Barenaked Ladies – Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits (1991-2001)

I pulled this CD off the pile and thought ‘yeah, well, this won’t take long. Everybody knows all of these songs anyway, so I can just whip something off and be done with it.’

As it turns out, this is not the case.

I have a loooong history with BNL. It goes back to Gordon, and a couple of crazy guys we knew in high school who played it for the rest of us kids who weren’t as hip as they were. They also spent stupidly high amounts of money on Oakley sunglasses, but that’s not likely related.

But it was because of them that I was a first-day buyer for Maybe You Should Drive, and went back and got Gordon straight away. I also own three Mint (M) copies of the band’s indie, yellow cassette they made in their basement. Am I a geek?

I was with them for a long time, even stood in line for a first-day release autographed copy of Stunt at 333 Yonge’s HMV, yet they lost me after Maroon. Why? I don’t blame them, not one bit. They do what they do. But my personal musical tastes had changed, dramatically, and they weren’t so much a part of my musical landscape after that. And Steven Page left, at some point. Whatever the reasons, it wasn’t the same without him.

I still love them. They’re like old friends. I toss on those old records and am transported back, and even now when I listen to them it inspires me to go and do something similar for myself, write some crazy songs and put them out there and see what happens… yeah. It hasn’t happened yet. But it might! Just you wait and see!

So, this disc. It collects a metric shit-ton of amazing tunes up to 2001. I’m a big, big fan of the early stuff, so a hits set like this is both a) right in my wheelhouse and b) redundant, since I know all the records inside and out. There’s lots of stuff that should’ve been included, but that’s true of every hits set. I do not envy anyone whose job it is to cull through a collection and make up a 1CD set of a band’s entire discography. I’d rather clean toilets. In bus stations. On the night shift. Without proper supplies.

So if I own the records, do I need this disc? Not really, except there’s a couple of new (at the time) tracks. It’s Only Me (The Wizard of Magicland) is a lifting pop/rock/new wave gem that could double as a TV show theme. And then there’s Thanks That Was Fun, a mid-tempo loper. The rhyming lyrics feel forced and something to be endured, to me, but the rest is really pretty great.

Also cool is the inclusion of a King Of The Hill soundtrack song (Get In Line), and the band’s cover of Lovers In A Dangerous Time, which had previously only ever been found on the tribute CD to Bruce Cockburn. On this CD, Brian Wilson and What a Good Boy (with its original outro, left off the album) are both from the Rock Spectacle live album. The rest are album tracks and they’re all solid fucking gold.

The liner notes are annotated by Steven Page himself, so you know they’re funny.

In Sum:

This was a total flashback listen for me. It was also absolutely and completely enjoyable. I do (usually) complain about live tracks on hits sets (I fucking hate it), but here it hardly matters, because we all know these songs in our hearts and minds anyway. It’s a snapshot of a period of my life, and I’ll proudly hang it in my locker.

16 thoughts on “Barenaked Ladies – Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits (1991-2001)

  1. Sarca says:

    There is no voice quite like Steven Page. BNL and Gordon were my top ten in 1992. Loved everything about them. Still have my copy with the weird cover, and still listen to those songs.

    Like

    1. keepsmealive says:

      Agreed, that voice is just supposed to be there. Alas. I have two copies of Gordon here, the goofy group shot photo, and the red, white and blue ball. I assume one’s the Canuck and the other’s from ‘Merica.

      Like

  2. mikeladano says:

    Seen ’em live in 96 with Sandbox opening. That’s right. Bubbles opened for Barenaked Ladies.

    Anyway I have a soft spot for their early music. I haven’t cared since this particular CD came out — this was my last moment of caring. I think it’s a great CD, as is their live album.

    These guys were smart, funny and talented and wrote catchy songs.

    I didn’t realize Page wrote the liner notes! (My sis has the CD not me). That’s one reason we love physical product!

    Like

    1. keepsmealive says:

      Sandbox! Man, I have their cassette in a box somewhere downstairs. I should dig that out. Bionic, something like that? Man that was a while ago.

      It’s funny, I’m still happy to hear them when their music comes on, and I don’t mind the new songs I hear. But I haven’t bought any albums in a long while. Maybe I should. Maybe I’ve been missing out on a world of awesome. Probably, knowing these guys.

      Page did write the liner notes, a little blurb or paragraph story for each song on the CD.

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      1. mikeladano says:

        Bionic, yup! A CD which is sitting over there to my right —-> on deck for a review.

        I love those kind of liner notes. I read them all. That’s the kind of thing that I specifically want in a compilation’s booklet.

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        1. keepsmealive says:

          The ol’ memory still works! And the song was… Curiosity? Something…

          The digital kids will miss out on the pleasure of liner notes. Now it’s all tweets or whatever.

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          1. mikeladano says:

            Close! It was Curious!

            Yes and although I’m on Twitter etc. there’s nothing of substance out there, unless you’re following George Takei. HE’s hilarious. Oh myyyyy.

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            1. keepsmealive says:

              Ah! I knew it was something like that… man it’s been ages. I need to dig that out!

              I’ve seen some Takei stuff, it looks clever, and I always think ‘good on him.’ He looks like he’s having fun.

              Meant to mention, the BNL has other liner notes too, somebody from the record label who helped break them big. Can’t remember his name and the CD’s all the way downstairs, but there’s another whole story in those notes too. It’s quite an excellent package, that way.

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  3. deKE says:

    Even though BNL aren’t my deal I do find em entertaining live. Also the fact that u followed me as well from day 1 is real cool….a true diehard u are fella! So yeah I respect that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. keepsmealive says:

      You know something, I’ve never seen them live. That’s kind of crazy, in retrospect. I’m sure they played a million times within 10 kilometers of wherever I was currently living, but I never went. Oversiiiiight! But I had all the records, and loved them. Oh yes.

      Haha yeah, a diehard, that’s me. Either that or I get stuck in a rut! Hahahaaaaa. As for your blog, you could probably say it’s all my fault and no jury in the world would disagree. Go Deke go! GIVE ‘ER!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. deKE says:

        I meant to,say you followed them(BNL) not me…damn iPad autocorrect! Hahaha….but I’m glad your following my blog! Fuck u probably were thinking I needed a ego boost this morning!
        Hahaha….

        Like

        1. keepsmealive says:

          Haha that’s awesome how it reads both ways. Well man, it works either for me. I was with BNL fairly early on, it’s true. Though never live, which the more I think about it sucks. Still, them and Moxy Fruvous and Corky and the Juice Pigs and Arrogant Worms… good times in the humour rawk!

          You need an ego boost, you just lemme know, right? 😉

          Liked by 1 person

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