Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Robson Arms’ 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 »

persuasion.jpgSOUNDTRACK: LUTHER WRIGHT AND THE WRONGS-Rebuild the Wall (2001).

wright.jpgI first heard Luther Wright on an episode of Robson Arms, a weird, funny show on CTV in Canada. They were playing “Broken Fucking Heart” a fabulous country-punk song. So, I had to find out more about this guy, and it turns out he did a country-punk, but mostly country, version of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. It was with much trepidation that I dared into this most unusual of covers, because I don’t really care for country, particularly, shudder, new country. But, wow am I glad I did.

It’s hard to know even where to start, but it is amazing how well the songs translate into a country motif. I’ve loved Pink Floyd’s The Wall ever since it came out. I have very fond memories of reading the lyrics on the record sleeve when I bought it back in 1979, sitting in the back of my mom’s car as she drove myself and my aunt back from the mall. And, I have a fond memory of the resurgence that it had for me in college when evidently every angsty boy in my dorm felt the need to play it ritually.

I was prepared for the worst, but I never had any regrets of this cover version. I’ve even played it to friends who’ve thought it was really good as well. It all sounds like a joke, but the musicianship is top-notch (Sarah Harmer is back with great backing vocals), and the appreciation of the original is evident from the start. I encourage you to track down this album if you like the original. Give Luther some of your cash!

[READ: August 20, 2007] In Persuasion Nation.

This completes my recent spate of books that I read about somewhere, and can’t remember where. I maintain that it was in The Week by a former Simpsons’ writer, but I have to wait about a month before that issue gets online so I can confirm it (boo!). At any rate, I was led to believe that this was going to be a book of funny essays. And, well, it’s not. It skewers contemporary society, and it has moments that are definitely funny in a hmmmm, sort of way, but laugh-out-loud funny this is not. (more…)

Read Full Post »