Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

Canadian Music

Not so long ago, I was chatting with a friend who happens to hail from that nation to our north. Was I interrupting something? No, no, he was just listening to Canadian music. Canadian music? What’s that? Oh, you know, Sarah McLaughlin and Nelly Furtado. That was when I started laughing.

Last weekend, I was at the home of two friends from the same nation and was captivated by their playlist. I recognized a few bands like Ben Folds Five amongst their songs, but there were many other catchy but unfamiliar songs. What groups are those? Oh, haven’t you heard of Moxy Früvous or the Tragically Hip? I hadn’t. It turned out that what we were listening to was Canadian music: not the American-crossover variety, but the real deal Holyfield. It should be noted that Holyfield is not Canadian. Neither was Ben Folds (Winston-Salem, North Carolina), which came as a surprise given how well the music blended with the Canadian songs.

Of course, it can be hard to tell the origin of English-language songs. I wouldn’t bat an eye if someone were to tell me that Flight of the Conchords, once New Zealand’s fourth most popular folk-parody band, is an Australian group. The lead singer of Third Eye Blind, a Bay Area native, sings with a British accent. Then there are groups like Toy-Box, Aqua, and Björk, who produce English-language music in countries where English isn’t even the national language.  Even Moxy Früvous likes to keep things international:

Once I was the King of Spain. (now I eat humble pie)
Hey Clinton! Hey Yeltsin! Got problems? You phone me. (now I eat humble pie)
I’m telling you I was the King of Spain. (now I eat humble pie)
Now the Leafs call me up to drive the Zamboni! (once he was the King of Spain)

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