Barenaked Ladies - Barenaked Ladies Are Me
It’s expected for a band to mature over a 14 year career. As the Barenaked Ladies have gone on, their records have gotten less and less goofy, and the division between their joke songs and their serious songs has become less distinct. Still, even as recently as 2003's Everything to Everyone, you could tell when they were trying to get a laugh and when they really wanted you to sit up and pay attention. That distinction isn't there on the new album, Barenaked Ladies Are Me.
What there is instead is a collection of sombre, reflective songs that totally belie what we've come to expect from BNL. The clever, occasionally tongue-in-cheek lyrics are still there, but are used for cynicism more often than humour. It's also apparent that the Ladies are obsessed with age and mortality, as on 'Everything Had Changed': "On the path of life I wish you well / divergent journeys, but we will meet again in hell / I kept my head down and moved on / 'til every friend I'd known was gone."
If there's a positive to be taken from this, it's that BNL's actual ability as songwriters has always been overshadowed by their designation as a joke band - a label that has incited many arguments over the years. Are Me should allow listeners to appreciate the craftsmanship of the songs, even though it's a long way from their most interesting work.
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