Wednesday, April 13, 2005
The OTHER 50: Episode 17
Wondering what all this is about? Before you begin, you might want to read days one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and sixteen. The List so Far: Round 1: Hockey: Jane Siberry (Mike) Helpless: Neil Young (Keith) I Go Blind: 54-40 (Peter) Nothing at All: Maestro Fresh Wes (Aaron) Tired of Waking Up Tired: The Diodes (Carol) A Case of You: Joni Mitchell (Carl) Round 2: Have Not Been The Same: Slow (Mike) Hallelujah
(Live): Leonard Cohen (Keith)
Wheat Kings: The Tragically Hip (Pete) Vetoed By Carol
Subdivisions: Rush (Carol) Vetoed By Keith
Rags and Bones: Nomeansno (Carl)
One Great City!: The Weakerthans (Mike)
Westray: Weeping Tile (Keith) Vetoed By Pete
Deeper Than Beauty: Sloan (Pete)
Having an Average Weekend: Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet (Aaron)
I've Been Everywhere: Hank Snow (Carol)
Illegal Bodies: Simply Saucer (Carl)
Help Me Rhonda: The Langley Schools Music Project (Mike) Vetoed By Pete
Secret Heart: Ron Sexsmith (Aaron) (FC's note: Actually Aaron's Round 2 Catch Up Pick!)
Daylight: The Nils (Keith)
Barrett's Privateers: Stan Rogers (Pete) Vetoed By Mike
War in Peace: Skip Spence(Aaron) Vetoed By Carol
Static: Terrible Canyons of Static; Chart #3; World Police and Friendly: Godspeed You Black Emperor! (Carol)
What About Me? The Nihilist Spasm Band (Carl) Vetoed By Keith
Blues For Big Scotia: Oscar Peterson (Mike)
Sudbury Saturday Night: Stompin' Tom Conners (Keith)
Little Girl: Death From Above 1979 (Pete)
Brian Wilson (Live): The Barenaked Ladies (Aaron) Vetoed By Carl
New York City: The Demics (Carol)
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: Buffy Sainte Marie (Carl)
Blues for Pablo: Gil Evans with Miles Davis (Mike)
O Marie: Daniel Lanois (Keith)
Can't You See: The Matt Minglewood Band (Pete)
OK Blue Jays: The Bat Boys (Aaron) Vetoed By Keith
Put the Blame On Me: Handsome Ned (Carol)
Time to Get a Gun: Fred Eaglesmith (Carl)
Mike's Pick TK
Curling: The Dik Van Dykes (Keith)
The Deep End: Swollen Members (Peter)
Love the OTHER 50? HATE the OTHER 50? Leave a comment!
Does no one have anything bad to say about Swollen Members? Not even one "member" joke?
I know NOTHING about rap especially the MAPL variety. I'll listen to the track, but I suspect Aaron will take care of this one...
I like the track Pete, I think I have to quibble about your list of "great rap songs" Kris Kross? Seriously? Did Young M.C. and Vanilla Ice not have enough cred?
Kris Kross? They weren't on my list.
Jump? That's Kris Kross.
no that's van halen.
Did you mean Jump Around? Or were you Totally Krossed Out?
Ya, that's the one.
First let me say that Deep End is the maybe the least of Swollen Members' sins. But it still doesn't strike me as particularly great.
I'll willingly admit that I've never delved past Swollen Members' singles. If the best they could offer as 'hits' were so banal, it hardly seemed worth the effort. And they always struck me as rap for those who don't necessarily like rap (and let say from the start that I'm the furthest thing from a rap aficiando - a casual admirer at best, really). Straightforward, easy, safe.
Worse still, I think they became part of what some consider a long line of "token rappers" in this country. (It's terrible, but it's true. We rarely seem to have it in our hearts to care about more than one rapper/rap group at a time. Right now, we're all - deservedly, I would argue - in love with k-os, but that love never seems to spread too far. Sure, other Canadians get on RapCity, but if you were just a casual observer of our national music scene, you'd swear we only had one MC worth listening to.) Again, I can speak only of what Swollen Members' stuff I saw on MuchMusic every 30 seconds for a brief period a few years back. If someone can prove me wrong/stear me right, feel free.
So I must ask, what makes Deep End better than the "Ludacris/Lil Jon sex fiends" or the "bullshit gangsta crowd?" I really don't get it. Because it's safe and harmless? Because it's easy to understand? Because it's Canadian?
It's an alright track. Good enough beat. The odd rhyme that doesn't make me cringe. But would we really put this up against Ludacris or 50 Cent or Snoop or even The Game. On the opposite end of the spectrum, does this stand with Jurassic 5 or The Roots or Talib? I don't think so.
I'm really hesitant to drop my veto on anything just because I don't think it's that great a track. But really. I really want to know what everyone thinks of this track. While we're at it we might want to even lay out our feelings about rap in general - if only because this was touted as an alternative to all those "sex fiends" and bullshit gangstas.
I'm a hip hop fan, but not a "head"
I get (and love) Public Enemy, The Roots, The Coup, Volume 10, The Ghetto Boys and J5, The Streets, some KRS One and Dizzee.
I guiltily like 50 Cent. The Grey Album made my top ten last year.
I think Buck 65 should stop biting his stage routines from Tom Waits.
I don't (for the life of me) understand why everyone thinks Kanye West is all so hellfire hot.
I think it was funny when I though Pete had picked Kris Kross as one of the best hip hop tracks ever.
I also have to admit that The Deep End is the best Swollen Members track I've ever heard.
I think Canadian hip hop is probably as stunted as hip hop anywhere else in the world outside the lower 49 (the previously referenced recent advances in the UK excluded of course). Hip hop isn't a uniquely American phenomenon, but it's one that very few non-Americans/non-grimers have learned to do right, yet (MC Solaar is one of the few non-American MCs I can think of who have recorded tracks that would stand up to anything coming out of the States).
To answer your "Is this a token pick" question is harder. As someone who's on record as trying to fill in gaps in the list I don't think picking another hip hop track because we need another hip hop track is a bad idea.
On the other hand, there are some amazing Canadian songs that we're currently ignoring and if it's not "globally competative" hip hop, maybe it shouldn't be on the list...
Overall, it's not a bigger injustice than, say, DFA 1979 being on the list ahead of Broken Social Scene or the Arcade Fire, but what the hell.
Aaron, I trust you understand I'm using sex fiends and gangstas in jest: I'm just saying that I think this one track has more substance in some way. And yes, I think this track stands with my favourite J5 or others. Don't blame this track for annoying, ubiquitous singles.
We can discuss more of this later. Carol, do you have a pick?
I’d love to nominate Neko Case, but alas, even if she’s an “honourary” Canadian, I canna do. However, I will credit Ms. Case with introducing me to Mike O’Neill via her amazing Canadian Amp CD on which she covers “Andy” and after hearing I ran out and bought O’Neill’s What Happens Now. A great pop record in the Matthew Sweet/Beatles school of tune-mastership.
Listen to Andy
“Andy” stands out for its sweetness for me. The lyrics belie the shadow that sunny days inevitably bring:
“It helped me through the spring
Just to dream of what it might become
Woke up to find it’d been here and gone
It scares me sober
To think it’s over
Did you really think we’d feel so bad.?”
Who knew that love left such a hangover? Ah, yes, but it was good while it lasted.
DAY EIGHTEEEN of The OTHER 50 is just a click away.