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You Could Like: Barenaked Ladies

On Saturday July 20, I ‘ll be meeting up with Popdose colleague and Platters That Matter cohort Chris Holmes to see Ben Folds Five. It will be at the storied PNC Arts Center, once the Garden State Arts Center (don’t get me started on that). The BF5 are part of a package tour toplined by Canada’s Barenaked Ladies called Last Tour On Earth. The band Guster will also be there.

Let me say up front that I was not, as of maybe one year ago, the best person to write a “You Could Like” column about Barenaked Ladies. The best candidate would have been Mellowmas survivor Jason Hare, a longtime fan and defender of the Nekkids. I, on the other hand, owned the album Maroon for about one white-hot minute before I turned it back around on Half.com. The theme song to The Big Bang Theory makes me violent, or at the least, uncomfortably gastric. When Steven Page left the group, I don’t think I could have cared less.

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Then I gave them a second chance. The gateway was this very concert I’m poised to attend. What a waste of time it would have been to go if I couldn’t find anything to appreciate by the group. So I bought some used discs, one of which was Maroon again. And I’m pleased to announce that I’ve gotten over my hostilities and truly enjoy the group’s music…except for “One Week.” I’ll never be able to listen to that song without my eyeballs scraping sparks in their sockets from all the rolling.

Strangely, one of the songs that I’ve appreciated the most is “Another Postcard” from the vastly underrated Everything To Everyone disc. Again, there’s Ed Robertson doing the freestyle thing in mostly nonsensical fashion, but at the core the song feels more like a “kindie” track. The group would later record a full effort of kids-ish songs, so I consider the tune a sort of dry run for that. The rest of Everything To Everyone has plenty of good songs and indelible moments to commend it. “War On Drugs” is a ridiculously powerful song that defies the band’s long-assumed goofiness.

The group’s second post-Page album — and I’m afraid that tagline is going to get affixed to them for a long time to come — is called Grinning Streak. It is growing on me, but it was a slow mover. Now finding himself as the true frontman, Ed Robertson is intent on proving Barenaked Ladies is a serious effort, in full defiance of the reputation they had previously. For the most part, it works.

Included here is a mix of the band’s tracks that got me over the hurdle, one of which is a cover of “Lovers In A Dangerous Time,” originally by all-around genius Bruce Cockburn. Enjoy, and feel free to let us know what your favorites are via the comments box below.

http://grooveshark.com/playlist/You+Could+Like+Barenaked+Ladies/88601905

 

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