By: Emily J Ramey
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Barenaked Ladies was one of my generation’s coming-into-our-own type bands – music we started listening to in middle school and high school beyond our parents’ collection. As a child of the late 80s and early 90s, I grew up sitting in front of my stereo, studying the album inserts of 1996’s Born on a Pirate Ship and 1998’s Stunt, learning all the words to “One Week,” “The Old Apartment,” “Brian Wilson,” and “Be My Yoko Ono.” My friends and I loved that Barenaked Ladies had the capability of being meaningful but were mostly just goofy.
I was therefore understandably surprised when I popped in this year’s All in Good Time and out poured melodic, well-produced alternative rock. The title implies that the band, famed for their twists of novelty and humor, newly restructured with the departure of songwriter Steven Page, took their time on this album, preparing (dare I?) their masterpiece collection of solid, serious lyrical gems, and bravo, I say. BNL is back.
The first few notes of All in Good Time is all you need hear to detect the shift, but I highly suggest sticking around for a few more. With lyrics like, “I tried, but you tried harder/I lied, but you lied smarter/You made me guess; who was it?/I did my best, but it wasn’t enough,” the single “You Run Away,” is inspired and bittersweet, beginning with a few ringing piano notes and building up to a robust crescendo and fiercely harmonized finish. The epic “Summertime” somehow coherently alternates between swoony barbershop harmonies and blazing electric guitar surges, eventually blending the two into a doo-wop groove with lots of raging waa pedal and buzzing psychedelic keys harmonies. I wouldn’t have really believed All in Good Time was a Barenaked Ladies album if not for “Four Seconds,” which sounds exactly how I think a jazzy pirate circus would sound (yes, you read that correctly; wait ‘til you hear it to judge).
All in Good Time is awesome (forgive me, it’s the word I’ve always used to describe BNL, and I think my 9th grade vocabulary still applies here). Barenaked Ladies has matured with its fans over the years; we’ve grown up, but fortunately for us, BNL has gotten better with age. In fact, the only downside I see to this remarkable reemergence is that I couldn’t ask my dad for $20 to buy the new album like I used to. I assure you though; it’s worth spending your own money on this one.
Emily J Ramey is a burgeoning young music writer, living and working in Nashville, TN. Her background includes journalism classes at New York University and a Music Business degree from Belmont University. Check out her blog at listenerextraordinaire.wordpress.com.
SoundEmerge is a revolutionary social networking community that American Music Channel has created as a connection point for music fans, a platform for artists and songwriters to advance and develop their careers, and a deep well of information to assist the industry professional with networking, developing alliances, and promoting their craft, at a unique and all-encompassing location.