The Tragically Hip
In Violet Light
First Appeared at The Music Box, September 2002, Volume 9, #9
Written by John Metzger
For some bands, being dropped by a major label is pretty much the end of the road. Many do attempt to continue, but almost always the group winds up dying a slow death, fading out of the public eye while playing to fewer and fewer fans. Not so for The Tragically Hip. Throughout its career the band has drifted from label to label (MCA, Atlantic, Sire, and now Rounder), but amazingly, itís remained true to both itself and its fans and has never tried to be something it wasnít. As a result, the group has put together a rather respectable catalog, while building an extraordinarily loyal fanbase, one that rivals those of many jam bands in its fanaticism.
In Violet Light, The Tragically Hipís ninth studio effort, doesnít break any new ground. Instead, it simply captures the band doing what it does best ó wrapping infectious melodies around strikingly poetic lyrics, which in turn are inspired by a series of literary quotes. The great part about Gordon Downieís wordplay, however, is that one can take as much as one needs from his songs. One can dig deep, pouring over his every word and examining the relationships between the lyrics and their respective inspirations, or one can simply take each poetic outburst at face value, getting the general gist, while riding off on the soaring slipstream of each tuneís euphonious groove.
From the crunchy rock of Are You Ready to the hypnotic beauty of Itís a Good Life If You Donít Weaken, from the screeching guitars and driving rhythms of Silver Jet to the uplifting majesty that veils a hidden sorrow in A Beautiful Thing, The Tragically Hip has once again crafted a superb album that demonstrates why itís Canadaís answer to R.E.M. "Thereís music that can take you away," sings Downie on Use It Up, and thatís exactly what the songs on In Violet Light tend to do. Ĺ
Of Further Interest...
In Violet Light is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2002 The Music Box