The Tragically Hip Albums Ranked

The Tragically Hip, often referred to simply as The Hip, were a Canadian rock band from Kingston, Ontario, consisting of vocalist Gord Downie, guitarist Paul Langlois, guitarist Rob Baker (known as Bobby Baker until 1994), bassist Gord Sinclair, and drummer Johnny Fay. They released 13 studio albums, two live albums, one EP, and over 50 singles over a 33-year career. Nine of their albums have reached No. 1 on the Canadian charts. They have received numerous Canadian music awards, including 16 Juno Awards. Between 1996 and 2016, The Tragically Hip’s were the best-selling Canadian band in Canada and the fourth best-selling Canadian artist overall in Canada. Following Downie’s diagnosis with terminal brain cancer in 2015, the band undertook a tour of Canada in support of their thirteenth album Man Machine Poem. The tour’s final concert, which would ultimately be the band’s last show, was held at the Rogers K-Rock Centre in Kingston on August 20, 2016, and broadcast globally by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a cross-platform television, radio, and internet streaming special. Here are all of The Tragically Hip albums ranked.

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10. Now For Plan A (2012)

“Absolutely loving this one–brilliant rock with just enough Hip-style quirky weirdness here and there to keep things interesting. The lyrics are a bit more surreal than we’ve had for the last couple of (also brilliant) albums and yeah there are a few parts that take some getting used to (I have to admit the “drip drip” bits haven’t quite grown on me yet”

9. Music @ Work (2000)

“The LP starts with the title track, a Neil-Young-style rocker purposefully unpolished. “Music at Work” isn’t a bad tune, but others are better. We move onto the (aforementioned) unusual but excellent “Tiger the Lion,” through to another fantastic single “Lake Fever,” and then, well, the rest – all high quality and, again, all really varied. M@W is almost like a compilation album where a different group plays each song.”

8. Man Machine Poem (2016)

“Man Machine Poem is their best album since In Violet Light. At least, for me it is. This isn’t the same type of Hip music that you’d hear on Fully Completely or Up To Here, but it shows that they’ve evolved while still being the band I love. As always, Gord Downie’s lyrics are like poetry and he still sounds great. Overall, this is a great sounding album that sounds more intimate and personal.”

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7. Trouble At The Henhouse (1996)

“‘Trouble’ is more stripped down than its airy, moody, multilayered predecessor (Day for Night) and in places (e.g. on “Butts Wigglin”) it’s even sort of jazzy-lounge-bar-ish. The singing is often more subdued and vocalist Gord Downie keeps up the trend of esoteric lyrics that tilt toward poetry. It’s a nice album – the softer, stripped down feel works – but it’s possibly not as “strong” as, say, Road Apples or Fully Completely, although perhaps it’s not meant to be.”

6. Phantom Power (1998)

“Their songs are moving now and give you a feel, compared to their older tracks. The CD is a great mix of rock/pop, and they sound matured as a band. When Gordon Downie sings, he really puts you in the position that’s being described. All the tracks flow together and make a perfect mix. The best part of this album, and TTH as a whole is the way that they can convey emotions, with the jagged vocals. The album leaves you feeling full, and is at the right wavelength. It’s not too mature for you, like classical, but it’s not too low for you, like rap.”

5. In Violet Light (2002)

“Violet Light has by contrast an almost stark simplicity, and is over almost before it begins, especially if you are a chronic track-skipper like me. But there is texture and soul on this record, and the oft-mentioned “Darkest One” is a song after my own heart. I have no idea what the lyrics mean, but it’s a powerful statement while driving along into a 401 sunset.”

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4. Road Apples (1991)

“Gord Downie’s lyrics have been exhaustively discussed elsewhere, so I won’t discuss them (they’re amazing – there, I said it) but “Road Apples” is definitely his finest VOCAL work. Downie sings with incredible power on “Road Apples,” power he lost a few albums later, and sings with a range he doesn’t display on “Up to Here.” His singing is unique, wonderful, and at the time was without peer.”

3. Up To Here (1989)

““Up to here” is insanely ingenious played rock, point! One title chases the next, “The Hip” have created almost only highlights here! I caught myself jogging through the beautiful spring afternoon from time to time while jumping and dancing – the forest was my stage”

2. Day For Night (1994)

“”Day For Night” is a rarity in music – a COMPLETE ALBUM that flows from beginning to end. There is a logical progression of sonic and emotional energy to the album. You would swear that it is possible that some songs were written around a word picked out at random from the dictionary (See,”Apartment Song” from the Hip’s album “Trouble at the Hen House” for a possible example – the random word there being “esthete”

1. Fully Completely (1992)

“The live recordings of the Fully Completely tracks performed in the 90’s sounds amazing. And I must say I am really enjoying the sonic quality of the remastering. You can play these great tunes even louder now. Though there are just two 🙁 rarities. I truly dig Radio Show – instantly takes you back to the vibe of FC. And the original version of So Hard Done By -that is included – is definitely cool.”