Wednesday, 14 July 2010

July 14th: In love with second best

Barenaked Ladies- Maybe You Should Drive (1994,Sire)

We're back to the 'bought in a French record shop secondhand' pile... I love, love, love BNL's début album Gordon. There's not a dud on it, and it's full of genuinely affecting, well written songs- the big hit, 'If I Had A Million Dollars' isn't even in the top 5. 'Be My Yoko Ono', 'The Flag', 'Wrap Your Arms Around Me', 'Brian Wilson', 'What A Good Boy', etc etc are all excellent, and haven't dated at all (if you overlook the occasional Milli Vanilli reference). Unfortunately, the band have never really bettered it. They have had  moments of occasional brilliance since- 'Break Your Heart' from 1996's Born On A Pirate Ship, for example- but have never had an another album with such a run of good songs.
I bought  Maybe You Should Drive expecting Gordon mk. 2. It just didn't happn.There is nothing which touches me to the degree that 'Blame It On Me' does...there is, more seriously, a serious lack of memorable tunes.  With the exception of 'A', I can't see myself being able to hum any of this album by this time next week.
It's not a complete damp squib;'Everything Old Is New Again' is a good example of Steven Page's talent for writing about tragic relationships; 'Great Provider''s production has stood the test of time well.

Generally, the whole album just feels slightly empty. The inclusion of preppy pop songs like 'A'(complete with archetypal crap key change!) or 'Jane' jars with me...which is odd, because BNL are after all basically a pop band. 
I'm guessing mine is a minority opinion, but honestly, buy Gordon or Born On A Pirate Ship instead. They're less obviously commercial and the quality of song is far higher.
I really like BNL. I just don't get this.

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