feel it’s GAME OVER, man, cuz you just got hooked--line and sinker--on the wicked tunes! This song discusses what it’s like to be stuck in a wicked-ass, uncompromising five-piece Kingston blues-rock band for the rest of your life while also trying to begin a solo career, as Gordy has obviously done--it's difficult to escape being typecast... 8. ‘As Makeshift as we are’ is another song about writing/performing and what it’s like to have to depend on your own creations to feed you, and one day discovering that you could never live any other way--or wait, maybe that's just me… 9. ‘Mean Streak’ is probably about, I dunno, the meanness of streaking, while 10. ‘The Heart of the Melt’ sounds like an explosion of guffaws and grunts which signify the heart of inspiration, which melts the soul as often as it melts your heart (yeah, um, that's it)… 11. ‘One Night in Copenhagen’ is about a night of debauched narcotics-cum-nihilism that ends up melting all the snow in Copenhagen—heart of the ‘melt’ indeed! … 12. ‘Are we Family’ is a love letter from Gord to the rest of the band—yes they are a family, and no, families aren’t always about milk and cookies. They’re messy… 13. ‘Goodnight Josephine’ is the final track, and that’s why the word ‘goodnight’ is in the title... Boy what an album!

In conclusion: Canada’s out, America is in—the hip have declared themselves no longer Canada’s band. With titles like ‘Central Park Gus,’ ‘Nashville is Sinking’ and ‘New Orleans is Beautiful—we know which audience they’re sucking up to here. And good on ’em I say—they may finally strike the big fat yankee gold mine, and the whole world will be embiggened by their genius.

Five stars!

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