Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Canadian Rock Music, A Brief Summary

     I'll admit it here, I am a (not-so proud) Canadian, meaning I get to listen to the same old regurgitated Canadian rock music all the time here up north that the rest of the world doesn't get to hear. So, the following is the handy guide to the rest of the world who have not had the opportunity to hear some of our best (and worst) exports.
TRIUMPH Our best band in my opinion. Triumph is often known as just another wannabe-Rush band, and there are numerous similarities between their music. They're both from Ontario, they both have three members, they both play prog-metal, the singers have high voices. But c'mon, let's cut the crap, Triumph is their own band, and I do believe the similarities are coincedental. Triumph's 1979 blockbuster Just A Game, 1981's Allied Forces, and my personal favorite, 1987's Surveillance, are three of the greatest albums ever released in the field of progressive metal, and bona fide classics. Favorite tracks include Just A Game, Magic Power, Fight The Good Fight, Headed For Nowhere, Somebody's Out There, and, of course, the epic Lay It On The Line.
RUSH Not much needs to be said here. I guess everybody knows Rush. Oh, there's nothing wrong with them. I'm just a bit sick of people going, "Oh yeah, Canadian Rock, Rush..." When they weren't doing retarded concept albums they put out some killer stuff. Favorite tracks include Tom Sawyer, Limelight, The Temples Of Syrinx, Distant Early Warning, Subdivisions, and Freewill.
THE GUESS WHO Oh, gross, gag, yuck! Moving on to...
NEIL YOUNG Who put out the odd decent thing but mostly annoyed people ever with his pleading politics and whiny voice. Let's talk about someone else. I do like...
BRYAN ADAMS I guess everybody knows him too, but for good reason. Bryan was good. I mean, he had some whiny sappy stuff in the 90s and all, but hey, didn't they all? He put out some genuinely good albums and lots of fun, poppy rock music. Favorite tracks include It's Only Love, One Night Love Affair, Somebody, In The Heat Of The Night, Fits Ya Good, and Run To You.
LOVERBOY If you don't know the name of the band, maybe you remember "Working For The Weekend." You may have even heard it on the hilarious Saturday Night Live skit with Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley playing Chippendale dancers. Loverboy had one of Canada's strongest guitarist-singer pairings, Paul Dean and Mike Reno, who entertained radio listeners throughout the 80s and to the present time- in fact, last year Mike Reno was co-host on Vancouver's Rock 101 morning show. Favorite tracks include Turn Me Loose, Working For The Weekend, The Kid Is Hot Tonight, You Take Me To The Top, and Loving Every Minute Of It.
STREETHEART I am difficult to impress when it comes to covers, but Streetheart did some genuine darn good ones as well as loads of great original material. The best covers are the Stones' Under My Thumb, the Small Faces' Tin Soldier, and Them's Here Comes The Night, and good originals are Action, Miss Plaza Suite, What Kind Of Love Is This, and Look In Your Eyes.
HARLEQUIN The perfect example of what happens when you have a fantastic rock band with a bad producer, bad manager, and odd-sounding name.Harlequin never caught on the way they should have, although killer songs like Sweet Things In Life, Innocence, Thinking Of You, Superstitious Feelings and I Did It For Love prove their true potential.
APRIL WINE April Wine are definetly one of the Canadian bands you just hear way to much of up here. The best word I can use to describe their work is simply lame. I mean, the singer's voice isn't too bad or anything, but the all-around effect of their music is just lacking. I like their song "Fast Train" a good deal though, and their cover of Bad Side Of the Moon by Elton John is far better then the original.
TROOPER Classic Vancouver rock by what appears to be a darn good group of guys. They never had anything real heavy, but check out Two For the Show and Pretty Lady for pretty ballads, Boys in the Bright White Sports Car and Raise A Little Hell for spunky rockers, and their anthem, We're Here For A Good Time, a genuine good-times song.
COLIN JAMES Colin James isn't bad at all, and tends to lean on the bluesy side. Five Long Years is a really great, soulful song with a likeable sound. Why'd You Lie is a good example of his vocal range, and Voodoo Thing, Chicks And Cars, Just Came Back, and Keep On Loving Me Baby are radio favorites.
54-40 Now, 54-40 have exactly two songs worth listening to, One Day In Your Life and Miss You. Other then that, I wouldn't spend my time listening to them.The music was decent and the lyrics weren't bad, but the singer's voice just wrecked lots of the vocal hooks.
TRAGICALLY HIP 90s group who enjoyed singing about Canadian history and stuff like that, but who had the same predicament of 54-40-the singer's voice just wasn't all that good. They weren't all bad though, and the content of the songs like 38 Years Old, 50 Mission Cap, Blow At High Dough and New Orleans Is Sinking is nothing to laugh at. Personal favorites are Courage, A Place To Happen and Little Bones.
BIG SUGAR Digging A Hole wasn't bad. If I Had My Way wasn't bad, Better Get Used To It wasn't bad. (Turn The Lights On sucks pretty hard though.) HOWEVER, I lost all respect from Ontario's somewhat-popular blues trio when I first heard their cover of Dear Mr. Fantasy. If you are a Traffic fan, you will be insulted by their cover, and if you have a cynical sense of humor, you may just laugh at it.

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