Welcome to the 14th 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 World Container right here!
As for me, this week marked the first time I listened to World Container. Ever. It is likely I had heard the album’s first single, In View before since it sounded vaguely familiar, but the rest was completely foreign to me.
Just as almost every other Hip album I have covered, I spent a full week with it, and it took about half that time to really grow on me. It has a mid-’00s sound with songs derived from the bands of the day like The Strokes, but also traditional influences such as U2, Tom Petty, and The Police. Every one of them is anchored by The Hip’s own brand of Canadian rock.
Speaking of rock, World Container is known for being the start of a working relationship with mega-producer Bob Rock (Metallica, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith) that carried over into the Hip’s follow up album, We Are The Same. I know some feel he dramatically altered their sound for the worse, but he didn’t move the needle much either way for me. If I wanted to get really picky, In View is a really solid pop tune that would have benefited the same bright production My Music At Work got. And at times, the growl of the guitars on songs like Luv (Sic) could have had more bite. Otherwise, Word Container sounds fine to me.
As for the songs themselves, Yer Not The Ocean has a strong Tom Petty vibe which makes for a solid opening track. I had to double check the liner notes to make sure Mike Campbell didn’t make an appearance. The Lonely End of The Rink Hipifies The Strokes/U2/and The Police all at once. It sounds like a lot to mash together, but it works.
I mentioned In View earlier. It is ’00s “Play me on your radio” pop with a great hook. A stand out track that easily would have made Yer Favourites if it came out a year later. It is a wonderment to me how Fly wasn’t a single. It seems primed for one with its sweeping melody and the ear catching lyric:
Freddie Mercury, “I’ve sometimes wished I’d never been born at all.”
Dam Gord. That makes my brain pause to listen every time.
The rhythm section goes full U2 for Luv (Sic) on the verses. It has that ’80s retro bass driven sound, then bashes into the Hips usual ’90s heavy chorus. I like it.
Reading the title, The Kids Don’t Get It had me thinking The Hip were about to take on The Who, but this one has a sound closer to The Clash. The lyrics could be mistaken for Gord becoming a cranky boomer, but there is probably more to it. I really dig the line:
If I ask a question are you going to lie to me?
Is that your question, because that one is easy.
So, I was surprised to hear the next song, the sweet piano ballad Pretend open with the same lyric. It sounded to me like a conversation between too people. The angry person in The Kids Don’t Get It, then the other is just as angry, but with a calm demeanor. It had me wondering if World Container is a concept album, but it seem like these two songs are the only songs to be connected by lyrics.
You Kissed My Fingers and Made Me Love You Last Night I Dreamed You Didn’t Love Me has two catchy parts and a solid bluesy guitar solo. I don’t like how Gord put his part together for The Drop-Off. Some lines have too many words jammed together, then he scrambles some lyrics with over singing. But it is a good driving rock tune so it more than passes the mustard.
The Hip go full on The Strokes for Family Band. No offence to Yer Not The Ocean, but I would have opened the album with this. I’d sneak this onto a mix tape for someone I like.
The album wraps up with the title track, World Container. A solid ballad with Gord hitting more homers with the lyrics. I like the one line about going beyond the limits:
“What you’ll find there are all flaws in progress”.
Hell yes. It is a song about making mistakes but not forgetting them so you don’t repeat them. What a way to wrap up an album. Plane landed, on the runway.
There is not a bad track on World Container as it is a consistent listen throughout. Even if the entire package doesn’t quite add up to the early albums, I’ve been humming these tunes all week. That is a sign that I got me a good ‘un. A darn good ‘un.
Be sure to check out Sarah’s write up! The Hip series returns next Sunday (Maybe) with We Are The Same.
Get more Hip in ya:
[EP Review] The Tragically Hip – Self Titled EP
[Album Review] Up To Here
[Album Review] Road Apples
[Album Review] Fully Completely
[Album Review] Day For Night
[Album Review] Trouble At The Henhouse
[Album Review] Live Between Us
[Album Review] Phantom Power
[Album Review] Music @ Work
[Album Review] In Violet Light
[Album Review] In Between Us
[DVD Review] That Night In Toronto
[Album Review] Yer Favourites
[Album Review] World Container
[Album Review] We Are the Same
[Album Review] Now for Plan A
[Blu-Ray Review] Bobcaygeon
[Album Review] Fully Completely Deluxe Edition
[Album Review] Man Machine Poem
[Blu-Ray Review] Long Time Running
[Blu-Ray Review] A National Celebration
[EP Review] Saskadelphia
[Book Review] The Never Ending Present | The Story Of Gord Downie And The Tragically Hip