Last week I took part in “Careers Day” at Holy Cross High School in St. Kitts. Students sign up to attend 40 minute sessions from professionals who come in and talk about their jobs, what they do and what education and skills are required. I, representing radio, tend to attract the lunatic fringe but on this day they were smart, attentive and bore no resemblance of the sweat-hogs I used go to school with.
So I do the drill ... pretty straightforward stuff and try to bring the love and enthusiasm for what to do to the classroom. I wrap up the session with a “music meeting” very much like we do every week here at HTZ-FM. The music meeting, for our purposes on this day, includes 6 songs and pictures of the bands we’re listening to and considering for airplay. I’ve got 15-16 year olds in my class so I don’t expect much. Before I play each song I throw up an image of the band up on the screen. They really liked the new Green Day song, loved the new Stones song (to my surprise) and were hit n miss with new songs by Halestorm, Papa Roach and a new Canadian band called The Envy. Before I played the last song, I put up the picture below and ask them “who is THIS”?
Dead silence. That might be the worst thing that can happen to a band. Silence.
Now, I’m not going to read too much into the fact that a room full of teenagers couldn’t ID one of Canada’s legendary bands. Household names – YES. Pop stars – NO. I’m not worried about The Hip or their legacy because I know their songs will be played and admired by generations of Canadians for decades to come. Like Tom Thomson the Group of Seven painters Downie has sung about, the Hip’s music will endure and will always amaze.
The Tragically Hip are in a good place right now. They still take chances - often at the expense of mainstream popularity and classrooms full of teenagers but nobody’s panicking. The new album is a return to familiar musical territory as the album title Now For Plan A would suggest...but not quite. If you’ve been hoping for another album full of Fifty Mission Caps, Little Bones & Blow At High Dough, those days are gone my friends. The good news is that the music is no less passionate that it was 20 years ago...and the Hip’s twisted sense of humour is still intact as the new video for “The Lookahead” will show. This is a laugh.