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Music Review: Barenaked Ladies Are Me – Barenaked Ladies

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Though the Barenaked Ladies have garnered the majority of their stateside success on the laurels of their goofy, radio-friendly pop tracks, true fans of the eclectic Canadian rockers know enough to appreciate the quieter songs like "Call and Answer" and "What a Good Boy" while still remaining ever-ready to rock out to "One Week." The Ladies' newest effort, Barenaked Ladies Are Me, offers more of those introspective moments, and while most of it is a pleasure for longtime followers, there isn't enough rock left over to pull the individually decent songs into a cohesive album.

Are Me's opener, "Adrift," is a call back to the band's earliest material, matching smart lyrics with sweet harmonies. Following it is "Bank Job," a good bit of storytelling set against inventive instrumentation. "Sound of Your Voice," a Queen-like ballad of yearning, is strong enough to make it to the radio as a single. The classic "Easy" has, well, easily stepped up in its first-single role and the closing "Wind it Up" is already lined up for release soon.

After these first few track, and the solid "Bull in a China Shop," though, the album dissolves into a lull. "Peterborough and the Kawarthas," written and performed by bassist Jim Creegan, is a sweet number, but if you never thought you'd be complaining about a BNL song that didn't make any sense, you might find yourself doing just that. Keyboardist Kevin Hearn, whose voice diehards will remember from the hidden track on Maroon, sings the spacey but forgettable "Vanishing."

Maybe Steven Page left all his harder rocking behind when he recorded his solo The Vanity Project, and maybe the Ladies' music has aged along with their social awareness, but there's something missing from Are Me and its bonus disc, which I won't cover here because it's not yet available to those who didn't pre-order the album or get it as a "Deluxe Edition."

Each of the songs is enjoyable, and there's time yet for the album to win listeners' hearts (as I remember Everything to Everyone doing to me after the fourth or fifth time through), but the fact that this new album doesn't impress right away is a disappointment. The Ladies will always be good, but for now, they fall just short of great this time around.

Rating:

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About Jeff Martin

  • http://www.butterflyfiction.com/journal/ Connie Phillips

    This article has been placed at the Advance.net websites, a site affiliated with about 12 newspapers.

    One such site is here.

  • http://moviehawk.net Jeff Martin

    Wow…that’s…staggering. Thanks for the heads-up.

  • Rob

    Agreed, It just doesnt do it for me either…

  • Stev

    I purchased the album the day it came out, and I’ll admit, I was not impressed at first. But, this is my thrid or fourth time through it and I’m really appreciating it now. I don’t think it’s as good as past efforts, but definately good enough. I’m really enjoying it.

  • Mike

    Well stated. Certainly more mature then anything previously. Sound of your Voice is the stand out for me. Certainly their album work should not be the only critique. They put on teriffic shows.

  • http://www.musicemissions.com Music Critic

    I didn’t care for the album but one of our reviewers sure did. Read his review here.