We gave our intrepid British reporter several musical works of Canadian cultural importance from the nineties and noughties to judge with an air of superiority and bad teeth.
Our Lady Peace – Clumsy
Initially the lyrics make no sense. He just keeps saying telephone with a fashionable 90s speech impediment. It is quite catchy and it seems to have got stuck in my head, similar to an unwanted sexual image involving a family member. I imagine this was a soundtrack to teenage girls being grounded. On that note, did people ever get grounded? Is it something that only happened in movies? Or in America?
Éric Lapointe – N’importe quoi
Second song, second melancholic piano intro. Is this going to be a pattern? Maybe this was the only thing uniting Francophone and Anglophone Canadians during that time. The guy looks like he dabbled in a fair amount of Colombian marching powder in his time. BOOM! That chorus comes out of nowhere! The video makes a lot of effort to make it look like the band are having a good time. I’m suspicious. I imagine this song being a favourite of drunken middle-aged divorcees at karaoke bars, which they belt out before breaking down and having to be consoled by the DJ, again.
Shania Twain – Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under
Shania Twain now looking like a hot Sarah Palin, wiggling her arse and rubbing the faces of a bunch of dirty old cowboys, who unbelievably completely ignore her. The things you had to do for success as a mid-90s country star. I’m familiar with her later work, but this is presumably a country phase before she hit mainstream success. It sounds a lot like her later songs but more country…so even worse. Annoying.
Celine Dion – Pour que tu m’aimes encore
I’m familiar with this because it gets played every time my girlfriend reaches the one bottle of wine mark. Classic 90s rhythm breakdown i.e. terrible. I keep expecting someone to do a flute solo in the middle. I don’t know why, it just seems like that’s what these sort of people do. I am aware that Celine functions as the semi-official Queen of Quebec, who addresses her subjects’ emotional needs through the use of music, so I don’t want to insult her, but I’d rather not have her music infect my ears any longer.
Live on Release – I’m Afraid of Britney Spears
The song is awful. The video is interesting, it features teenage boys engaging in transvestism, who then break out of a stage constructed upon another stage. I assume this represents a break from the phony constraints of society. Maybe it represents the futility of trying to connect with ones audience or maybe that any artistic expression will always be subject to judgment. Maybe it represents nothing and Live on Release are trying to expose the meaningless of existence. And maybe that what’s separates Live on Release from their peers; their questioning of societal and philosophical constructs, which Avril Lavigne would later be too scared to address. Avril was such a sellout.