The Tragically Hip has heavily influenced Canadians ever since the band first broke the scene 30 years ago, and The Hip's music continues to influence Canadians of all ages to this day. Canadian music has become synonymous with The Tragically Hip. In addition to their music being adored across the country, each of their 14 studio albums is laced with lyrics that pay homage to Canada.
On the night of Friday, August 12th, at the Air Canada Centre, I saw one of my all-time favourite bands play for the last time ever. I warned my friend I would probably cry at the end of the show, but it only took the first song for my eyes to well up with tears. the feeling was very surreal, as the circumstances were not of your typical farewell tour.
While more fashionable bands have faded into musical footnotes, the Hip has enjoyed a 32-year career and domestic deification. But now the part of their name that has the most resonance as the Hip rocks its way across the nation one final time is "tragically." Not that you could tell from the surface euphoria onstage and in the stands as Gord Downie's incurable brain cancer took a backseat for a couple hours of communal rock catharsis during the band's 25-song concert at Toronto's Air Canada Centre.
As Gord Downie closed the show with kisses to the cheeks of his bandmates and nods of gratitude to the 20,000 fans in Vancouver, the courage the lead singer displayed overwhelmed me. It saddened me, too. Downie, my cultural hero, is battling the same awful disease -- glioblastoma multiforme -- that took the life of my wife, Julia Pelish-Brijbassi, 137 days ago.
Can one summer go by without a mention of Woodstock? Not in my summer it doesn't. I grew up near the site of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair across the river on the Canadian side of the 1960s. In a perfect world, as August 1969 approached, I would have been holding a much prized $18 advance ticket to the Festival.
Depending on who you ask we either live in an age of rampant consumerism or endless choice -- the answer doesn't necessarily lie in the middle but both are true. The Internet has connected us personally, politically, socially and humanity's consumer nature has built a retail channel unlike any other before.
What truly sets Prince's estate apart from most deceased musicians is what he left behind: a personal vault of 2000 works of unreleased music. To put it in perspective, there is enough music to release one album every year for the next century. I know what you're thinking: What will happen to all of this music, and will we ever hear it?
One moment, I was in Spain, strolling the Passeig de Gracia, eating tapas and sipping red wine. The next, I was singing for Justin Bieber. Perhaps it was jet lag. Perhaps it was the parade of superheroes that casually strolled by me as I donned my Marie Antoinette wig. Either way, it was the most surreal evening of my life.
In a cyclical way I feel music discovery now is like it was pre-internet, when people bought singles on 45. The internet and technology have made it easier than ever to record, release, download, stream, share, playlist, shazam, post and blog. There is so much music available -- it is really amazing.
Rihanna was once the world's preeminent pop star. And yes, I use past tense. Despite having her hit "Work" firmly ensconced at number one for the past two months, a stat that ties her with the Beatles as second only to Mariah Carey for most weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Rihanna has recently transcended pop stardom.
Late in 2015 a band called Disturbed released their dark cover of Simon & Garfunkel's Sound of Silence, the song quickly took hold of me and I couldn't get enough of this dark and well done cover of a classic song. Listening to the lyrics I chose to divide each section of the song to a different type of sadness to be found in abandoned houses.
When Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal launched, they were hailed as digital prophets that promised new ways to monetize the experience. Thus far, their solutions have fallen short of fireworks. Just slightly over a quarter of Spotify's 75 million active users actually pay for the service. And, as The Guardian UK reports, despite pulling in €1.08 bn in revenue, its losses were €162.3m. So why are all these promising platforms sinking?