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'Canada' by The Thermals

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The Thermals: Something Wonderful In 'Canada'

The Thermals: Something Wonderful In 'Canada'

'Canada' by The Thermals

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Just in time for the Olympics, The Thermals' "Canada" functions as a rapturous celebration of elsewhere. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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courtesy of the artist

Just in time for the Olympics, The Thermals' "Canada" functions as a rapturous celebration of elsewhere.

courtesy of the artist

Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Canada"
  • Artist: The Thermals
  • CD: "Canada" MP3
  • Genre: Rock

On paper, The Thermals' "Canada" barely even qualifies as a song. The band couldn't bring itself to write more than 10 lines of lyrics (which are primarily nonsense anyway), the chorus consists of a single word that's arguably not a word at all (at least not the way it's used here), and it gets three verses deep before remembering to do more than glance at a third chord.

Music doesn't exist on paper, though. It happens in the air, and "Canada" transforms a collection of what seem like the thinnest ingredients into a rapturous celebration of elsewhere. The fact that the place Hutch Harris is singing about is largely identical to his current locale isn't important; the joy in his throat and the skip in the band's step treat it as if it's one form of paradise or another.

In fact, the grinning, unfettered delight expressed by The Thermals is far more eloquent than any specifics could ever be. If Harris started rattling off a list of the jewels of the Great White North — Banff, perhaps, or Nova Scotia lox — "Canada" wouldn't be much more than a novelty travelogue. Instead, the song's true subject is the restless feeling that something wonderful, whatever it might be, is just around the corner. And The Thermals can't wait.

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