Behind the Hoots: September

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For Esmé

“Make A Sound” – For Esmé (Lyrics by Martha Meredith)

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, does it make a sound?
and if I’m wrapped up in something good but I forget to throw the proof down..
does it count? does it count? does it count?

In the opening lines of “Make A Sound”, Martha Meredith confronts how our society now functions around social media. We have a tendency now to document everything, to a point where we feel anxious if we don’t. This anxiety is felt by Meredith’s continuous repetition of “does it count?” It’s border-line confrontational making us ask ourselves if the moment itself is sufficient enough.  The song goes on to question whether what we’re posting is even a genuine depiction of real life.

– Tiana Feng

“You Can Dance in Alberta!” – Brock Tyler (Lyrics by Brock Tyler)

But now I wonder, have we lost our touch?
I’ve travelled around here and I don’t see us dance as much
Either the rose is wild, or it’s just a rose
So pick it up off the ground and put it in your hair
Grease up the floor and get ready to go

Brock Tyler is one of my favourite Canadian songwriters. His astute, and often light-hearted, songwriting tugs at heartstrings and has become a mainstay on my iPod. Part of the All-Albertan Song Contest (Tyler unfortunately came in second but he’s #1 in our hearts), Tyler’s latest song “You Can Dance in Alberta!” is his funniest to date! Employing a notably lower register, Tyler dances across his beautiful province, spreading love, and leaving behind all the surrounding negative energy. In the verse above, Tyler questions what’s happened to the province and encourages its people to have fun again all while cleverly making reference to Alberta’s Wildrose Party. With so many great provincial references, this one will make Albertans and Cancon lovers alike get up and dance.

– Laura Stanley 

“Fuck the Government, I Love You” – Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom (Lyrics by Mathias Kom)

Pass the wine, fuck the government, I love you, three statements overheard at once in the crowded room. But I could not be sure which one had come from you, so I passed you the wine and said “Yes, fuck the government, I love you too.”

Ostensibly the story of how the Burning Hell’s Mathias Kom and Ariel Sharratt met, Kom as usual writes in a completely self-effacing way, highlighting not only the awkwardness of the party at which he met Sharratt, but also his own awkwardness. No ordinary person would write about their dream of Jean Baudrillard rapping with Public Enemy, but he does. The quoted lines are every person’s worst nightmare: you’re at a loud party full of people you don’t know, but you’ve managed to hit it off with one person. How do you respond to hearing three different things? Some would make a guess and respond to one, but instead, they choose to hedge their bets and respond to all three. This is relateable human awkwardness at its finest.

Michael Thomas

“Shiny Pretty Things” – David Newberry (Lyrics by David Newberry)

I am getting pretty tired of the radio. 
They’re just reporting on all our shiny dreams.
Something has gone wrong, come out the front door of a sideshow. 
We’ve learned to love such wicked, wicked things.


“Shiny Pretty Things” is about the loss of innocence, and is probably well summed up by these four lines.

The “radio” represents popular media, which focus on the things that we are irresistibly drawn to – the insubstantial, the superficially attractive, the shallow, the fleeting, the dazzling. In other words, our “shiny dreams”.

But something has gone wrong. What is it? The mentioning of “the front door of sideshow” suggests something that was once a minor distraction, something of secondary importance, has now taken centre stage. Newberry probably intends this as a reference to many things, but elsewhere in the song he refers specifically to gun culture and gun violence (e.g. “place an armed guard at the library”). Gun violence has always been around but it used to be in the background of our consciousness. It was rarely top news or front-and-centre in the media. Now it is everywhere. The nightly news is riddled with it. It floods our awareness with its presence on the internet, on TV, in our magazines. The fictional world has undergone a similar transition. Yes, there have always been images of guns and killings in movies, for example, but nowhere near the degree to which they are prevalent today.

It’s an obsession with us. As much as we are appalled by the violence, we are drawn to it on a very basic and depraved level. It’s a love/hate relationship. We have “learned to love such wicked, wicked things”.

It is tragic and sad because, after all, we “used to be such pretty tiny things”.

– Mark Anthony Brennan

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