Tragically Hip: The Series – The Tragically Hip (1987)
This first effort is the record I find most often in cut-out bins and bargain-price wastelands, and to this day I cannot fathom why. This is the template, the soup of the genetic make-up of the Hip. It’s also notice well-served that these guys had big plans. Wouldn’t we all want to keep a copy of that around, as reference? Of course!
Herein we find the dawning of our awareness of this group’s talent, and we see the glimmering of the rock they were to become in our nation’s musical history. It’s all here, and there’s nothing tentative about it. They want to go for it and they’re looking outward (Small Town Bringdown, Cemetery Sideroad, Highway Girl). They’re tentative about giving it a go in the States (Last American Exit). There’s the ubiquitous losing-at-love songs (Killing Time, Evelyn) and, while I’m A Werewolf, Baby’s lyrics are silly, and the bluesy-surf rush of the CD-only track All Canadian Surf Club feels like an afterthought, don’t mistake the energy bubbling in those guitar lines, that pressing need to move.
Nothing is amiss, here. Sure, it sounds like mid-80’s rock, but that’s because that’s what it was. Better than that, it is excellent, thoughtful blues rock that transcends other groups of that period. Look out, world, here come the Hip!