Search This Blog

Loading...

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Barenaked Ladies: Stop Us If You've Heard This One Before!

BARENAKED LADIES: STOP US IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE! (2012)

1) I Don't Get It Anymore; 2) Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!; 3) Half A Heart; 4) Old Apartment; 5) Shake Your Rump; 6) Same Thing; 7) One Week; 8) Teenage Wasteland; 9) Long While; 10) Second Best; 11) I Can, I Will, I Do; 12) Adrift.

Considering how productive Page and Robertson had shown themselves to be over the centuries, one would think it reasonable to suggest they might have a shitload more of stuff in the vaults — enough to fill out a boxset or two, and delight the fans, especially those that admire the band's «serious» side as sincerely as their «quirky» side. Moreover, some dedicated and knowledgeable fans occasionally confirm that suspicion — which makes it all the more surprising why the heck is the band's only archival CD, containing a modest 46-minutes worth amount of music, focused almost exclusively on alternate versions of already well-known tracks, always inferior ones and sometimes differing only in regard to the mix.

The official explanation is that the record was originally planned as a «companion» to a proper best-of package (Hits From Yesterday & The Days Before), but something went awry, the two projects could not be properly synchronized, and eventually the rarities package got delayed and was released as a separate entity one year later. Regardless, it's a fairly pointless entity. The only track that is worth some interest is the previously available single B-side ʽYes! Yes!! Yes!!!ʼ, a fun, catchy power-popster co-written by Hearn and containing one of the fuzziest riffs in Bare­naked Ladies history (although, might I add that the cheesy synthesizer line that comes in to double the riff adds a suspicious whiff of a teen-oriented summer-themed video game). Maybe it is also possible to throw together some excitement for the unfinished electric demo of ʽLong Whileʼ, but there is nothing special about it.

Technically, there is also some live stuff here that could be useful for fans — early performances of ʽSame Thingʼ and some pointless bore that is arrogantly titled ʽTeenage Wastelandʼ, preceded by silly jokes on the art of performing in the German language and eventually transforming itself into a subsconscious, but flaccid, tribute to Otis Redding's cover of ʽSatisfactionʼ. Yes, there is also a live run through a Beastie Boys song (ʽShake Your Rumpʼ), but I see no point in the Bare­naked Ladies covering the Beastie Boys other than informing their audience that they do, in fact, love the Beastie Boys, which we already know because of ʽOne Nightʼ etc.

Everything else is just demos and alternate mixes of songs that weren't that good to begin with (ʽI Can, I Will, I Doʼ), or, on the contrary, songs that were already perfect (ʽOne Nightʼ) and needed no further undisclosed variations. In short, this whole package is more for the historiographer of the Barenaked Ladies than even the loyal fan; maybe someday Robertson might learn how to get it right, but until then, you might want to trust my thumbs down on this.
Check "Stop Us If You've Heard This One Before!" (CD) on Amazon
Check "Stop Us If You've Heard This One Before!" (MP3) on Amazon

3 comments:

  1. This compilation really pissed me off. As seemingly the most dedicated fan of the band to be following your reviews here I will corroborate the theory that this compilation was an enormous missed opportunity and could have been pretty good with better song selection.
    The biggest thing that could have saved it would have been focusing on properly released non-album tracks and not on never-before-heard material like all the redundant demos and not-so-alternate versions.

    For anybody curious as to the band's non-album highlights here's a short list of some of my favourite tracks that didn't make it onto proper BNL albums. Most of them are easily findable on youtube I think. Several of these songs can be found on various other compilations but they aren't on a proper BNL album so as far as I'm concerned that makes them fit for inclusion on a compilation like this:
    Trust Me
    It's Only Me (The Wizard of Magicland)
    Get In Line
    The Ballad Of Gordon
    Big Bang Theory Theme
    Lovers In A Dangerous Time
    Thanks That Was Fun
    Inline Bowline

    There are many other B-sides or foreign country-bonus tracks out there as well that might not be as good as the tunes I listed above but are still pretty decent and are definitely better than brainfarts like "I Don't Get It Anymore" and "Teenage Wasteland" which were included. There's also several discs worth of early indie cassette releases that the band put out in their pre-Gordon era. Much of that material would get rerecorded on their debut but at least those alternate versions would pose some interest to people while also shedding light on what the band sounded like in their very early days. And these early tapes also have their share of material that never made it onto a proper album. It baffles me how they overlooked all of that stuff in favour of what they did include here.
    It seems the band's post-Page musical degradation has even eroded their ability to properly evaluate their own past work. What a shame. At least in this case if they ever get around to putting out a 2nd volume of this, we know that the majority of songs left to include are good ones (unless they've been stockpiling All In Good Time and Grinning Streak demos over the past few years. The horror!).

    ReplyDelete
  2. It should be said that four of the tracks listed in the above comment is available on their first greatest hits release, Disc One: the Greatest Hits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, I'm aware of that. But who the heck buys Greatest Hits for just four tracks though (aside from me anyway). Those tracks absolutely deserve to get their own proper redundancy-free release.

      Delete