Skip to main content

Although Vallance, left, shared songwriting credit with Bryan Adams, right, on such hits as Somebody and Run to You, the new Get Ahead is apparently not a co-write.Greg Allen/The Associated Press

The election writs have been issued, and so has a new song. For the federal election campaign, the Conservative Party of Canada has commissioned a stump tune from Jim Vallance, an Order of Canada songwriter, producer and arranger who has worked with Aerosmith, Bryan Adams and countless other major artists. The shouty, upbeat rocker for Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is Get Ahead, rigidly inspired by the party’s campaign slogan “It’s time for you to get ahead.” Although Vallance shared songwriting credit with Adams on such hits as Somebody and Run to You, the new Get Ahead is apparently not a co-write. More like a co-writ, one might say.

Get Ahead, no doubt to be played loudly when Scheer holds an election rally in the Ontario riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge on Wednesday, is not a “song” as we know it. It consists of a single looped passage, broken up by a bridge that just leads back to that refrain.

Canadian federal election guide: What you need to know before Oct. 21

The short, bursting track announces itself with choppy electric guitar chords reminiscent of the ones used on the Vallance-Adams hit Summer of ’69. A gang-bellow of “woh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh” and a drive-by party-starting yelp from a random female vocalist leads to a group-sung verse that forms an electoral message:

Brand new day, a better way

It’s time for you to get ahead

It’s your choice, let’s hear your voice

It’s time for you to get ahead

As an upbeat, populist call to arms, Get Ahead serves its purpose. It is simple, ruggedly built and impervious to misinterpretation. The producers, musicians and singers who recorded the song – in the key of E, the people’s key – are unknown.

One can view the line “It’s your choice, let’s hear your voice” as a declaration in favour of representative democracy. The resolving “It’s time for you to get ahead” is an allusion to frugal fiscal policy aimed at Scheer’s aim to “reduce the cost of living” for average-Joe Canadians. Perhaps Cuts Like a Knife was not available?

Though Get Ahead is being compared to previous Vallance-associated compositions, it hews closer to the classic-rock hollering of Motley Crue or Joan Jett. In particular, the latter’s I Hate Myself for Loving You, a hymn for the people who regret their passions even as they are in the middle of them.

In the past, political parties have employed previously recorded songs for campaign events. In 1993, for example, prime minister Kim Campbell and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada used Céline Dion’s dance-happy gospel cut Love Can Move Mountains. In the ensuing election, the ruling party was reduced to just two seats. Just a reminder that love cannot, in fact, alter geography, just as campaign songs do not necessarily move needles.