This week the world turns its attention to our northernly neighbor for Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics. Not everyone’s enthused. While the Thermals’ one-off ode to Canada has no direct relation or reference to the world’s most celebrated international pissing contest, that pissing contest is having its Opening Ceremonies in three days, and as if on cue, here is a power-pop homage to its host. It’s loose and quick, a feel-good fist-raiser that sounds like it should be the theme music to a song about youths in Canada brought to you by the makers of That ’70s Show. Listen:

A press release gives us the non-Olympic backstory:

Don’t get us wrong – Buffalo, NY is a swell American town. But it’s not the easiest city to play, ask any band! So when The Thermals, on a recent tour, found themselves staring down the barrel of a less-than-spectacular night in Buffalo, The Thermals comforted themselves with the thought that the next day they were headed for CANADA. Toronto, to be exact, where they would headline an amazing sold out show at The Horseshoe Tavern. Sitting in the van in Buffalo, Thermals guitarist and singer Hutch Harris picked up a guitar and strummed a few chords, and sang a few lines about going to CANADA. Kathy Foster walked up and sang “Whoa Whoa-Oh Whoa!” as if on cue. Drummer Westin Glass set a fat beat to it at soundcheck et voila, “Canada”. Seriously, I’m not making this up. I mean, listen to the song. It doesn’t sound like it took The Thermals longer than half an hour to write “Canada”. But therein lies its brilliance! Totally off the cuff, yet totally sincere, “Canada” is an instant classic, a raucous, joyous ode to our brothers and sisters to the north. CANADA! Where everyone is funny, friendly and ready to have a beer or seven with you. CANADA! Where we’ll have everything we need! CANADA! The country we aspire to be.

And this game of Six Degrees of “Canada” is pretty amusing:

The lyrics to “Canada” contain the line “Sittin’ all alone / Pick up the phone and call Ramona / Go to Canada”. Ramona refers to Thermals sound woman Anna Lockwood, who sometimes goes by the name Ramona Flowers, a character in the Canadian comic book Scott Pilgrim, by Canadian author Bryan Lee O’Malley. Scott Pilgrim is published by Oni Press, who share a hometown of Portland, Oregon with The Thermals. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, a live-action film adaptation of the comic starring Canadian actor Michael Cera, is due in August of this year. Scott Pilgrim is named after a song by the Canadian band Plumtree.

Buy “Canada” on iTunes.

The Thermals fifth LP, the Chris Walla-produced Personal Life, is out 9/7 via Kill Rock Stars.

Comments (21)
  1. d@ve  |   Posted on Feb 9th, 2010 0

    being from buffalo i can agree that it was probably a cold night if they didn’t bring the goods, i’m sure the canadians all clapped to this song though.

  2. chuck  |   Posted on Feb 9th, 2010 0

    hardly art. i miss when they sounded like a more rocking, slightly more hi fi vampire on titus this is still pretty fun though

  3. tytytytyty  |   Posted on Feb 9th, 2010 0

    please dont reference canada in your terrible music

  4. jeff w.  |   Posted on Feb 10th, 2010 0

    Seriously looking forward to the next record but if this makes the cut I’m gonna be pissed.

  5. Bbang  |   Posted on Feb 10th, 2010 0

    Six months tops before this thing is in a Molson commercial.

  6. God dammit I hate Canadians.

  7. Writing a song like this shows how easy it is to sell out. The people just want to hear something that they’ve heard a thousand times and that’s not too difficult to sing along with. Makes me sad that there’s so many better musicians out there that don’t get recognized because they are doing something different and unique. I’ve noticed that the music industry very slowly progresses as far as popularity. First it was blues (well technically not first but for my reference it is) which progressed into a blues rock which went on into rock which changed into rock with rap lyrics which then went into straight rap. Ok, yeah it wasn’t exactly that progression but it’s just an example. Meanwhile, there was people in the background back when blues rock were popular doing things that the music media focuses on today. Just shows how much people refuse to change, at least not quickly.

  8. ayyyy  |   Posted on Feb 10th, 2010 0

    They turned down a car commercial a while back so I doubt this is any different, but on the whole this song is just about the epitome of what happens when an inside joke is conceived in a moment of boredom…you still had to be there. I just pray this is not the thermals idea of progress.

  9. jeff w.  |   Posted on Feb 10th, 2010 0

    I saw them play in December and from what I gather from hearing the new songs they played and little things they’ve said the theme of the new record is going to be relationships. So maybe they are going backwards. I loved now we can see but it wasn’t nearly as interesting as the body the blood the machine.

  10. Marc  |   Posted on Feb 11th, 2010 0

    The Thermals are my favorite band. When I originally heard this song, I freaked out because of how god-awful it was. Learning over the last couple of days that A) It’s not going to be on their new album set for release on September 7th and B) That it’s basically an inside joke, has definitely made me feel better.

  11. David  |   Posted on Feb 15th, 2010 0

    I grew up in Buffalo, great bands would play to 5 people all the time while crap bands like Snapcase would play sell out shows.

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