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In Violet Light

In Violet Light

4.6 5
by The Tragically Hip

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There's something quietly reassuring about the Tragically Hip. The Canadian rockers perch themselves on a plateau slightly removed from the action, a post from which frontman Gordon Downie can observe the passing world and offer commentary that ranges from sage to wry, shifting emotive gears with a restless charm. More than a decade on,


There's something quietly reassuring about the Tragically Hip. The Canadian rockers perch themselves on a plateau slightly removed from the action, a post from which frontman Gordon Downie can observe the passing world and offer commentary that ranges from sage to wry, shifting emotive gears with a restless charm. More than a decade on, the quintet continue to play to their strengths, while deftly sidestepping the ruts that can often derail bands that have been together for so long. For In Violet Light, the Hip step outside the cocoon-like ambience of their home studio for a trip to the Bahamas, where producer Hugh Padgham (Sting, Genesis, XTC) helped mold the songs into slightly sleeker shapes than on recent outings. That's most evident on the disc's more aggressive tracks, such as the driving rocker "Silver Jet" and the sinuous "It's a Good Life If You Don't Weaken," on which Downie spins a telling tale of a life largely spent on the road. A few of the more expansive songs, such as "Dark Canuck," are stretched a bit thin, but elsewhere the Hip rein themselves in, as on the subtle, serpentine "Throwing off Glass," and cast themselves in a very attractive light, indeed.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - MacKenzie Wilson
The Tragically Hip weren't particularly concerned with being a mainstream breakthrough by the time they issued their ninth album, In Violet Light. Phantom Power didn't do the job and the obscure Music @ Work was forgettable. Alas, the Hip didn't seem to mind. They don't bow to critics -- only to fans, and they're the reason why the band continues to sell records and sell out stadiums. The Tragically Hip are an honest man's band with an incomparable romance and fans are drawn to that. Their first for Rounder, In Violet Light is a tasteful blend of the band's sharp songcraft and Gordon Downie's classic poetic rants. Early on, Downie proclaims that there's "music that will make you feel great" on the celebratory "Use It Up." Name dropping Springsteen and Randy Newman around a song inspired by a Raymond Carver quote is clever and typically Hip. The ambitious drive of "Are You Ready," which is carried by the electric cross-fire of guitarists Paul Langlois and Bobby Baker, sparks enthusiasm whereas the airiness of "It's a Good Life if You Don't Weaken" and "A Beautiful Thing" tame the band's dynamic disposition. The feverish "Silver Jet" is a great lyrical adventure; "The Dire Wolf" takes things a bit further with Wallace Stevens as its mainspring, soaring over the beauty of Newfoundland and the Bahamas. The Tragically Hip absorb their surroundings without getting lost, making In Violet Light a natural fit for loyalists. The lag of Trouble at the Henhouse is absent, while the matchless beauty of Fully Completely is reminiscent. The Tragically Hip have always followed their own formula and do it again with In Violet Light for a solid, cohesive piece of work.

Product Details

Release Date:
Zoe Records


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tragically Hip   Primary Artist
Gordon Downie   Group Member
Johnny Fay   Group Member
Neil Symonette   Percussion
Paul Langlois   Group Member
Gord Sinclair   Group Member
Rob Baker   Group Member

Technical Credits

Tragically Hip   Producer
Terry Manning   Engineer
Robert Lowell   Contributor
Hugh Padgham   Producer,Engineer
Mark Vreeken   Producer,Engineer
David Ajax   Photo Assistance
Bernard Clark   Publicity
David Koster   Guitar Techician,Drum Technician
Rob Baker   Cover Painting

Customer Reviews

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In Violet Light 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just saw The Hip in Syracuse last weekend, and I was BLOWN AWAY. Although they played a lot of their newest songs from IVL, they didn't disappoint us, and played New Orleans...Bobcaygeon...Blow at High Dough! The audience was immediately up on their feet and singing along to every song! There are no words to describe how "into" the music you get, how talented they are, and how they connect with their audience! Love them!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have found that each new Hip album contains some elements found in the preceeding, but listen to albums that aren't successive and they sound much different. This album follows this usual evolution, but with some stuff that sounds more traditionally Hip like, more intricate guitar work, some edgy tunes, and the pop element(that exists in most of their recent albums) but just never seems to take them mainstream in the US.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The mystery that is ''why are the Hip so adored as royalty in Canada but can't seem to crack the US beyond border towns'' will probably be solved when they figure out what did in the dinosaurs. Remember when they played Saturday Night Live? Didn't think so. But mysteries aside, the latest effort, ''In Violet Light'', continues the Hip's journey with a familiar formula that will keep veteran fans happy. With each album, this one included, they are blurring the traditional dichotomy of ''rock out'' and mellow acoustic tunes and getting more dynamic in their writing. While ''the Darkest One'' is a Hip-classic uplifting and up-tempo ''getcha goin' in the morning'' track, songs like ''It's a good Life...'' and ''Throwing Off Glass'' are more ethereal, providing a great vehicle to carry Gordon Downie's lyrical introspection. In Violet Light will neither shock or astound the rabid Hip fan. The band is tighter than ever, the sound mix is fantastic - thanks Hugh Padgham and Terry Manning - and the songs are well crafted. American airwaves will - for the most part - be deprived again of another great album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I ask many people about this band and they always shrug their shoulders wondering what I'm talking about- These guys are awesome, perhaps the best kept secret as far as major recording artists go. Their latest albun In Violet Light demonstrates that this band has matured, but has not lost it's edge. The keepers on this album are Are You Ready, All Tore Up, Darkest One and Silver Jet. These songs are even better live - strongly suggest that you see them on their current tour. They are playing small venues throughout North America and Europe. Go Hip - keeping making good music - I just wish it wasn't every two years.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am pretty much a sucker for any hip release, but this is probably my favorite since Day for Night. The songs are organic, fluid, elegiac. Sure, GD's lyrics are off the beaten track, but it is a welcome track. Who says all songs need to have dumb verse chorus top 40 sentiment? I like songs that allow me room to think, that allow room for my experience as well as the lyricist's. The CD also contains two nice rave-ups: Silver Jet (another airplane song...what is it with these guys?) and All Tore Up. Why these guys aren't bigger in the USA than they are is still a mystery to me. One answer might be that they don't want to be... this album is loaded with references that US audiences might not get... we are so insular here. A bonus: the two extra tracks available online to people who have bought the CD are most excellent... and probably should have been on the album proper. I highly recommend this one.