Monday, November 15, 2010

Letter to the Barenaked Ladies of Yore

Dear Barenaked Ladies,
What were you guys thinking, breaking up? Personal crap aside, don't you get it? Steven (Page - the chubby bespectacled singer with the distinctive voice) needs Ed, Ed (Robertson - the other singer-songwriter; he wrote "One Week") needs Steven. This is Lennon/McCartney shit, boys. You really wanted to mess with that?



Back in the Beatle heyday you know what Lennon loved to sing most? The rockiest of rock tunes. McCartney was the balladeer.  And yet put those two blokes together and something magical happened, not only because McCartney's "Hey Jude" works so pretty against Lennon's harder edged stuff, his "Hard Day's Night" or "Back in the USSR" but because the guys obviously had impact on each other. It was John who wrote some of the Beatles greatest sad songs; think: "Day in the Life," think: "Across the Universe." Conversely, one of the rockiest Beatles tunes of them all is McCartney's throaty "Drive My Car." In other words, the balladeer brought the sad out of the rebel and the rebel brought out the rock from the sap.


Ying and yang boys. It's the Thai food secret. Bad pad thai is bad cause it's all sweet and no spice. if you're gonna use palm sugar you gotta squeeze a lot of lime in there, know what I'm saying? (Crushed peanuts and chili flakes, also key.)

Now I'm not gonna suggest that you barenaked lovelies quite reached Beatle height, but man, when you guys got it, you got it good, and the goods were that blend, that blend you had so right on album one (the genius that is Gordon) and that you showed so much of again in Stunt - namely funny, whimsy balanced with serious-sad. Too much of the former and you've got a kids album. Too much of the latter and, well, we're just sad and that never did well for record sales unless you're Nina Simone, and all the record sales in the world didn't seem to help her much, in terms of personal happiness, mental stability. Oye. Shame!

But here's my point. Steven Page's voice and his sadness and his self-seriousness are balanced by Ed Roberton's earnest voice and his whimsical nature. One without the other runs the great risk of writing terribly cheesy duets, and that's only if you're still a big enough name to get a washed-up Stevie Wonder type to sing with you. What would the Canadian equivalent of a washed up Stevie Wonder be? (Not a clue.)

If it's not too late, boys, to get it back together (or, actually, it probably is). But trust me. It's the right thing to do.

Yours,
Jon M

By the way, who was the Yoko Ono that caused the break-up anyway?

3 comments:

  1. Believe me, if playlist.com had a better selection I'd have chosen a number of other Barenaked tunes including "Hello City," "Box Set," and "Light Up My Room."

    But you gotta make do with what you got. Them's the breaks.

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  2. Anonymous2:49 PM

    I am so with you! I really can't listen to the new BNL without Steve's sad, tangible soul! Little too much tinny quirk. I pine for them to get back together, PINE!

    Elena (Johanna's sister : )

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pine indeed Elena (Johanna's sister). Thanks for dropping in! I'm already saving pennies for the upcoming reunion tour. (Upcoming, albeit in some ten or twenty years.)

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