Bring Back The Sun

October 21, 2012

Kirk and I started dating when we were in high school…next year we’ll have been together for half of my life (married for seven years!), and Chantal Kreviazuk and Our Lady Peace were a major part of the soundtrack of our lives from the beginning. I thought we knew everything we could about their work. But last night we went to an absolutely amazing concert, with Chantal headlining and Raine in a (very strong…stronger even than the last time) supporting role, and we learned even more about them and some of our favourite songs. Some things were major  and some things were silly and we should have known before.

The concert was one of the keystones of an IMAGINE Festival for the Ontario Shores mental health organization, although we didn’t know it at the time. So the musicians’ work was informed by that theme, and we learned stories about many of the songs that were influenced by experiences with mental health issues.

Some of the things we learned were major: I’ll never listen to her “Surrounded” or our wedding song, “In This Life” in the same way again, now that I know something about the experiences to which they refer.

Some of the things were minor, and I felt silly for not realizing them before. She does a song called “Feels Like Home” that I knew was a cover, as one’s heard other women sing it, often. But I didn’t realize till she said it that the songwriter was Randy Newman. Now that I know it, the Newmanisms all come out. It sounds SO much like the rest of his work. In a good way.

Kirk and I both always thought the phrase in the chorus of Maida’s “Yellow Brick Road” was “Rise Up”…turns out it’s “Wise Up”. Not too silly, as some of our misheard lyrics go.

And I’d never thought before about the pun on his name, when, in “Before You”, she sings, “Ever since I met you on a cloudy Monday, I can’t believe how much I love the rain.” I feel like such a dullard for missing it before.

The last time we saw them together was a few years ago at Massey Hall. Raine was a straight opener for his wife, which is beautiful to me. So often, historically, with talented couples, the woman’s talent is downplayed through her support for the man’s career (something I think I’ve pondered on this blog before). It was even better last night to see him more often, still as an opener, but then again throughout the night. He did acoustic versions of “Innocence” and “In Repair”, and as an encore, acquiesced to an audience request for “4 am”, which was incredible, and I’d never thought we’d hear it.

I think we were probably somewhat unusual among the audience, which tended older and I think more Chantal-focused (which makes sense), in that Kirk and I shared as our absolute favourite from the entire night a STUNNING duet on the OLP song “Bring Back the Sun”. They shared the verses, and came together on the choruses, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful song. Thinking of it now brings back tears. Maybe my favourite live performance of any song, ever.

Both shared new songs that, we hope, will be on their next albums (well, one of three by Chantal was on her live album “In This Life”). Maida said he’d likely go home and record “Not Done Yet” today, and we should hold him to that!

Watching the two of them together is good for the heart. They were joking about being cranky, but they’re both amazingly gorgeous and talented and clearly in love. It’s so perfectly Canadian, that people with so many gifts are still so self-deprecating. A very, very warm fall evening, with times of darkness brought into the light.

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OLP Overproduced

April 7, 2012

I didn’t have  specific expectations for Our Lady Peace’s new album Curve, but had high hopes based on the first single, “Heavyweight”.  I loved the track because it combined some of the band’s best sounds…the rawness of pre-Spiritual Machines, the upbeat rock of post-Spiritual Machines, the creativity of Raine’s solo stuff.

My reaction to my first listen of  the album was underwhelming. I thought this was because it was overproduced…lots of backing tracks, strings. But the other morning after a second listen, I turned to Raine Maida’s solo The Hunter’s Lullaby, and realized that album has all those things, too. Curve, aside from a couple highlights like “Heavyweight” and “If This is It” just feels sluggish (maybe the album’s boxing theme fits, just not in the way the band thinks it does).  Albums do need to have some sort of unifying sound, which this album does…but they also need to have some variety, and after a few tracks, the songs on Curve just sound indistinguishable.

Maybe it will improve on me with time. Right now, it feels like this is the band “being artists” as opposed to just making some rock music. No thanks. We’ve already got Spiritual Machines and aside from 1 or 2 tracks, that’s unlistenable.