Still rocketing up, Our Lady Peace scored a hit with Clumsy
Clumsy has the distinction of achieving diamond status in Canada and platinum in the United States. Long before you could download Clumsy, you had to get out and buy it. Sounds like 3 million+ people did just that.
Touring in support of Clumsy
I managed to see Our Lady Peace twice on tour in support of Clumsy. The first being at the Cambridgeside Galleria, where they performed at Lechmere Canal Park out on a boat in the middle of the water. Fantastic show.
The second was at Boston’s Avalon (now House of Blues) on Lansdowne St., just outside of Fenway Park and next to the Cheeky Monkey Brewery. This was before the House of Blues left Harvard Square. The OLP show at Avalon was part of their first headlining tour in the United States, with the uniquely excellent Black Lab opening for them. The show was memorable for how close we got to the stage, and, for helping bounce a guy over the railing and into the arms of security because he was trying way too hard to crowd surf.
I give a 7.75⁄10
Clumsy track listing
- Superman’s Dead
- Automatic Flowers
- Big Dumb Rocket
- Hello Oskar
- Let You Down
- The Story of 100 Aisles
- Car Crash
The major single. Our Lady Peace leads every album off with a great song. It’s a fact, check the list. At least, the albums that matter.
- Birdman (Naveed)
- Superman’s Dead (Clumsy)
- One Man Army (Happiness … Is Not a Fish That You Can Catch)
- Right Behind You (Mafia) (Spiritual Machines)
- All For You (Gravity)
- Angels/Losing/Sleep (Healthy in Paranoid Times)
Superman’s Dead is no different. In fact, it might be the song that they are known best for. Maida’s vocal presence is felt immediately on the album.
Things I’ve noticed about this tune:
- Turner knows how to create tension with rising bends.
- Taggert is a big fan of the snare drum.
- And Maida’s vocals can go from swirling hawk to pleading beagle within the distance of the transition from choral refrain to two bar acoustic bridge.
Automatic Flowers keeps the direction of Clumsy moving forward.
Left-to-right channel switching, with drumming that is nostalgic for Naveed’s Julia. Speaking of Julia, I know this is about Clumsy, but you should check out the piano version, it’s pretty great.
These automatic flowers won’t do!
Carnival pumps the brakes and makes sure you are paying attention. Raine’s lyrics sound directed toward someone, but feel like he is thinking aloud.
The song composition of Carnival is interesting. The raindrop tremolo of the verse opposes the tension-layered guitar work of the chorus. Speaking of the chorus, the guitar work feels frustrated by the cracks in the pavement.
Big Dumb Rocket
Hum intro. Intriguing.
Duncan Coutts’ undulating bass is the leader of the Big Dumb Rocket groove. Not to mention Turner’s unsettlingly wired approach to lead guitar lines.
Turner and Maida employ layers upon layers of Canadian guitar chords (not a real thing) on Big Dumb Rocket.
In the 90s, rock radio, WAAF included, described Maida’s vocals as being an instrument. Big Dumb Rocket is a clear example, allowing Raine to walk the song out in the final minute with a series of melodic runs.
4am hits you from the opening minor chord. It’s the song that the band lets the crowd sing at shows. It’s the midnight reflection of their entire catalogue.
The song is actually a good example of how to write without rhyming. And, the solo, rather, the bridge, or … I mean, it sounds like the solo and bridge are one and the same, seamlessly leading into the final pre-chorus.
A farewell song if there ever was one.
Shaking does just that with a straight jacket riff. It wouldn’t be weird for Shaking to have been on their debut album Naveed.
The am radio effect at 2:24 is always a class move.
Simple, yet elegant piano intro, followed by bongos and an acoustic guitar. Quite the departure from Shaking. Never really paid attention to the chorus guitar tremolo back in the day.
Raine’s lyrics, throughout the entire OLP discography, revolve around the future of humanity and our place in the world, on the grander scale, to the intimate pick-me-up of a song like Clumsy.
Despite it being a great song, I’m just glad I’ve never heard anyone doing clumsy at karaoke.
Oskar never knew what he liked, but I’d bet it’s a great bassline with some atmospheric feedback, if Hello Oskar is to be believed. The prominence of the bass guitar on Naveed and Clumsy eroded over the course of OLP album releases. You could say it wilted.
Fairly confident Hello Oskar would have made the cut on The Crow Soundtrack.
Let You Down
Let You Down represents the version of Our Lady Peace that walked out the door when Bob Rock showed up to produce Gravity. Shivering guitar went away, replaced by songs like Do You Like It and Sorry, decent songs in their own right, by a clear change in direction by the band.
Wax Ecstatic bends for the solo, quickly followed by Mike Turner influenced arpeggiated notes.
If Raine wasn’t in a rock band, he’d be a spastic, jerking hippie out of the meat throwing scene in PCU. Also, ever notice Taggert looks like one of the guys in Everyone Gets Laid who lived in the Pit?
Why? Because meat is murder!
The Story of 100 Aisles
I’m not exactly sure what the story is. Is it literal? Is it a metaphor for humanity being for sale?
It’s still a decent track. Early OLP loved huge drum fills that changed in attack. Thank Jeremy Taggert for that.
Car Crash, the bass and drum song that closes out Clumsy. Car Crash even sounds like the site of an accident.
Raine, like cowbell, we are going to need more falsetto!