Jun 26, 2012
My Canada Day Soundtrack
This year I will be spending my first ever Canada Day abroad. My husband and I are heading to San Francisco for the weekend to celebrate our anniversary and will be in California when our home and native land turns the big 145 on July 1.
I love Canada Day. I love being Canadian. I love it so much that when I was 18 I had a Maple Leaf tattooed on my thigh. In all my teenage wisdom, I thought that having it on my thigh would be discreet, something no one would really have to see when I was old and my thighs all dimply (note: that day has come sooner than I would have liked). It wouldn't be so bad if it were actually a nice tattoo, but it's not. True story: the tattoo artist used the maple leaf from a bottle of Molson Canadian to trace the design. THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A SIGN, is what I wish I could yell at my younger self.
And there you have it: I am so proud of this country I will sport a bad tattoo of our national symbol on my body for eternity (or at least until I can pay for the laser removal).
Then, just as I'm wondering how we'd acknowledge Canada Day on Sunday, one of my favorite songs ever came on the radio and I started to put together a soundtrack for my life full of songs by Canadian artists. They aren't all popular, but they all represent a certain time in my life and a playlist is easy to take over the border. So without further adieu (look, bilingual!), here is My Canada Day Soundtrack: (DISCLAIMER: These are not necessarily my favorite Canadian songs. Some of them are admittedly pretty lame and - while I am not above being pretty lame myself - this is more about songs that take me back. Kind of like the girl out there who in ten years will always think about the boy she met in 2012 whenever she hears Carly Rae Jepson. You know, the one she actually told to call her, maybe?)
1. Boy Inside the Man by Tom Cochrane AND Red Rider - I'll admit I didn't fully appreciate this song until I was 31 and had lost and won. Still, I've been a big fan ever since I was 13 and a friend of a friend stored his massive ghetto blaster (ha!) and CD's (another ha!) at our place while he was traveling. One of the CD's was Tom Cochrane with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and their version of this song is gold. I would also like to take a moment to remember ghetto blasters and CD's.
2. Good Mother by Jann Arden - I always really liked this song, but it wasn't until I had reached certain milestones in my life that I really "got" it. When I could sing along to the first verse and IT WAS ALL TRUE! The idea of coming into your own and being able to acknowledge the role that your parents have played in getting you there is so powerful. Also, Jann Arden is so genuine and hilarious and talented that I had to have at least one of her songs on my list.
3. Tonight is a Wonderful Time by April Wine - Grade 8. Chicken arms. There's a dance. That's all I can really say.
4. Wheat Kings by The Tragically Hip - Really, this could be any number of Tragically Hip songs: Ahead by a Century, The 100th Meridian, Fireworks. But Wheat Kings takes place in the "Paris of the Prairies", that city where I went to university and met my husband and that will always be a little bit of home. The city where I went to see The Hip at Another Roadside Attraction and went body surfing and then was almost crushed by the crowd when everyone left the beer gardens and rushed the stage. Silly drunk people.
5. Runaway by Great Big Sea - Remember the mid-90's, when everyone dreamed about being in Riverdance? No? Just me? Anyway, East Coast music was huge and I was totally into it. I mean, my name is even Irish, right? I loved Great Big Sea and was crushed when they came to my university campus for The Year-Ender Bender because I was still underage. I vowed that I would go see them the next time they came to town...which ended up being the day before my 19th birthday :-( I *may* have sneaked into the venue anyway. Now, of course, my favorite Great Big Sea song is the one about the pirates that they sing all the time on Kids CBC.
6. The entire Fumbling Towards Ecstasy album by Sarah MacLachlan - Because I was a teenager and had angst, but not, like, punk rock angst. It was really just good girl pretend angst. As one of my university classmates once told me, "You're trying so hard to be dysfunctional. How cute!"
7. Fare Thee Well Love by The Rankin Family - I used to pretend that I could sing like a Rankin. And I kind of could (for serious!), but those days are long gone.
8. A Case of You by Joni Mitchell - Once, Joni Mitchell walked past me. We almost touched. I was afraid of her cigarette. And how Canadian is a song that has the line, "I could drink a case of you and still be on my feet"?
9. Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen but sung by kd lang - Last summer at the Calgary Folk Fest, kd lang sang this song and all of Prince's Island Park was quiet, captivated. But it's not that it's such a beautiful rendition of a Canadian classic, to me kd lang illustrates how far we've come as a country. She can come home now and get married (if she wants to)!
10. Small Town, Big Dreams by Paul Brandt - You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl.
11. There Will Never Be Another Tonight by Bryan Adams - Waking Up the Neighbours came out when I was in Grade 7. My sister, brother and I were into making our own music videos and this was an early one. We hung a blanket on the wall to be our background and danced around and lip synced and my brother practiced his unique camera technique.
12. Try by Blue Rodeo - Okay, this is probably one of my favorite Canadian songs ever. The first note is - as far as I'm concerned - one of the best notes sung in any song, ever. The first time I heard it was during a summer vacation to my aunt & uncle's home in North Battleford. My cousins and I would sit beside the tape player (smaller than a ghetto blaster) and write down the lyrics to our favorite songs, "pause, rewind" until we were sure we had it right. Then we would walk up the street to the Day & Night Deli convenience store and get slurpees.
As I was writing this I realized that it could probably be much longer. I know I'm missing some big ones, but at some point I had to cut it off. Maybe next year I'll do My Canada Day soundtrack part 2....
What would be on your Canada Day soundtrack?