Remembering Gord Downie, part two
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
The Tragically Hip had a lot of success in the 1990s. While the band did not have the same type of hype in the later years of their career, they still made a lot of great music and music videos. In these music videos, the band gets involved in a lot of acting. The most recent section of the band’s career will not be explored in this column because it is the darkest part of their career. Here are the greatest music videos of the band’s later years.
My Music at Work (2000)
In this music video, the band plays as a band called The Filters and they all work in one of the worst places to be employed at. They are going to perform in a concert after work, and all of them get distracted by their music being played at their jobs. Gord Downie and the rest of the workers dance in the office with pizzazz. At the end of the video, he jumps into a mosh pit during the concert. This music video is kind of out of date—for example, around the time it was released, there were smoking rooms at work, which are shown in the video.
It’s A Good Life if You Don’t Weaken (2002)
The band gets involved in a drama in this music video, in which they do a gig for a rich family in a mansion. When the band performs, they wear white clothes, and everyone else at the party wears black clothes. While the music video does not show the song’s actual subject, the lyrics talk about Indigenous people. Also, Anna Paquin can be seen as a maid in the mansion.
The Darkest One (2002)
This can essentially be summed up as the Tragically Hip if they guest-starred in an episode of Trailer Park Boys. Downie helps the boys put a motor in their car and buys buckets of chicken for all of them. After Don Cherry (playing a chicken delivery man) gives Downie the chicken and he put it in their trailer, cats go inside it and eat it. I like the line in the song when he says, “Come in, come in, come in, come in.” Downie is creepy in this music video because he looks at the camera a lot. This video is set during the time when you could get chocolate cake with a KFC chicken bucket meal.
We Are the Same (2009)
This is more of a short film than a music video, with three of the songs from the album We Are the Same including The Last Recluse, Coffee Girl, and Now the Struggle Has a Name in the background. Downie plays a father who drops off his daughter at the ferry in the Toronto Islands by bike. The short film is in three acts and it follows her working in a coffee shop in Toronto and seeing a boy in the shop. Like Downie’s solo album The Secret Path, the video shows things that Downie is describing. There are a lot of interesting camera movements in it.
The Lookahead (2012)
This is one of the most unusual music videos made by the Hip. A couple eats in a restaurant in Mexico and when the man says to his girlfriend that he loves her, the band comes downstairs as a mariachi band and they perform the song in front of them. As they play the song, the woman unexpectedly dances around the restaurant. “The Lookahead” has a rock and mariachi sound, and Sarah Harmer is heard in the song as backing vocals.