‘Introduce Yerself’ album review
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
Secret Path might be considered Gord Downie’s legacy album, both for how its gravity as it delves into the lives of Indigenous people and the misconception that it was going to be his final album. However, he has another album for his fans. Introduce Yerself is a thank-you note for his fans and tells the story of a couple going to a cottage during the winter. Unfortunately, the album was released nine days after Downie passed away from brain cancer. Originally thought to come out as a two-disc album, it has actually been released with all 23 songs on one disc.
Downie said that every song in the album is about a person. When I was listening to it, his message of thanks is spread out throughout the album. In “First Person,” he talks about the people who were important in his life with a bittersweet note, perhaps as a reference to his illness. Downie talks about the things that he did with his band, the Tragically Hip, in their hometown of Kingston and Toronto in “Spoon.” In “A Better End,” he gives advice that if you sing about something, it’s a real song.
The second half of the album involves the story of a couple going to a cottage nearby Lake Ontario during the winter. We learn that the couple talks about the Boston Bruins a lot when they watch their games in “You Me and the Bs,” and the song is inspired by Downie liking the team. In “Snowflakes,” the couple walks to their cottage in the snow. It is the type of song that you would hear when you walk outside in the snow. The rest of the songs on the album talk about the relationship of the couple, and in “The Lake,” we find out where their cottage is.
The last song in the album, “The North,” talks about the situation of the living conditions of Indigenous people in Northern Canada. It is Downie’s warning that we have to do something to help Indigenous people and the last words of the song are, “Let’s turn our faces to the sun and get whatever warmth there is.”
Some of the songs in it have a pop sound, which causes them to have more impact. Some have a rock sound as well. The second half of the album gives the listener the feeling of winter in Canada. Because of Downie’s brain cancer, he sounds choppy throughout, but the lyrics show that he was still able to write great songs.
The sound of the album is similar to the sound of Secret Path, which has similar lyrics. Like Secret Path, perhaps a TV movie could be made about it, or a visual without Downie being involved, with the help of his brother, Mike.
Introduce Yerself is more than Downie giving a thank-you note for his fans: It is a celebration of his life and what he did for Canada.