East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

A nation atones for Bryan Adams

I always thought it was self-evident that this was the greatest Canadian album of all time:

with the runner-up being your Neil Young of choice.

Those funny, funny Canadians, though, often have different ideas, and while some of these can be dismissed out of hand (Rush? Sarah fucking McLachlan? Does the lack of vitamin D stop your emotional growth at fourteen or something?), others require further investigation, albeit tempered with scepticism: though rarely terrible, too many of them sound like watered-down versions of American bands that weren't 100 proof to begin with*.

So it came as something of a shock to discover that Sloan are Actually Quite Good. Most of their songs have a distinct riff, usually angular but nice about it; the best ones manage some insight into their protagonists (a you or she as often as an I). The compilation A Sides Win includes their sweet grammar-twisting song about a girl who can't spell "affection" and still gets good grades without turning up to class, but not their sweet grammar-twisting song about the horny correspondence of a thirteen year-old boy. Did I mention the girl's vegetarian and the boy's Norwegian? Songwriting, all in the details.

*To be fair, the same could be said of most contemporary New Zealand bands (excluding the rappers and dubbers, and also the electrophiles even though they're boring), though this was once far from true. But let's leave the Death of New Zealand Music rant for another time.

ADDENDUM: Forgot about Talkin' Honky Blues; let's say Joni's queen of western Canada, while Buck 65 is the wicked-and-weird king of the east. Honky places second on my white boy rap list, ahead of Eminem I but well behind Eminem II.


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