Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Mercer Report’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: JANN ARDEN-“Leave the Light On” (2018).

Jann Arden is a Canadian singer-songwriter who I know pretty much exclusively from her 1994 song “Insensitive.”  Arden has also made numerous media appearances over the years, including showing up on Corner Gas, Robson Arms and other shows that I haven’t seen.  She also appeared extensively on Rick Mercer Report (I found out by reading the book).

“Insensitive” is a slow song with a bit of mid-90s production.  The melody is catchy and the lyrics are great:

Oh, I really should have known
By the time you drove me home
By the vagueness in your eyes, your casual goodbyes
By the chill in your embrace
The expression on your face, told me
Maybe, you might have some advice to give
On how to be insensitive, insensitive, ooh, insensitive

Now, nearly 25 years later, Arden has other things on her mind.  I don’t know much about Arden, but evidently both of her parents suffered significant health problems in the last decade.  Her father passed and shortly after that her mother began a battle with Alzheimer’s as well.

“Leave the Light On” is a beautiful song about her mother.

A slow piano opens before Arden starts singing–her voice sounds wonderful–powerful and exposed.

I never pictured life
Alone in a house
Surrounded by trees
That you’d forget yourself
Lose track of time
Not recognize me

The bridge comes in with a harmony voice that shows even more pain.

Then the chorus kicks in and a song that could be maudlin or easily schmaltzy goes in exactly the right place to prevent that.  It shouts a sense of optimism that’s the only way people can keep going sometimes

A four note melody picks up the pace and uses a perfect parenthetical voice (the first voice is quieter, almost internal)

(Out of the dark)
I leave the light on
(In through the cold)
I leave the light on now
(Safe from the night)
I keep my eye on the road
(Good for the soul)
For when you come home to me

What is so compelling about the song is how musically understated it is.  While it could go big and heartbreaky with strings and over the tops effects, it stays quiet with the piano and a quiet electric guitar playing a melody deep in the background.  And really once the drums kick in, it’s almost like the drums are the only instrument–like Arden’s voice is the melody and the piano and guitar are there purely as support.

There’s a short bit near the end of the song that is a real gut punch though.  After a short guitar solo, she sings following the guitar, “do you know my name, do you know my name?”

Dang.  It’s a starkly beautiful song.

It also showcases what a great songwriter she is because she is apparently a truly fun person to hang out (according to Rick Mercer).

[READ: December 2019] Rick Mercer Final Report

I read The Mercer Report: The Book over ten years ago.  I had been a fan of Rick Mercer Report on Canadian TV (we used to be able to get Canadian satellite down here).  As an introduction to that book I wrote

Rick Mercer is a great political comedian.  He puts all American political commentators to shame. I’m sure that much of this difference is the way Canada is structured. There seems to be so much more access to politicians there than in our system.  While politicians do appear on our TV shows, on the Mercer Report, Rick goes white-water rafting with the head of the Liberal party. Rick has a sleepover at the Prime Minister’s house.  For reasons I can’t fathom, all of these politicians agree to hang out with Rick even though in the next segment he will rant about their incompetence.

It’s these rants that were a highlight of his show.  Every episode, he would stand in an alley and go off for 90 some seconds about the issue of the week.  His rants are astute, funny, and right on the mark.  He takes aim at all sides by ranting against incompetence and hypocrisy.  The only disappointing thing is that since this book covers the lifetime of the show and some of the topics have appeared multiple times, I guess it shows that his rants didn’t accomplish their goals.  But they made us feel better, anyhow.

The book is organized in reverse chronological order, with the final rants (April 3, 2018) coming first.

Topics in the final year included how run down the Prime Minister’s residence is.  Justin Trudeau said “The place is filled with mould and lead–I’m not raising my children there.  Typical Liberal.”  Also payday loan sharks; the Paralympics (Mercer was a huge supporter) and technology. (more…)

Read Full Post »

This is my final TV recap post.  It was the first entry on my TV page (except for TV I have killed, which will come shortly.  2010 comments are in brackets.

Down below Soon, you’ll see the TV shows that I have killed. It was a sad day when two of my favorite shows were canceled for good last year. However, we move on. And so, this is our current [circa 2007] household lineup: (more…)

Read Full Post »

I’m continuing to move all of the old TV Posts from my TV Tab to individual posts. So here’s some thoughts from the 2008 TV season.  There were some updates midway through on this one, but I’ll add some updated thoughts as necessary.

With the Fall 2008 Lineup mostly underway, I’m listing the shows that we are giving a chance this year.  There are some new ones, but mostly its a continuation of last year: (more…)

Read Full Post »

rm.jpgSOUNDTRACK: NADJA-Truth Becomes Death (2005).

nadja.jpgSlow and low that is the tempo. Very few reviews of Nadja will quote the Beastie Boys, and that is probably wise. The only reason I do is because the quote is so apt. Nadja plays music that is very very very slow. And the notes are very very very low. Have you ever played a 45 RPM vinyl record (remember those) on 33 and laughed at how it sounded? Well, that’s what this record sounds like. On purpose. There are 3 songs. The first is 23 minutes, the second is 16 and the third is 11.

The sound is generally an ominous drone, punctuated occasionally by high hats. It’s weird to me that someone would have even thought to make music like this.

None of this is to say it’s bad, it is just such a unique sounding record that I’m at a loss when I think about it. Some relief from the oppressiveness comes at the end of the third song, where there are suddenly three minutes of fairly light almost acoustic sing-alongs (this is relative of course, as nothing is light with this band). But for the most part it’s a punishing listen.

I’m not sure when you would play this, but I think you wouldn’t want to be anywhere where this is the soundtrack.

I discovered this album because I was buying records from the mighty Alien 8 Records web site, and they were having a buy 2 get 1 free sale. So, I tried Nadja. It was a worthy experiment, although I’m not sure if I’ll be checking out their other records. You never know though!

[READ: January 2008] Rick Mercer Report The Book

Many years ago, when I belonged to the Plainfield (NJ) Curling Club, I discovered that I could get satellite TV beamed in from Canada. Since I was really into curling, and so many other things Canadian (Kids in the Hall, 1/2 of my favorite bands) I thought I’d see what I could discover with a satellite dish of my own. It was through this dish that I found out about Rick Mercer. (more…)

Read Full Post »