Tragically Hip: The Series – Day For Night (1994)
If ever the Hip were flying high, it was in the wake of the madness caused by the success of Fully Completely. They had established themselves as rock gods in this country, poet warriors traversing this lug of a nation from coast to coast, telling us tales about ourselves in ways only they could do it. We loved them, trusted them.
So why in the hell did most people I knew at the time (not all of them, mind, but enough to disgust me) give up on them when Day For Night came ’round? I cannot fathom it.
I mean, it’s impossible for me to choose for sure, but this is probably MY favourite Hip record so far.
(all deference to the excellence of all the others)
Sure, there were the songs on the radio, like the fabulous Grace, Too, and Nautical Disaster, since the band was guaranteed airwave space by now. But why did people who swore up and down they were Hip fans suddenly go cold? Why was it this moment that those people still went to their shows but only to hear the older songs, not the newer ones?
I have a pretty good guess. It’s my opinion that the hallmark of a truly great band is that they can take what they do and expand it in new directions, grow and create and become like only the best artists do. The Hip did this, with ease. They made a record in Day For Night that threw off the backwards-hat-wearing yobs who swill beer and bash little kids at shows. Yes, they are out there, and unfortunately the Hip’s more energetic songs can attract these idiots to shows with the rest of us. Anyway, this record has those songs, in a way, but the band also extended their reach into the creative, and that lost the portion of the crowd we didn’t need anyway.
This is a fantastic record, full of witticisms and blues-drenched, soaring tales of our history, all born of exacting songwriting. There’s not a bad tune on this record. Seriously. Grace, Too fills me with glee every time I hear it. Such a sweet way to start a disc. Daredevil and Greasy Jungle are perfection on CD. I love Yawning Or Snarling, the photograph in the story, everything about it! Fire In The Hole is an absolute rocker, and So Hard Done By’s bass line is a total killer. Nautical Disaster takes us to sea on a fateful, war-filled night and makes us aware of one of our lesser moments as humans, Thugs is a song you surely must know by heart, and Inevitability Of Death is genius. Think I’m overstating? Not even close. Better yet, there’s more! Who wouldn’t love the come-on of Scared, the blast of An Inch An Hour, the glorious sounds of Emergency and Titanic Terrarium, and the closer Impossibilium… I mean, c’mon folks! This is it!
A true Classic. And to all of those who went off in search of brighter, shinier (and far lesser) things when our heroes released a record that Actually Challenged You A Bit, good riddance.
Day For Night. Fucking Amazing.