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soundtracking May 2009: Winnipeg for everyone

May 10, 2009

And here is this month’s musical interlude from friend and colleague Jordan Zivitz.
Denise Duguay

In honour of my 11th Ave. landlord’s hometown, I thought I’d scrounge
up some Winnipeggy sounds this month…

The Weakerthans: One Great City!

Popularly known as the “I hate Winnipeg” song. Well, if your hometown
has left such an indelible mark on your psyche that you write a song
about how you hate the place, then part of you probably loves the
place as well.* I definitely think that’s the case with The
Weakerthans’ John K. Samson, who finds poignancy where most people
would never think to look – like in the dollar store and the
public-transit hell he documents here. If only the dopey frat guys
singing along were actually listening to what he’s saying …
(* Notable exception: Winnipeg electronica act Venetian Snares, whose
album Winnipeg Is a Frozen Shithole includes the songs Winnipeg Is a
Dogshit Dildo, Winnipeg Is a Boiling Pot of Cranberries, and Die
Winnipeg Die Die Die Fuckers Die. I’m pretty sure he does, in fact,
hate Winnipeg through and through.)

Crash Test Dummies: The Unforgiven Ones

Brad Roberts was no longer a Winnipegger by the time Songs of the
Unforgiven came out in 2004. But I didn’t want to spotlight that “Mmm
Mmm” song (sorry — I know it’s stuck in your head now), and this is
my favourite Dummies album, full of spooky “repent, ye sinners”
warnings that sound like they were recorded in an abandoned church.
Oh, wait — they were. I wish I could have found a version of this
song that wasn’t set to traumatizing excerpts from Watership Down, but
YouTube is a cruel master.

Neil Young: A Man Needs a Maid


It wasn’t easy to pick just one thing from Neil — who spent much of
his formative youth in Winnipeg — but this stands out as a bit of a
rarity, since it was taped before the bombastic orchestra came close
to smothering this song on the Harvest album. So much prettier with
just the piano and that cracked vocal.

Jordan Zivitz is a writer, copyeditor and critic working from Montreal with the best cat musicians he can find to form a YouTube Orchestra that everyone will not immediately forget about. Performance date at Carnegie Hall tba.

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