Welcome to the 13th installment of my reviews for the discography of The Tragically Hip! These are tandem reviews with my amazing wife, Sarah who is posting her own over at Caught Me Gaming. So be sure to check out her write up for Yer Favourites right here!
As for me, Yer Favorites is a new purchase. I could think of no solid reason to get a greatest hits compilation before considering Sarah and I already collected the Hip’s albums. No sense in buying the same recordings twice, right?
Well, there are some changes.
There are two new exclusive tunes, No Threat and The New Maybe but neither felt great to me. OK, at best.
Four tunes are remixed by Up to Here and Road Apples producer Don Smith. All are from the band’s third album Fully Completely. I found most of the changes to be subtle. I am no Hip expert, but I had to play Fully Completely and Fully Completely (Remix) back to back to spot the echo removed from Gord Downie’s lead vocals and nixed tambourine. The one glaring change, is the now prominent drums on Courage (for Hugh MacLennan) which I felt gave the song a different flavour. Really, how dramatic these changes are to you will depend on any attachment to the original recordings.
For me, I’m a bit wishy washy here. I find them fun enough for whenever I listen to Yer Favourites. None stand out enough to prefer over the originals, but I also like hearing a new take on an old recording.
All of the songs on the album are remastered, which gives them more presence than they had before, but for the most part the original recordings are completely fine.
So why the heck did I buy this set? Two reasons, really.
For one, it has a cool back story. With the two new songs already set, the remainder of Yer Favourites was put together by fans who voted on The Hip’s website. Usually, I don’t care for “people’s choice” types of awards, but Hip fans pretty much nailed this one.
All of the major hits are included, as is the Canadian radio hit Wheat Kings, and some choice album tracks like Escape Is at Hand for the Travellin’ Man and Cordelia. Well, heck, why don’t I just show you the track list:
- No Threat (new song)
- Grace, Too (Day for Night)
- My Music at Work (Music @ Work)
- 38 Years Old (Up to Here)
- Gift Shop (Trouble at the Henhouse)
- Ahead by a Century (Trouble at the Henhouse)
- Vaccination Scar (In Between Evolution)
- Three Pistols (Road Apples)
- So Hard Done By (Day for Night)
- Fiddler’s Green (Road Apples)
- Looking for a Place to Happen (Remix) (Fully Completely)
- Cordelia (Road Apples)
- It’s a Good Life If You Don’t Weaken (In Violet Light)
- Blow at High Dough (Up to Here)
- Wheat Kings (Fully Completely)
- Fifty Mission Cap (Fully Completely)
- New Orleans Is Sinking (Up to Here)
- Escape Is at Hand for the Travellin’ Man (Phantom Power)
- Fully Completely (Remix) (Fully Completely)
- Twist My Arm (Road Apples)
- Courage (for Hugh MacLennan) (Remix) (Fully Completely)
- Lake Fever (Music @ Work)
- Poets (Phantom Power)
- Fireworks (Phantom Power)
- Boots or Hearts (Up to Here)
- Bobcaygeon (Phantom Power)
- Nautical Disaster (Day for Night)
- Highway Girl (The Tragically Hip)
- Gus: The Polar Bear from Central Park (In Between Evolution)
- Scared (Day for Night)
- Something On (Phantom Power)
- At the Hundredth Meridian (Remix) (Fully Completely)
- Long Time Running (Road Apples)
- The Darkest One (In Violet Light)
- Locked in the Trunk of a Car (Fully Completely)
- Little Bones (Road Apples)
- The New Maybe (new song)
This track list gives the albums in back catalogue fair representation by popularity with Fully Completely getting 7 songs and the self titled debut EP getting one.
After giving the set a spin for the first time, I really had to struggle to think of a song that was missing. It felt as if this had it all of the important tracks, but there are always some missing. I finally thought of Thompson Girls from Phantom Power. I then
cheated combed through my previous posts to come up with songs such as Are We Family, Goodnight Josephine, Throwing Off Glass, A Beautiful Thing, The Dire Wolf, and Flamenco. I feel any one of them would make for better inclusions than Highway Girl or the two new songs. But I’m really splitting hairs here. Most of the tunes on Yer Favourites are by far more popular than my choice deep tracks.
My other reason for picking this up is how it makes for a good listen. True, save for the two new tunes and the remixes, I could have put the core of the this collection together for myself, but more important is my laziness and the pleasure I get from scoring a good deal. That makes getting a new copy of Yer Favourites on CD for 10 moose bucks a no brainer.
Be sure to check out Sarah’s write up! The Hip series returns next Sunday (Maybe) with World Container.