See what I did there!
No, this post is not about nude ladies, it is about one of my all time favorite bands: The Barenaked Ladies
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have a love of words. I love to read, just about anything, and I love music primarily because of the lyrics. I am a sucker for a expertly turned phrase. A great author and a great songwriter can speak directly to my soul and I love that. The Barenaked Ladies have written some pretty amazing stuff and a lot of it speaks to me in volumes. They are clever and funny and deep and superficial and all of it, sometimes, at the same time.
They are a Canadian band, formed in 1988. They have indie roots, have never really been anything that I’d consider mainstream, and have released 14 studio albums. They are super talented, they have members who play a stand-up bass and an accordion and they can sing in some kick-ass close harmony as well. They are far from normal and that is part of their appeal to me. From the hysterical and way too close to the truth “Grade 9” to anything from their kids album “Snacktime” to the completely bizzare “King of Bedside Manor,” I love all things Barenaked Ladies.
Here are some of my favorite BNL songs including a few links to video/audio of the songs. Check ’em out!
If I Had $1,000,000
This is a BNL classic and it’s probably kind of cheating to start off with it, but it’s a favorite for obvious reasons. It is funny and super clever, and my favorite parts of this song are the spoken parts between verses.
Maybe we could put a little tiny fridge in there somewhere. We could just go up there and hang out, like open the fridge and stuff, and there’d be foods laid out for us. With little pre-wrapped sausages and things. Mmmmm.
They have pre-wrapped sausages but they don’t have pre-wrapped bacon.
Well, can you blame them?
We wouldn’t have to eat Kraft Dinner. But we would eat Kraft Dinner. Of course we would, we’d just eat more. And buy really expensive ketchup with it. That’s right, all fanciest Dijon Ketchup. Mmmmm.
I mean, the song is about having a million dollars and they are riffing on foods like pre-wrapped sausage and Kraft Mac-N-Cheese. Genius. Of course the other things they would buy “you” with their money are pretty amazing as well. Things like a llama or an emu or a monkey (haven’t you always wanted a monkey?). Talking about not getting a “real” fur coat because that is cruel and how getting you a “real green dress” would also be cruel. And purchase some “art” in either the form of a Picasso or a Garfunkel. I mean really, it is my sincere hope that these guys are just geniuses and weren’t on something when they wrote this. This is some fantastic stuff.
Having being diagnosed as Bipolar, I love this song, because I have learned to embrace my crazy. It is part of who I am. Again, I like the humor included in these lyrics in talking about being crazy. It may be offensive to some people, but I’m not those people and this is my blog. So #suckit.
I climb the walls of my mind just like I’m climbing on a jungle gym. I am more than content with the state of mind I am in ‘cause I’m crazy. Just like you.
I don’t think I need a rubber room, but hey, that might be nice. I’m not a manic depressive, paranoid, or schizophrenic so I don’t need your advice. I am crazy, just like you.
The lights are on but nobody’s home, my elevator doesn’t go to the top. I’m not playing with a full deck. I’ve lost my marbles.
I’m a few bricks short of a load but a full load always hurt my back. I flew over the cuckoo’s nest and I’m never ever coming back because I’m crazy, just like you.
Enjoy the video … it’s of the amazing Ed Robertson singing with only his guitar and intoxicating eyes. #swoon
I’m a sucker for romance and an awesome love song. This one is actually about heartbreak, in a way. It tells of a heart held together by duct tape and no matter what is done to this heart, there will always be enough duct tape to put it back together.
A million uses, you know the truth is there isn’t anything that it can’t fix.
When you wear through one, just make a new one, and make a wallet out of extra bits.
BNL seriously has one of my all time favorite Christmas albums. It has a little bit of everything on it and this particular song is completely ridiculous, which is why I love it. They basically took the standard “Deck The Halls” and replaced all the words with “Crosby Still Nash and Young” – then they just sing those five words over and over again to the tune of “Deck the Halls.” Absolutely brilliant.
Tonight is The Night I Fell Asleep at The Wheel
So this song is clever to me in a very dark and morbid way. It basically tells the story of a guy driving home who falls asleep at the wheel and then crashes his car and dies. Yep, pretty straightforward. But the detail in what the deceased is seeing while they try to free him from the car is pretty creative. I’m including all of the lyrics to this one (with a little paraphrasing), because I like it a whole lot. I appreciate the creativity here quite a bit.
Driving home to be with you
The highway’s dividing, the city’s in view
As usual, I’m almost on time
You’re the last thing that’s on my mind
I wish I could tell you the way that I feel
But tonight is the night I fell asleep at the wheel
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
Can’t help but wonder if all this is real
Cause tonight is the night I fell asleep at the wheel
Rubberneck traffic and passersby
And Slow Motion Walter the fire engine guy
Stand around with their mouths open wide
I heard some idiot ask if someone’s inside
With the Jaws of Life they tried and they tried
Nobody here can know how I feel
Cause tonight is the night I fell asleep at the wheel
I guess it’s over now
Cause I’ve never seen so much blood
In all the confusion, there’s something serene
I’m just a posthumous part of the scene
Now I’m floating above looking in
As the radio blares and wheels spin
I can see my face slump with a grin
And you…you’re the last thing on my mind
The guys teamed up with the YouTubers at Rooster Teeth for this video (as well as the video for “Did I Say That Out Loud”) and it is quite humorous. It’s a fun little ditty about living life right now, because there are a bunch of ways you could die at any moment. You could be hit by the A-Train or crash in an airplane. You could be struck by lightning or eaten by a Great White shark. Honestly, there ain’t a way to go that’s fun.
The music video is pretty clever as well. If you are a fan of either BNL or Rooster Teeth, you’ll dig it.
Words. Lots and lots of words. Really fast words. A little education maybe? I love this one a lot. It’s a great show too.
Another sort of angsty song, this one speaks to things not being quite right. It has been said that when he wrote this, Ed Robertson referenced “the notion that you know things are good, they’re just not quite good for you.” To me, it’s about not being sure the life you have is actually the life you are supposed to have.
It’s like a dream – you try to remember but it’s gone, then you try to scream but it only comes out as a yawn, when you try to see the world beyond your front door.
Pinch me ‘cause I’m still asleep.
Please God tell me that I’m still asleep
There are sooooooo many amazing BNL songs, I won’t bore you with any more, but if you are so inclined, I encourage you to check them out. They are pretty awesome, at least in my book.
Do you have any favorite BNL songs? Lemme know in the comments!!