Euphonious Fridays – Underwhelmed


Jay Ferguson, Patrick Pentland, Chris Murphy & Andrew Scott (L-R); Source: Breakthruradio.com

When I was back in high school, I was struggling to find myself.  The first couple of years consisted of sending out my feelers to figure out where I fit into in regards to education, friends, society…and most importantly music.  Luckily, at the same time I was doing this, a band was forming on the east coast of Canada that would influence at least the next few years of my musical life – Sloan.

Though now Toronto based, Sloan’s humble beginnings started in 1991 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where two of the members were attending the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.  A year later and a band of four, they created their own record label – Murderecords – to record their debut EP Peppermint, as well as the albums of the very active Halifax music scene.  If you know anything of this scene in the early 90s (I’m looking at you Schar!), you’ll likely have heard of bands like Eric’s Trip, The Super Friendz, Hip Club Groove, Thrush Hermit, The Inbreds and The Hardship Post.  Aside from Sonic Unyon Records out of Hamilton, Ontario, Murderecords produced some of my favourite Canadian indie of the decade that encompassed my high school experience.

Over the band’s twenty year career, Sloan has released twelve albums (including a live album and a best of compilation) and two EPs.  Sloan’s sophomore full length album Twice Removed still ranks up as one of my top albums of all time.  I’m apparently in good company – it’s been highly acclaimed by many music critics and magazines.

The reason I’ve chosen to put the spotlight on Sloan this Friday stems from an event I attended a couple of weeks back.  During the Toonik Tyme Festival in Iqaluit (which I’ll be writing a post on our Nunavut blog soon), Ian and I had the good fortune of volunteering at the big band night which usually flies up a fairly well known band from the south.  This year, a band called The Reason from Hamilton, Ontario was headlining.  They performed a cover of one of my favourite Sloan songs, Underwhelmed.  It was so good that it made me reminisce on those indie rawk days of high school, and I knew I had to post about the song.  I still have yet to see Sloan live…perhaps if I manage to make it on to the Toonik Tyme committee for next year, I can work some magic to get Sloan up here to perform.  Wouldn’t that be awesome!

“Underwhelmed” is a great example of Sloan’s cheeky songwriting – full of their sugar-sweet indie pop rock lyrics – and of their harmonizing.  It can be found on their debut full length Smeared, and in a rawer form on the Peppermint EP.  I can still hear the song and this band’s influence in music by artists like Sam Roberts and Joel Plaskett (formerly of Thrush Hermit, so no surprise there).  It’s songs like this that remind me of how music is supposed to be…hope you enjoy…

She was underwhelmed, if that’s a word
I know it’s not ’cause I looked it up
That’s one of those skills
That I learned in my school

She was overwhelmed
And I’m sure of that one
Cuz I learned it back in grade school
When I was young

She said “You is funny”, I said “You are funny”
She said “Thank you” and I said “Never mind”
She rolled her eyes
Her beautiful eyes

The point is not the grammar
It’s the feeling
That is certainly in my heart
But not in hers

But not in hers
But not in hers
But not in hers
But not in hers

We were talking about people that eat meat
I felt like an ass ’cause I was one
She said “It’s okay”
But I felt like I just ate my young

She is obviously a person with a cause
I told her that I don’t smoke or drink
She told me to loosen up
On the way to the L.C.

She skips her classes and gets good grades
I go to my courses rain or shine
She’s passing her classes
While I attend mine

While I attend mine
While I attend mine
While I attend mine
While I attend

She wrote out a story about her life
I think it included something about me
I’m not sure of that but I’m sure of one thing
Her spelling’s atrocious

She told me to read between the lines
And tell her exactly what I got out of it
I told her affection had two F’s
Especially when you’re dealing with me

I usually notice all the little things
One time I was proud of it, she says it’s annoying
She cursed me up and down
And rolled her R’s, her beautiful R’s

She says I’m caught up in triviality
All I really wanna know is what she thinks of me
I think my love for her makes me miss the point

I miss the point
I miss the point
I miss the point
I miss the point

I miss the point
I miss the point
I miss the point
Hey mister

Trying to find the video for this song was nearly impossible.  In fact, it’s almost turned this post into Soundful Saturdays or something.  I’ve managed to find a live version of this song from what has to be Sloan’s first live television performance.  It’s so close to the beginning of their career that Patrick even forgets some of the lyrics.  Love it!

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2 thoughts on “Euphonious Fridays – Underwhelmed

  1. Sloan, Eric’s Trip, and Thrush Hermit…all good Maritime bands! Sloan’s still going strong. I remember buying an “Eric’s Trip” CD for my teenage nephew in the early ’90s (we lived in Moncton when they hit big)…my nephew lived in Port Hope, Ontario, and had never heard of them before! I suppose you’ve heard that Julie Doiron (Eric’s Trip) has a pretty successful solo career now… We’re still big fans of Joel Plaskett (Thrush Hermit). Thanks, Suzanne, for the trip down memory lane!

    Wendy

    • Yes! Love Julie…she has such a fantastic voice and I’m glad she’s still making music. I can’t wait to finally have the opportunity to see Sloan live. It’ll happen one day!

      I knew you’d probably have something to say on this post… 😉

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