Gordon Downie is dead… It sucks.
I’ve had a few American friends I game with ask me “whats the story with Gord Downie in Canada.” So i figure… here’s my perspective.
Often… Canadian international icons are just watered down safer versions of an American archetype. Embraced internationally but often resented domestically.
Drake, Bieber, Celine, etc… All talented artists…. But their all corporately “Americanized”. They become advertisers, not artists. A packaged product ready for the assembly line. Basically, Justin Bieber is a 1992 Honda Civic. He may have sold billion units… But behind the after market turbo… It’s a shit box.
Gord was different. He wasn’t a Ferrari… He custom made! The Canadian version of a hand built Indian Larry motorcycle. His voice carried his message, but his message spoke to us. More than any artist i can think of Gord didn’t talk to America. Gord talked to Canada, to his people.
Then to top it off… They weren’t just “culturally domestic”. The Hip were good. The hip were really really good. The music was unique and original, but the songs were rich and had a vast tonal range. One song might sound nothing like another, but without knowing it, you might think “whoa, is that the Hip?”.
People have been throwing around things like “he was Canada’s Shakespeare” or I even heard Rod Stewart North. None of these are even close.
Gord Downie was like Canada’s musical big brother. Then like every younger sibling we looked up to him. We wanted to listen to him. He taught us things about ourselves that we didn’t yet know. His Lyrics often bridged common ground between Canadians who lived Half a globe away.
Then on top of all that… Like i said before… The Hip were good. The Hip were Really Really good.
Anyways, Here’s the Hip @ Woodstock…
I’m gonna miss you Gordon…