‘Aside’ by The Weakerthans
From the album Left and Leaving (2000)
After recording two albums as a bassist with Winnipeg punk legends Propagandhi in the 1990s, John K. Samson decided to leave the band to start a publishing company. Presumably not wanting to be without musical output for very long Samson started up The Weakerthans with John P. Sutton and Jason Tait, also known for being one of the best drummers in Canada (no matter what the genre) and for working with bands such as Broken Social Scene, Do Make Say Think and FemBots. A couple of line-up changes later and the band was settled.
I’ve chosen ‘Aside’ as it isn’t just a fantastic poppy indie rock song, it also contains some of John K. Samson’s best lyrics, my favourite line being ‘rely a bit too heavily on alcohol and irony’, #storyofmylife. The way the ending of the song builds up, with the main guitar riff returning under Samson’s vocals before the guitar accentuates the last three lines of the song, is absolutely fantastic;
[And I’m leaving, wave goodbye
And I’m losing, but I’ll try]
With the last ways left
To remember sing
My imperfect offering
The whole song is an ode to pointing out that nobody is perfect but it doesn’t particularly matter, that everything will be ok in the end. Whenever I listen to the band it always strikes me that they are four very accomplished musicians out to have as much fun as possible and it is this formula that brings about songs such as ‘Aside’. Even if the lyrics do showcase somebody ‘losing all those stupid games that I swore I’d never play’, in the end ‘it feels okay’. Sadly however it appears that the Weakerthans are no more, as reported here by Consequence of Sound, based on a tweet from drummer Jason Tait.
Finally, bonus points if you listened to the song, went ‘where have I heard this before?’ and then this popped into your head –