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Let’s Get Weird—All World All Time Best Song Competition: Canada Part Une

You’re likely thinking of only one band, and maybe only one song here. Here’s why you shouldn’t be.

2022 SXSW Conference And Festival - Day 5
If you haven’t watched the new season of The Kids in the Hall yet, consider this me crushing your head.
Photo by Rick Kern/FilmMagic

As I said in the first Global Song Competition post in which we determined “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” was Australia’s best ever contribution to music:

If I open up the mail bag right now, I might drop a plugged in toaster into the tub, so to stem the tide of Vanderbilt sports-based ennui, we need a distraction. Nothing is more distracting, nor bat-shit insane, as the Eurovision song contest.

No, no, I’m not going to subject you all to the sustained fever dream that is the Eurovision song contest. You’ve made us all drink horse poison before, so doing so would be well within my rights, but no... no.

Instead, let us determine the greatest song of all time, based on my limited knowledge of music and other countries.

First, we’ll go with the smattering of countries I can accurately point to on a globe and spell correctly—sorry, Kyrgustan (nope: it was Kyrgyzstan)—and then, we’ll go state by state in the good ol’ US of A.

Up first, alphabetically, is the land down under. Though when most people think of Australian music, they think of lyrics involving people having to chunder and/or eating a Vegemite sandwich, but there is a surprising amount of excellent music coming from the land of kangaroos.

*Note: Feel free to disagree with my choices violently, and suggest better songs in the comments. I will not listen to you, nor will it affect the outcome of this ridiculous distraction contest, but I want you all to feel both seen and heard, even though I don’t know what most of you look like, nor sound like, but I want you all to feel effectively placated.

This time, I chose Canada, as when I gave you a choice of B countries, you chose Bahrain. Well Bahrain is a (relatively new) constitutional monarchy, and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al “Whiz” Khalifa told me I had to go with another constitutional monarchy for the letter C, or risk another Bloody Thursday.

That sent me to the land of maple syrup, beaver pelts, and The Kids in the Hall, where there is a surprising amount of strong candidates for best ever song.

The Songs

1) The Stampeders “Sweet City Woman.”

Speaking of The Kids in the Hall, in their most recent season (their first since 1995, and no, I do not count Death Comes to Town) streaming right now on Amazon Prime, there is a particularly sweet sketch where Bruce McCulloch’s character (Gordon) tries to carry his wife (Fran, played by Scott Thompson in drag) over the threshold on their 30th wedding anniversary, and suffers a heart attach in the process. Like Sisyphus before him, McCulloch tries time and time again to lift his aging wife, all to the tune of “their song,” which just happens to be “Sweet City Woman” by The Stampeders. In comedy, contrasts, paradoxes, and irony, are leaned on heavily, and these veterans of sketch comedy know just how to turn a sweet moment tragic and a tragic moment sweet at the same time. Oh, and their son, played by Dave Foley, has been wrangled into trying to capture this saccharine horror on their camcorder the entire time.

It’s... it’s perfect.

Just like this song.

It’s got a banjo riff that would made Kermit the Frog jealous, lyrics that will stay in your brain to be plucked out when you want an endorphin kick of pure joy, because “it feels so good to know she waits at the end of the line.”

Oh, and I can only assume the titular “Sweet City Woman” was from, like, Calgary.

Though the song debuted in 1971, I purposefully picked the video of it played by the aging Stampeders recently. For comic symmetry.

That the lead singer now looks like North America’s dad (i.e. the love child of character actors Stephen Root and Richard Karn), is just the icing on the cake.

Vote for this sweet tune, you hosers.

2) Kardinal Offishal “BaKardi Slang.”

Let’s not forget the Caribbean influence on Toronto rap. No, I’m not talking about Snow’s “Informer.” I’m talking the song where Kardinal Offishal provides an Anchor of Gold Glossary of Terms for the slang of his part of the T-Dot.

...and if you’re running out of liquor, the bar might get wet.

Yeah, this song is for us.

3) Bachman-Turner Overdrive “Taking Care of Business”

Get to the “working overtime” part!

4) Rush “Tom Sawyer.”

Oh, like I wasn’t going to include the Canadian Power Trio.

Quite literally no one knows what is meant by these lyrics:

Though his mind is not for rent

Don’t put him down as arrogant

His reserve, a quiet defense

Riding out the day’s events

...but quite literally everyone you ever meet of substance will immediately scream-sing THE RIVER!!! if you sing those lyrics at them.

Yeah, it’s good, even though, as someone who has taught Mark Twain throughout the years, I have no fucking clue what it means.

I mean, Tom Sawyer was a real prick to Jim. Just the worst.

Vote in the Poll (click on the tweet to vote on it, you crumb bums)

Honorable Mention

The Kids in the Hall “The Daves I Know.”

Neil Young “Heart of Gold”

Get to the “working overtime on a heart of gold” part!

The Tragically Hip “Bobcaygeon.”

The Tragically Hip “Wheat Kings.”

Snow “Informer.”

A Leaky Boom Boom Down.

Now You Choose the Next Installment