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Barenaked Ladies
Everything to Everyone

Review by Ian White
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Barenaked Ladies Everything to Everyone

CD Stock Number: Reprise 48209

 

  As I walked out of the BNL show at Constitution Hall here in D.C. along with a few thousand other energized concertgoers, I realized why this band has grown in appeal over the years - they actually leave everything they have out on the stage. In an era of "sell-out" bands, BNL (minus a Mitsubishi car advertisement) have managed to remain firmly on the ground and discovered that their quirky songs and charming personalities are actually enough to satisfy the greedy record companies and their fan base at the same time. To their credit, the band often plays venues that are smaller than they could have booked in order to create a more intimate experience for the crowd and it is not unusual for them to play for a solid three hours or until the management gives them the boot. They make no apologies for the satirical nature of their music, their strong affinity for Canada, or their relationship with the audience, which is about as close as any band currently performing. Will their music pass the "will anyone remember it in thirty years" test? Probably not, but the same could be said for a majority of the rock and pop that has been polluting the airwaves for the past twenty years. On the positive side, these guys can actually put a sentence together and not threaten to murder you or my sister in the process.

One of the trade-offs of their recent commercial success in the United States has been that the past few albums have been rather mediocre with only one or two decent singles, but Everything to Everyone is surprisingly strong from start to finish. The opening track "Celebrity" proves to be the perfect opening as the band takes its recent success to task and mocks the self-righteousness that runs rampant in the music industry. Steven Page's voice has rarely sounded better and it would appear that the time the band took off to refresh their batteries paid off as Page and Ed Robertson look and sound better than they have in many years. The ever-popular "Another Postcard" (you know…that annoying chimpanzee song) works the first few times you hear it, but it really lacks the comedic staying power of some of their earlier songs such as "Be My Yoko Ono," or "Enid," and really isn't as catchy as "Pinch Me". The rest of the material is well balanced, including the catchy "Next Time," "Testing 1, 2, 3," and the rather depressing "War on Drugs". As the band has grown up, started families, and suffered through illness, the material has becoming increasingly more serious and lost some of the creativity and originality that won them a legion of loyal fans. Everything to Everyone is unlikely to earn them many new fans but that probably sits fine with both the band and the inspired minions.

 

 

Enjoyment: 80

Sound Quality: 85

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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