“Maroon” (2000)

“Maroon” is the fifth full-length studio album by the Barenaked Ladies. “Maroon” debuted at No. 1 in Canada and No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard 200. In its first week, the album sold 17,800 copies in Canada and just under 128,000 in the United States. It has sold at least 1 million copies in the U.S. alone. Kevin Hearn beat his leukemia battle and with an instinct to play down the jokey reputation they were so known for, BNL deliberately created a more serious and sophisticated album. The album spawned three successful singles which still receive moderate airplay: “Pinch Me,” “Too Little Too Late” and “Falling for the First Time.”

Unlike past albums, the songs came almost entirely from the pairing of Steven Page and Ed Robertson. “Hidden Sun”, written while Hearn was in the hospital, appears as a hidden track on most copies of the album. As with each of their early albums, the band recorded one song, “Humour of the Situation”, completely naked.

The band recorded 17 tracks for the album. Tracks recorded for this album but omitted from the finished record include: “Powder Blue,” “Inline Bowline,” “Born Human” and “Half a Heart.” “That’s All, That’s All” was also written for the album, and was later recorded for Page’s The Vanity Project.

No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. Too Little Too Late Steven Page 3:24
2. “Never Do Anything” Steven Page 3:51
3. Pinch Me Ed Robertson 4:45
4. “Go Home” Steven Page 2:43
5. Falling for the First Time Ed Robertson 3:40
6. “Conventioneers” Steven Page 3:43
7. “Sell Sell Sell” Steven Page 4:01
8. “The Humour of the Situation” Steven Page 3:45
9. “Baby Seat” (Steven Page, Stephen Duffy) Steven Page 4:13
10. “Off the Hook” Steven Page 4:34
11. “Helicopters” Steven Page 4:33
12. “Tonight Is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel” Steven Page 3:59
13. “Hidden Sun” (Kevin Hearn) Kevin Hearn 4:02


“Rock Spectacle” (1996)

"Rock Spectacle" album artwork

“Rock Spectacle” is the fourth album by Barenaked Ladies and their first live release. This was the album that finally broke the American market for BNL, with the live version of “Brian Wilson” and a release of “The Old Apartment” from “Born on a Pirate Ship.” The record was recorded at two concerts at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago and at The Olympia in Montreal during the “Born on a Pirate Ship” tour.

Kevin Hearn playing on the guitar

 

A live version of “Shoe Box” was on promotional and advance copies of this record but was left off at the last second. This particular recording of “Shoe Box” appears on the “One Week” CD single. At the very end of the “If I Had $1,000,000” track, there are two bonus tracks. One has a banter about an elderly woman Ed ran into in Chicago. Part of this story is referenced in the “$1000000” song, which must have originally occurred after this banter at the Chicago concert. The second is an improvised song/rap about Ed’s Uncle Elwyn. There is some question as to whether this “Uncle Elwyn” is a real person.

Track Listing for “Rock Spectacle”

  1. Brian Wilson (Page)
  2. Straw Hat and Old Dirty Hank (Page, Robertson)
  3. Break Your Heart (Page)
  4. Jane (Duffy, Page)
  5. When I Fall (Page, Robertson)
  6. Hello City (Page, Robertson)
  7. What a Good Boy (Page, Robertson)
  8. The Old Apartment (Page, Robertson)
  9. Life, in a Nutshell (Page, Robertson)
  10. These Apples (Robertson)
  11. Grade 9/If I Had $1,000,000 (Page, Robertson)
    • Contains a hidden track with some anecdotes and a song “Uncle Elwyn”

What do you think of bands who produce live recorded music such as “Rock Spectacle?” Are the CDs worth it?

“Born on a Pirate Ship” (1996)

The Barenaked Ladies’ third full-length album was released on March 19, 1996, with the title of “Born on a Pirate Ship,” sometimes abbreviated as BOAPS. The most popular tracks from this album include “Shoe Box,” “The Old Apartment,” “When I Fall” and “Break Your Heart.” In 1997 the song “The Old Apartment” became BNL’s first US hit and won over many of American fans hearts. The front cover features a boy in a newspaper hat pulling at his cheeks, in reference to the childhood prank alluded to by the album’s title. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a childhood picture of BNL bassist Jim Creeggan, but simply an actor hired for the photos.

This was the first album recorded following the departure of keyboardist Andy CreegganKevin Hearn is not credited on the album but joined the group for the 1995 tour that preceded the album’s release in time to be thanked in the liner notes for “injecting new spirit.”

BNL preforming "The Old Apartment"

Tracks recorded for this album but left off the finished record are: “Trust Me” and “Back.” As with each of their early albums, the band recorded one song completely naked. On this album, “Back” was the “naked track.”

Although the album achieved a respectable No. 18 hit in Canada, the album only managed No. 111 in the US. “Born On A Pirate Ship” was awarded gold status in the U.S. in 2000 once the band had became more popular.

Track listing for “Born on a Pirate Ship”

  1. Stomach vs. Heart (Steven Page)
  2. Straw Hat and Old Dirty Hank (Steven Page)
  3. I know (Ed Robertson)
  4. This is Where It Ends (Steven Page)
  5. When I fall (Ed Robertson)
  6. I Live With It Every Day (Steven Page)
  7. The Old Apartment (Steven Page)
  8. Call Me Calmly (Steven Page)
  9. Break Your Heart (Steven Page)
  10. Spider in My Room (Jim Creeggan)
  11. Same Thing (Ed Robertson)
  12. Just a Toy (Steven Page)
  13. In the Drink (Jim Creeggan)
  14. Shoe Box (Steven Page)
  15. If I had $1,000,000 (Steven Page)

Have you heard any of the songs from this album? Which song is your favorite?

Going over the basics…

The year? 1988. The place? Scarborough, Ontario and Toronto.

Four men got together to create the Canadian alternative rock band, The Barenaked Ladies. The band was begun by Steven Page (vocals, guitar) and Ed Robertson (vocals, guitar), Jim Creeggan (bass, cello), Andy Creeggan (origional keyboardist) and Tyler Stewart in 1990 (drums). Andy Creeggan left the band in 1995 and was replaced by Kevin Hearn (keyboardist, accordian). Later, Steven Page  in 2009 resigned from the band to persue a solo career.

The Ladies are known for their light-hearted, comedic preformance style with humorous banter and improvised raps/songs. They are best known for their hit singles One Week, The Old Apartment, Pinch Me, If I had $1,000,000, and Brian Wilson.

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