Sunday, July 1st is Canada Day. Besides throwing backyard BBQs and consuming copious amounts of alcohol, a great deal of Canadians will be celebrating our nation’s 145th birthday with music, which only solidifies the worldwide perception that Canada rocks. Not to oversimplify or get into a genre war here, but is there something that best represents us as a country of hardcore music lovers? (Not to mention the bumper crops of talent we keep producing!)
Below are two video examples, seemingly on the polar ends of the spectrum, yet united by a shared affection for one’s land of birth. I’m curious to find out if the Music Emissions electorate prefers one over the other…enjoy!
First up is Gordie Johnson, who’s never met a Traynor amplifier he didn’t like. Johnson has to be considered one of the most underrated users of overdrive effect in Canadian rock. He has written his fair share of crank up-worthy tunes, but anyone who has seen him live with Big Sugar will tell you that the song that turns his knob to 11 every time he plays it is “O Canada”. A studio version can be found on Big Sugar’s 2001 album Brothers and Sisters, Are You Ready?, which was also recorded in French (Bonus points for bilingualism!) Jimi Hendrix wailing The Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock was epic and all, but seriously, Johnson makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on guard for thee. And finally, isn’t “Gordie” the quintessential Canadian name?
And in the red corner (well, wearing a backwards red hat at least), representin’ the East Coast, is Canadian rapper Classified. His “Oh…Canada” is the furthest thing from a national anthem, but I dare you to find a more patriotic song anywhere outside of maybe “Born in the U.S.A.”. OK, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I’ve heard several people say their chest swells with pride every time Classified reminds them of Canada’s many, many accomplishments. He does it so quickly and slickly (and non-boastfully) that it requires multiple listens to catch everything. It is jam-packed with more cultural references than you can shake a hockey stick at…while being careful not to spill your stubby beer bottle. In a lot of ways, it sums us up perfectly.