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Haven't You Always Wanted a Monk-EY?!
September 17, 2010 7:26 PM   Subscribe

The Barenaked Ladies perform their perennial favorite "If I Had $1000000" (originally composed as a call-and-response when they were camp counselors) – but this time, things get weeeeeeeeeeeeeird (slyt).
posted by WCityMike (101 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
And to make it particularly non sequitur-ly delightful, there's a minor tribute to a college friend of mine in the very final seconds of the video. :)
posted by WCityMike at 7:31 PM on September 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


The "if I had a million lobsters" reference, by the way, is a reference to Owen & Gerry's parody of the song.
posted by WCityMike at 7:37 PM on September 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


As much as I love BNL, they lost the soul of the group when Steven Page left. Yes my favorite band sucks now.
posted by wheelieman at 7:39 PM on September 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


Thanks, Mike. It's been a long, stressful day, and that's exactly what I needed. Wonderful.
posted by EarBucket at 7:40 PM on September 17, 2010


Love the Ladies! I can tell the video is not from Canada because the Kraft Dinner box says Macaroni and Cheese!

Nice "Clue" in the final seconds too!
posted by acheekymonkey at 7:44 PM on September 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


CANADIAFILTER
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:50 PM on September 17, 2010


Ok Bean filter:

Al doesn't do an actual accordion solo, he just plays the melody, which is fine, I just wanted so much more! Also in this video you cant really see Al, but in this one, you can.
posted by wheelieman at 7:55 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bluegrass version that the band also was performing is pretty darn enjoyable, too, even without Unusual Alan's contributions. :)
posted by WCityMike at 7:56 PM on September 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Argh, sorry, that was their bluegrass "One Week" – they've not done a bluegrass "$1000000". (Long day, like EarBucket's.)
posted by WCityMike at 7:57 PM on September 17, 2010


This is the most 90s thing I've seen all week.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:02 PM on September 17, 2010


While I know there are many people that enjoy this band, I do not. But I made sure to send this link to the only two people I know that enjoy this band, or admit to it.

This may have converted me. Al is the man.
posted by brando_calrissian at 8:03 PM on September 17, 2010


And I'm sure you've heard Morgan Freeman's "One Week" cover?
posted by WCityMike at 8:06 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


That, that random box of Macaroni & Cheese was weird. What's up with that?

Oh by the way, anybody know who that accordion player was?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:07 PM on September 17, 2010


Excellent use of the "had" tag.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:08 PM on September 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Where's the 'a' tag?
posted by jimmythefish at 8:17 PM on September 17, 2010


This is why I love Steven Page.
posted by keli at 8:19 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are few songs that make me cringe more to hear than the million dollar song. Barf.
posted by tybeet at 8:26 PM on September 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


If I had a million dollars, I'd use it to buy back the 5 minutes I spent watching that video before I bailed.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:34 PM on September 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


The footage of Weird Al makes Bigfoot videos look like they were shot by Errol Morris.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:36 PM on September 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


When I was in university there was this funny/weird guy who always sat next to me in film class--we really clicked regarding movies. It was a small class and everyone got to know one another and the guy announces that his band has regular gigs downtown on Monday nights at a place called Ultrasound. Everyone sorta half heartedly said they'd like to make it down but nobody did.

One day he hands me this pink tape saying they'd just recorded the stuff. So, I put it in my walkman on the bus ride home. It was mostly covers--Material Girl was one. When Doves Cry was another. There was a song about a skinhead with a hearing aid and... I don't recall what all else was on it but it was solid throughout. So I go check them out live and man did they put on a good show.

I lost track of the guy after that class but a year later I'm working in a record store in Toronto and we get in this yellow tape with a sandwich on it and it's by his band, Barenaked Ladies. Thing just flew off the shelves. I think it's the only self-released title in Canadian history to sell over 100,000 copies (and all of them on cassette!). They don't make music I care for too much anymore, but I'll always remember Ed Robertson fondly. Helluva nice guy.
posted by dobbs at 8:47 PM on September 17, 2010 [34 favorites]


The Wikipedia entry on the song is surprisingly extensive.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:06 PM on September 17, 2010


just my opinion of course, but BNL have made exactly one truly great song in their career (though to be fair I've never owned an album, but being Canadian I've certainly been subjected to a lot of their music) : Brian Wilson

anyways, this video just makes me wish for a live performance of that song where Weird Al comes out unannounced when they go in to that James Bond-ish finale. In my head I hear it as the accordion and the stand-up bass doing a solo trade-off, and, yeah, in my head it sounds wonderful.

Ladies, Al, if you're reading this ... feel free to take my idea and turn it into a reality.
posted by mannequito at 9:08 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


For a period of time, back in the early 90s when the band was just getting popular, by some sort of slacker coincidence I wore the same goofy clothes (baggy t-shirts, shorts) and had the same glasses and had the same stupid hair and was kind of big and chubby, it seems as though I resembled Steven Page, and so at least once a day people would ask me "Are you in the Barenaked Ladies"????

And I have never ever been able to listen to that fucking band, ever. Never ever ever.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:13 PM on September 17, 2010


There are few songs that make me cringe more to hear than the million dollar song. Barf.

As I recall, there's a line in the song where he says, "if I had a million dollars, I'd buy you a fur coat .... but not a real fur coat, that's cruel."

This made me go out and buy the cheapest leather jacket I could find. Something simply had to die.
posted by philip-random at 9:30 PM on September 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


This made me go out and buy the cheapest leather jacket I could find. Something simply had to die.

Nothing died for your leather jacket. Something may have died for a hamburger, and then its skin was used for your jacket, but, nope.

So, basically, what I'm saying is that you have still got some killing to do.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:43 PM on September 17, 2010 [16 favorites]


I'm making chicken soup right now. Does that count?
posted by philip-random at 9:44 PM on September 17, 2010


Mrs Unsane's best friend used to go out with the bass player, Jim, who is a hell of a nice fellow. I saw the the first time at the Keg at Guelph Uni in about 1990-91, and they were the most prodigiously talented bunch of musicians I'd ever come across. They were one of those bands who clearly had the world at their feet. I think I saw them again in London (UK) the next year and it was starting to look a bit like a job. Now it really, really looks like a job, weird Al notwithstanding.
posted by unSane at 9:47 PM on September 17, 2010


Just chiming in to be pedantic. A post with more than one link is, by definition, NOT a SLYT.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:51 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


[insert reason why I can't stand to listen to this band, or why I can't stop listening to this band, here]
posted by davejay at 9:54 PM on September 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


SYTLP?
posted by lumensimus at 9:54 PM on September 17, 2010


who is a hell of a nice fellow

You see, that's the problem. They somehow got confused with a serious pop band that mattered by way too many people (including themselves), and you just can't pull that kind stuff off by being nice.

For the record, I once found myself at a dead dull showbiz reception type event and who should be standing next to me (looking at least as bored as I was) but Steven Page (who, for the record is actually thinner in real life, even way back then in 1993). Anyway, we got to talking and he was definitely a hell of a nice fellow. Didn't offer any cocaine or anything, just commiserated with me about the soul-destroying boredom and bullshit inherent in pretty much any gathering of showbiz types.
posted by philip-random at 10:04 PM on September 17, 2010


I wore the same goofy clothes (baggy t-shirts, shorts) and had the same glasses and had the same stupid hair and was kind of big and chubby, it seems as though I resembled Steven Page, and so at least once a day people would ask me "Are you in the Barenaked Ladies"????

Oh God, me too - though I did like the band.

It finally stopped after I got my hair cut. And then everyone called me Drew Carey.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:12 PM on September 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


And then everyone called me Drew Carey.

Someone remarked that I looked like Drew Carey... on my wedding day.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:27 PM on September 17, 2010


They somehow got confused with a serious pop band that mattered by way too many people (including themselves), and you just can't pull that kind stuff off by being nice.

That's pretty much exactly it. They turned out to be the Wiggles for adults.
posted by unSane at 10:28 PM on September 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


Someone remarked that I looked like Drew Carey... on my wedding day.

At least they didn't say Mimi Bobek.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:30 PM on September 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


I used to be confused with Rick Astley. Even by my girlfriend.
posted by unSane at 10:30 PM on September 17, 2010


I just like what I like. And I like this song. It's happy, and I need happy right now. You know you have a good song when little kids are dancing around the front of the stage.
posted by wv kay in ga at 10:33 PM on September 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


I used to be confused with Rick Astley. Even by my girlfriend.

And then you gave her up?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:36 PM on September 17, 2010 [11 favorites]


We were not together, forever.
posted by unSane at 10:39 PM on September 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


!

I read once somewhere that Barenaked Ladies would occasionally respond to Freebird hecklers at their live shows by singing the lyrics of Freebird... to the tune of If I Had a Million Dollars.

I would give just about anything for an MP3 of that.

I'd give only slightly less for an MP3 of Da Vinci's Notebook's rendition of Bob Dylan Falling Down a Well.
posted by The Confessor at 10:40 PM on September 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know you have a good song when little kids are dancing around the front of the stage.

I'm pretty sure my 17-month old would dance to the Wiggles feat. Leo Sayer. He would also need therapy for the rest of his life.
posted by unSane at 10:43 PM on September 17, 2010


Aw man, if we've got to bring Leo Sayer into this conversation, it has to be thoughthis.
posted by Ruki at 10:52 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Insert a space above, of course.
posted by Ruki at 10:52 PM on September 17, 2010


I have this theory that the Barenaked Ladies play music for people who don't like music very much. They're very proficient musicians and the lyrics are clever. But there's just nothing there. They don't really move you to dance or even really sway. There's very little emotion invoked. In short, most of the things that music does is weirdly absent. Sure, it's nice enough to listen to in its way, but not in the same way that music is nice to listen to. It's like the uncanny valley of music.
posted by stoneweaver at 11:00 PM on September 17, 2010 [16 favorites]


Thanks, unSane. That made me happy as well. I've got my neon bellbottoms on and I'm dancin, dancin.....
posted by wv kay in ga at 11:01 PM on September 17, 2010


Aw man, if we've got to bring Leo Sayer into this conversation, it has to be thoughthis.

Holy shit, I just discovered where Lady Gaga got her inspiration for the Bad Romance video.
posted by Dasein at 11:11 PM on September 17, 2010


I have this theory that the Barenaked Ladies play music for people who don't like music very much.

No, you're thinking of jazz.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:13 PM on September 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


I have this theory that the Barenaked Ladies play music for people who don't like music very much.

No, you're thinking of jazz.


I always thought that was Bryan Adams.
posted by philip-random at 11:14 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


If TBNL are Wiggles for adults, what are The Arrogant Worms?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:27 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


dobbs: my first-year film school class had a dude and his friends passing out shirts for his band begging us to come to his shows.

The band was called The Strokes.

I feel like we should have some cameraderie on this, or something.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:27 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


This thread is so mean-spirited that it's only appropriate I throw this in.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:34 PM on September 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've never been a fan of BNL, but I will say "The Old Apartment" is absolutely the best thing they ever did. I wish they'd explored the path that led them to that song, rather than the cute bullshit they've milked for years and years.
posted by davebush at 11:36 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


This was delightful. The little kids bopping around in the front row was adorable, too. I think this was around when they were promoting Snacktime.

Speaking of, I have been going crazy trying to find an instrumental version of "Crazy ABC's" with no luck. :(
posted by ShawnStruck at 11:37 PM on September 17, 2010


Like mannequito said, Brian Wilson is an amazing song. If I Had a Million Dollars always makes me want to claw my eardrums out, though.
posted by kate blank at 11:45 PM on September 17, 2010


Oh, onefellswoop, I added that Leo Sayer/muppet link out of love! And from there, I watched Roger Miller on the Muppet Show and went on a fantastic YouTube journey. Mimes, though, scare the shit out of me.
posted by Ruki at 12:04 AM on September 18, 2010


All you haters are amusing in a pathetic way. I liked the song, but then, I like They Might Be Giants, too.

The Old Apartment is some dark shit.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 12:06 AM on September 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Brian Wilson
(Be My) Yoko Ono
What A Good Boy
The Old Apartment
Enid
Upside Down
The War On Drugs
Grade 9
If I Had A Million Dollars
It's All Been Done

Suck it, haters.
posted by cerulgalactus at 12:25 AM on September 18, 2010 [11 favorites]


I liked the song, but then, I like They Might Be Giants, too

Please don't drag TMBG into association with this bland-beyond-all-imagining pabulum.
posted by anazgnos at 12:56 AM on September 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't know, "Call and Answer" is a song with tremendous emotional depth, at least to my ear. And, as others have said, "Old Apartment?" I mean, dude, there's some deep anger there. Great track.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:21 AM on September 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


This is the most 90s thing I've seen all week.

Everytime I see someone call something 90s (grunge excepted, I suppose), a little something* dies in me. Then I remember that time I watched the fourth Alien Alien movie, which was so identifiably 90s it hurt, and I have to change my tune. I still have a few months before people start calling this and that "so 00s" and I suppose I'd better go out for a walk and some coffee. Hm, unless this 00s thing is going to be about District 9 and Primer and not about rickrolling and Chuck Norris facts.
posted by ersatz at 3:59 AM on September 18, 2010


The song and the band were somewhat meh, but that If I had a Million Flavours ice cream sounds really yummy.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:05 AM on September 18, 2010


I'm a little surprised none of the BNL-defenders have mentioned The Flag, which is an amazing and completely un-stereotypical BNL song. Back when I was a big BNL fan I often wished they'd make another The Flag, but they never really did.
posted by valrus at 4:24 AM on September 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Uh, where was the Weird Al part?
posted by thinkpiece at 5:37 AM on September 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was a huge BNL fan for much of the late 90s and for all of the haters who say that there's no substance, listen to Gordon or Maybe You Should Drive before saying that. That said, they are exceptionally nice guys and DAMN, I miss Steve Page.
posted by youcancallmeal at 5:54 AM on September 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can tell the video is not from Canada because the Kraft Dinner box says Macaroni and Cheese!

I think it's The Grove, in LA. It could be another open-air shopping mall, but it sure looks like The Grove.
posted by palliser at 6:45 AM on September 18, 2010


They don't have $1,000,000 yet?
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:18 AM on September 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have four BNL songs on my player -- $1000000, of course, The Old Apartment, which is brilliant, One Week and Too Little Too Late. I'm not a big fan but these were all big radio hits so I collected them.

I can't speak about the rest of their music but I find all four of these songs (and especially Apartment, as Jimmy Havok mentions) to be very bleak. They are all about the shallowness with which stupid people face difficult life challenges when they are so stupid they don't even realize how stupid they are.

BNL draw the funny from the totally inappropriate ways in which the narrators prioritize and face challenges we all recognize, but it's a dark humor because someone who really acts like this is ultimately doomed. And they're probably so stupid you couldn't even explain it to them if you had a chance. All of this is in there between the lines, and it's a very clever thing but not maybe something you can pull off every time.
posted by localroger at 7:29 AM on September 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


If I had a million dollars I could buy 1,033,400 Canadian dollars.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:51 AM on September 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


No, no, no, no...

Jazz is produced by people who LOVE music. They have consumed, and played, so much music that it's coming out of their ears and fingertips. They've played so much music that it's hard for them to find music they're not bored with. They're analytical enough that they can actually change every chord to the m6(9)12th version of that chord, and leave off the melody line altogether, and STILL recognize that the original head was "It Could Happen to You."

And then everyone hates it.
posted by randomkeystrike at 8:01 AM on September 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


This song reminds me of good times with good friends. I enjoyed it. Thanks for the link.
posted by Fleebnork at 8:04 AM on September 18, 2010


So much hate in a Bare Naked Ladies thread! Well I for one thoroughly enjoyed that.
posted by bloody_bonnie at 8:19 AM on September 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Confessor: "I'd give only slightly less for an MP3 of Da Vinci's Notebook's rendition of Bob Dylan Falling Down a Well.
"

How bout, instead, you give Da Vinci's Notebook members Paul and Storm 99 cents for Bob Dylan Falling Down a Well and send the rest of the million to me?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:36 AM on September 18, 2010


It seems like people who have not actually listened to much Barenaked Ladies tend to think of them as a novelty group - which makes sense, since the only songs of theirs that end up getting played on the radio are funny novelty songs. One frustrating result of this is that, every time they release a new album, I end up reading a bunch of reviews that say "Oh my God, it's a serious ballad - the Barenaked Ladies have grown up! They're not a silly novelty band anymore!" Like they haven't been doing serious work since 1988.

For everyone who's only heard "One Week" and "If I Had a Million Dollars" and then write off BNL as a slick novelty band, go download these songs and then come back and tell me that BNL lacks depth:

"The Flag"
"You Will Be Waiting"
"Everything Old is New Again"
"Am I the Only One?"
"Great Provider"
"When I Fall"
"Break Your Heart"
"Call and Answer"
"Told You So"
"Helicopters"
"For You"
"War on Drugs"

If you don't have a lot of time or patience, you can start with "Am I the Only One?" and "War on Drugs," then move on to the others once you've realized it's not going to be a slog through Muzak.
posted by Anyamatopoeia at 8:37 AM on September 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


There's very little emotion invoked.

No emotion at all
posted by shinynewnick at 8:43 AM on September 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am surprised by the hate.
posted by tommasz at 9:06 AM on September 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Barenaked Ladies have done some solid stuff. They have a tendency to tackle really solid and often cynical lyrics without OMG SERIOUS MUSIC VIOLINS SADNESS! which is a good thing. Some of my favorite lyrical moments of theirs in no order:


1. Call and Answer, good, but somewhat predictable make up after a break-up song until it gets to this part:

I'm warning you, don't ever do
Those crazy messed up things that you do
If you ever do, I promise you
I'll be the first to crucify you
It's time to prove that you've come back here
To rebuild


2. Tonight is the Night I Fell Asleep At the Wheel, which sounds a bit like circus music:

No commotion, no screaming brakes
Most of it's over before I awake
From the ceiling, my coffee cup drips
While out my window, the horizon does flips
The worst part was hitting the ground -
Not the feeling so much as the sound


3. Light Up My Room, which is a perfect song as far as I'm concerned

Late at night when the wires in the walls
Sing in tune with the din of the falls
I'm conducting it all while I sleep
To light this whole town


4. When You Dream, a song about a newborn baby

His fontanelle pulses with lives that he's lived
With memories he'll learn to ignore
And when it is closed, he already knows
he's forgotten all he knew before
But when sleep sets in
history begins
But the future will win


6. I'll Be That Girl, one of two songs narrated by someone homicidal

I'll be that girl - and you would be right over
If I were a field, you would be in clover
If I were the sun, you would be in shadow
And if I had a gun, there'd be no tomorrow

posted by the young rope-rider at 9:08 AM on September 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


the young rope-rider: I'm so glad you referenced "Light Up My Room" - I thought about putting that on the list, but decided against it because it wasn't particularly emotional. But it's the single most brilliant environmentalist song I've ever heard: BNL makes the point about how we ignore the pollution all around us by writing a love ballad that casually mentions things like foamy creeks, tire fires, electric charges running through everything... Unfortunately, it's perhaps too subtle for its own good, as most people seem to ignore the verses and think of it just as a pretty love song.

"Tonight is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel" is another great one. I love the different meanings of the sentence "You're the last thing on my mind" at the beginning and end of the song.
posted by Anyamatopoeia at 9:33 AM on September 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love BNL and their show at the Saddledome a few years back was one of the funnest concert experiences I've ever had.

Stephen Page is actually a pretty delightful solo performer and his workshop with Sara Harmer at last year's Calgary Folk Fest was really quite magical. But this is the thing- the Ladies' most recent album? Without Stephen? Is awesome.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:47 AM on September 18, 2010


Also- any video of BNL flashing to a shot of "Kraft Macaroni and Cheese [sic]," "original FLAVOR [sic]" is just a filthy thing. If you want to get a fucking box signed, come to Canada and get a box of fucking KRAFT DINNER or have one shipped to you. This is like going to Rocky Horror and throwing croissants at the screen. Sacrilege.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:51 AM on September 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Said friend pointed out that the BNL worked in a rather more substantial reference into "Pinch Me". Look at the outfits of the whole damn dance chorus ...
posted by WCityMike at 9:55 AM on September 18, 2010


I'm surprised "Wrap Your Arms Around Me" isn't on the Serious list.

"I put my hands around your neck/You wrap your arms around me." That's the chorus.

Along with "The Flag" (the only song I've ever heard that perfectly captures the ennui of the GO Train), "Brian Wilson," and "What a Good Boy," it's what keeps Gordon from slipping too far into full-on goofball shtick. (Hell--even the subtext of "If I Had $1000000" is about the desperation of unrequited love.) And the production on that album is amazing. Seriously. Even if you absolutely despise BNL to the very depths of your soul (trust me, I hear you), it's worth a listen.

Also, their cover of Bruce Cockburn's "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" is fucking brilliant.

They really only turned superbland when Andy Creeggan left. Steven Page leaving is just the capper.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:26 PM on September 18, 2010


Part of the problem here, as I understand it, is that in the US you have "novelty bands" and real bands, and they are different things. In Canada, lots of bands do cute funny songs but also do "real", serious music. So no one would say, "oh look how they've grown up." Moxy Fruvous can do Green Eggs and Ham and also The Gulf War Song, among others, and that's not a strange thing here. (I cannot vouch for the videos attached to these songs.) The Barenaked Ladies seem to have been plagued with this problem when moving into the US market, because they have a few songs that would be classed as "novelty", but they are not a novelty act at all.

Granted we also have Corky and the Juice Pigs, but they're comedians first.
posted by Hildegarde at 1:06 PM on September 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ya, "Wrap Your Arms Around Me" is the other song that is potentially homicidal. Seems like it is from the perspective of an abuser, along with "The Flag". Quite a dark pair of songs, both about choking a loved one. Eek.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:20 PM on September 18, 2010


ok, yeah, I forgot about their Lovers in a Dangerous Time cover (disappointed I can't find the actual music video, which was black and white and nicely melancholy and reallllllly reminds me of growing up in Toronto)

oh well.
posted by mannequito at 2:04 PM on September 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is like going to Rocky Horror and throwing croissants at the screen. Sacrilege.

A friend of mine grew up on the US side of Niagara Falls and remembers hearing BNL first get major radio play on CFNY (the Spirit of Radio!) in the early 90s and saw them live when the Throwing of the Kraft Dinners was a major thing.

During the salvo, one of the band (this is the worst part of second-hand stories; I never remembered who she said it was) picked up a thrown box, looked at it, and said "Wait a minute. This isn't even Kraft Dinner, it's Tops Friendly Markets Macaroni and Cheese! Who's the cheapskate?"

I hope this moment (or perhaps a similar moment; seems like it could happen often onstage) has made it onto at least one bootleg.
posted by Spatch at 2:05 PM on September 18, 2010


Honestly, the only BNL album I like is _Maroon_, which I think is a great record.... but apparently no one agrees with me. I remember reading it was the lowest-selling BNL record and one hated by just about everybody.

I'm guessing they felt kinda spanked by it, because I thought the followup record, Everything To Everybody, was just fucking dire. Like they decided to go full on into self-parody.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 2:05 PM on September 18, 2010


I liked both Maroon and Everything to Everyone, so I have no idea what anybody is talking about.
posted by Anyamatopoeia at 2:57 PM on September 18, 2010


Yeah, I loved Maroon!

Pinch Me is one of the best sitting around, unemployed, doing not a whole lot songs EVER. I could leave but I'll just stay/All my stuff's here anyway...
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:52 PM on September 18, 2010


Granted we also have Corky and the Juice Pigs , but they're comedians first.

We need more Sean Cullen in our lives.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:02 PM on September 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


They're very proficient musicians and the lyrics are clever. But there's just nothing there. They don't really move you to dance or even really sway. There's very little emotion invoked. In short, most of the things that music does is weirdly absent. Sure, it's nice enough to listen to in its way, but not in the same way that music is nice to listen to. It's like the uncanny valley of music.

This statement could describe a lot of Canadian music, although it has gotten better in recent years.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:06 PM on September 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I read once somewhere that Barenaked Ladies would occasionally respond to Freebird hecklers at their live shows by singing the lyrics of Freebird... to the tune of If I Had a Million Dollars.


ok, yeah, I forgot about their Lovers in a Dangerous Time cover (disappointed I can't find the actual music video, which was black and white and nicely melancholy and reallllllly reminds me of growing up in Toronto)

They did painfully earnest version of "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" for a Bruce Cockburn tribute album. I always figured they missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do Cockburn's "If I Had a Rocket Launcher" to the tune of "If I Had $1000000".

Although I cannot locate the quote now, I recall reading an interview with Cockburn in which he said that although he liked the musicality of BNL, their rendition of his song demonstrated everthing that was wrong with folk music in the sixties.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:23 PM on September 18, 2010


This statement could describe a lot of Canadian music, although it has gotten better in recent years.

To include The Most Serene Republic , to be sure.
posted by Artichoke Dance Off!! at 5:46 PM on September 18, 2010


I worked in this office in northern california for 2 years and they'd always have this one god awful radio on, with like a 15-song playlist, just repeating over and over until you wanted to throw up, and I'd never heard of the BNL but this was 1 of the 15 songs and it sounds like somebody's not-so-funny-grandfather and his best buddy, so yeah count me as one of the haters.
posted by signal at 8:35 PM on September 18, 2010


They invite Weird Al up on stage, then the video shows some guy running away, then they start the song. So I figure Weird Al didn't like being called out like that, and just ran away Weird Al style, right?

Naturally, I'm now watching the entire video expecting Weird Al to bust through the crowd and take out those little kids dancing in front of the stage. Turns out he was on stage the whole time, and nothing else happened.

I don't understand the world anymore.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 9:45 PM on September 18, 2010


I'm sort of confused, because this was not funny or enjoyable in any way.
posted by thejoshu at 6:32 AM on September 19, 2010


You are not confused.
posted by unSane at 6:46 AM on September 19, 2010


I'm sort of confused, because this was not funny or enjoyable in any way.

The thing is, you either like cute, or you don't. Actually, I love it when it's confined to small children, pussy cats, puppy dogs, bunny rabbits etc. I just HATE it when it comes to adults and the Bare Naked Ladies have always, in spite of their admittedly generous songwriting and performance talent, played the cute card. Just look at their name. Something a four year old boy would say with a giggle, and the adults would laugh too.

This by the way is definitely cute, and good.
posted by philip-random at 9:49 AM on September 19, 2010


I love the kids dancing in front of the stage. This song remains one of my favourite songs they've ever recorded (along with Lovers in a Dangerous Time and Brian Wilson), which also coincides with the few songs of theirs that I can actually still stand. Though I saw them live at the Air Canada Centre here in Toronto, I think when they were touring for Maroon, and I didn't want to enjoy myself. But oh did I.

A buddy of mine got their children's album, which he said was remarkably good. He doesn't even have any kids.
posted by antifuse at 8:26 AM on September 21, 2010


Something a four year old boy would say with a giggle, and the adults would laugh too.

FWIW, when they first made it big in Canada back in '91 or so, there was a big stink about the name of the band objectifying women; the band's defense was pretty much the above.

Really, though, I think of it more like naming a band Live! Nude! Girls! -- the joke being that it would say that on the marquee, while inside the venue women were in fact not being objectified. Of course, to avoid pissing off that lowly segment of society who would feel cheated by such shenanigans (not to mention the uptight squares, and the club owners who would never book you in a million years), you go with the goofy kid-speak version.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:14 AM on September 21, 2010


Isn't the name a reference to the game you play as a kid where you grab a piece of wild grass with the shoots along it, say one of the following: tree, bush, barenaked lady, like a bet, and then you then run hour fingers up the grass, and if it all bunches at the top, it's a bush, if bits of it stay on, it's a tree, and if absolutely all the shoots come off, it's a barenaked lady?

That's what I always thought it was from. Is that a southern Ontario thing?
posted by Hildegarde at 11:43 AM on September 21, 2010


Maybe, but we (also southern Ontario) always just said "naked lady," sans bare.

(I never really understood how that game was supposed to work, bet-wise.)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:00 PM on September 21, 2010


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