So the CBC is running this contest, asking us to vote for the 10 most important Canadian pop songs from a short-list of 50 tracks. The CBC’s website describes the process as "controversial" and "hotly debated." No kidding!
What kind of list leaves out Loverboy? "Turn me Loose," "Working for the Weekend" and "Kid is Hot Tonight" would be right up there in my top 10 list of the best Canadian pop songs of all time.
There’s no techno (where’s Plastikman?), not much reggae (where’s Snow?) and no glam rock (where’s Haywire?). Lee Aaron, Mitsou, Chilliwack, Helix, and Doug & The Slugs are also disappointingly absent from the list.
Instead, we get to choose among boring Anne Murray, inoffensive Gordon Lightfoot and sniveling Bruce Cockburn. Of course, the CBC list also includes those frat boy favourites: The Tragically Hip and Spirit of the West. Lame-o-rama.
I was going to stage a silent protest by not voting, but changed my mind when I saw that everyone who voted would be entered into a draw for some cool free stuff. I love winning cool free stuff! (Voting closes Tuesday in case you’re interested.)
So from the CBC’s list of 50 songs, here are the 10 I voted for and why. In no particular order:
1. Big Yellow Taxi, by Joni Mitchell (1970): "They paved paradise to put up a parking lot." Good tune, fantastic lyrics. Poetry, really.
2. Heart of Gold, by Neil Young (1971): How can you not love Neil Young? I would have voted for any of his songs. But I like this one the best.
3. Takin’ Care of Business, by Bachman-Turner Overdrive (1974): Just a rollicking good tune. Plus it was written the same year I was born.
4. Fly By Night, by Rush (1975): One of the most technically precise rock bands around. Gotta give Rush their props. Though it took me a few years to figure out that Geddy Lee was a man, not a really unattractive woman. The high voice threw me off.
5. Raise a Little Hell, by Trooper (1978): Quintessentially Canadian. Makes me want to drink beer.
6. High School Confidential, by Rough Trade (1980): This song is sexy. I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s hot!
7. The Safety Dance, by Men Without Hats (1982): Not just one of the best Canadian pop songs, but one of the best ‘80s songs of all time. Heavy on the synthesizer, big hair, bad outfits, weird video. I came of age in the ‘80s and this song was on the soundtrack.
8. Let Your Backbone Slide, by Maestro Fresh-Wes (1990): Do-do-do, do-dootlie-do. This song was so huge when it was released that I actually thought it was American. And if that’s not a sign that a Canadian artist has made it, then I don’t know what is.
9. Coax Me, by Sloan (1994): I like Sloan. They remind me of the Beatles in their earlier years. Easy to listen to and very catchy.
10. Crabbuckit, by K-OS (2004): Definitely not his best song. But I love K-OS and his refreshing brand of hip hop that is not about bling, bullets and babes.
So those are my favourites (not including Loverboy, of course). What are yours?