While listening to Gord Downie’s sixth (and sadly, last) solo album Introduce Yerself, I wrestled with a question: whether or not he knew this release would coincide perfectly with his cancer diagnosis and death at age 53.
After listening to the posthumous 23-track compendium in its entirety, I realized it didn’t matter. Much like his 2016 release Secret Path, Introduce Yerself is unmistakably Gord, open and universally raw. It’s a farewell, filled with love letters to past lovers, stories among friends, and odes to his family. Every song focuses on a person that touched Downie in a unique way throughout his career and life.
To Gord, this was all of us, his listeners. Sure, his lyrics are sometimes specific, but you can listen to any song on Introduce Yerself and immediately find something to relate to.
The opening track “First Person” echoes the words “goodbye,” over a quiet piano with Downie’s voice leading the song. It’s clearly about Downie’s slowly eroding memory and it slowly burns into your mind.
“Safe Is Dead,” stands out as a peculiarly dark, but powerful track. Slowly, Downie’s poetic verse trickles in and you’re lost in the trance.
The pop-rock ballad “Love Over Money,” is an obvious salute to his Tragically Hip bandmates with the lyrics being an example describing Downie’s immortal writing style—affectionate and sombre, but cryptically playful.
The final track “The North,” has Downie singing in a lower register to his Indigenous brothers and sisters that gave his life a revived meaning before his untimely death.
Introduce Yerself is another gift Downie has given us and like all his work, we can use it to remember and immortalize his name so he’s never truly gone.