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What's wrong with a knock-knock joke?

Verse Chorus Verse: Barenaked Ladies – “Adrift”

Barenaked Ladies' smartass antics probably helped endear them to audiences and put them on the map.  Those same antics have undoubtedly caused them problems with critics, music writers, and cultural snobs.  The irony is these open-minded gatekeepers and upstanding members of the cognoscenti often congratulate themselves for their ability to detect nuance and subtlety, yet they've missed (or dismissed) the same where Barenaked Ladies are concerned.

I'm not suggesting this former quintet (now quartet) write with a philosophical sophistication that shames Socrates, but not all their songs are jingles and knock-knock jokes.  Besides, what's so wrong with a knock-knock joke?

"Adrift" is a clever blend of tragedy and comedy with wordplay reminiscent of the Motown classic "The Way You Do The Things You Do" with a touch of Mother Goose.  Kurt Cobain had a great way with taking extreme opposites and using them to make a lyrical point.  Ed Robertson does the same thing with "Adrift."

ever since we said our goodbyes
the onion rings, the phone makes me cry
something isn't right
like the deep blue without a great white

The nursery rhyme verses blended with a somber melody and Robertson's quiet, melancholy, tender vocal create a sleepy lullaby to a relationship that has come to an end.  There are billions of breakup songs on record.  Most of them are overwrought and there's a place for that.  Life is filled with strong emotion and art should reflect that.  There's also a time to examine our wounds and scars without taking everything so fucking seriously.  "Adrift" is a child's song for grownups, or for grownups who know they still act like kids.

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