Various Artists

By Ben Hoffman

The theory: Aaah… Canadian content. Let’s stop the American cultural assimilation of Canada, and help foster burgeoning Canuck talent by requiring Canadian broadcasters to air a minimum quota of homegrown artists. Brilliant!

The Reality: An array of artists with skill levels ranging from excellent to completely talentless, all guaranteed by law to be so overplayed on commercial radio that the great unwashed hordes can no longer distinguish which is which. Add record companies eager to capitalize on any band with even a minor Canadian connection–even if only a Canadian producer–and you have what was in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, (and some might argue still is) the scam of Canadian content.

Now skip ahead 20 or 30 years and along comes When Cancon Rocked, an utterly blatant attempt to recapitalize on the original swindle. The formula is simple: buy the rights to any garbage tracks by as many obscure Cancon artists, though completely unknown today, who have achieved even the most minute success in the past. Label the tracks with misleading descriptions like “previously unreleased studio outtake,” or “rare studio recording,” slap a maple leaf on the cover and proudly pronounce it a celebration of all things Canadian!

The result, with contributions by such renowned Canadian supergroups as Goddo (made me cringe), Lennex (simply horrible), and Klaatu (Klaat-who?), is predictably fucking horrible. Add an original ’67 Guess Who recording of a bad Neil Young song, a live version of Honeymoon Suite’s early ’90s hit “Feel it Again,” and a guest appearance of Jeff Healy with some group called Wild T & the Spirit, and you have yourself one piece of unabashed crap.

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