“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


“Stunt” (1998)

“Stunt” is the fourth full-length studio album by Barenaked Ladies. “Stunt” sold over 4 million CD’s by the time its chart run came to an end. The album reached the No. 3 spot on American charts and their first single, “One Week“, would become the band’s breakthrough single in the U.S. market by hitting #1. The song also reached #5 in the UK, and helped revitalize their career in the band’s home country of Canada, where their fame had diminished since their first release. In addition, follow-up singles “It’s All Been Done“, “Alcohol” and “Call and Answer” were each successful.

“Stunt” is the first studio album to feature keyboardist/guitarist Kevin Hearn, who originally joined the band for the Born on a Pirate Ship tour in 1995. Shortly after the release of the album Kevin was diagnosed with leukemia. He spent the Stunt tour receiving chemotherapy and was replaced by Chris Brownand Greg Kurstin in the interim.

Some tracks were recorded but did not make the final cut; these songs include “Long Way Back Home” and “She’s On Time.” These tracks appear as hidden tracks on the limited edition version of the album. “Long Way Back Home” would ultimately be used during the closing credits for the band’s “Stunt” tour concert film “Barenaked in America.”

As with each of their earlier albums, the band recorded one song, “Alcohol”, completely naked.

Track recordings for “Stunt”

  1. One Week (Ed Robertson)
  2. It’s All Been Done (Steven Page)
  3. LIght Up My Room
  4. I’ll Be That Girl (Steven Page, Stephen Duffy)
  5. Leave
  6. Alcohol (Steven Page, Stephen Duffy)
  7. Call and Answer
  8. In the Car (Steven Page)
  9. Never is Enough
  10. Who Needs Sleep
  11. Told You So
  12. Some Fantastic
  13. When You Dream
  14. She’s On Time – “Limited Edition” Version
  15. Long Way Back Home – “Limited Edition” Version

Have you seen the “Barenaked in America” movie? If you have, did you enjoy it? Would you go watch it now, knowing it’s available on Netflix streaming?

“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?

“Gordon” (1992)

The Barenaked Ladies’ first official album, Gordon, was released on July 28, 1992, in Canada. Prior to the release of Gordon the Barenaked Ladies had other variety recordings.

The Gordon album was in position No. 1 on the Canadian Album Chart in 1992. In the Canadian Singles Chart during 1992 “Enid” was position 2, “If I Had $1,000,000” was 13, “Grade 9” was 53 and “Be My Yoko Ono” was in position 77. In 1993 “Brian Wilson” was No. 18 and “What a Good Boy” was 34.

Gordon sold over 80,000 copies during its first 24 hours of release in Canada alone which kept it on top of the Canadian charts for eight weeks in a row. When it sold over one million copies it achieved diamond status in Canada. In America, it wasn’t until the Rock Spectacle and “One Week” were released that there was a major spike in sales in places other than major cities. Gordon was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in August 1998.

Track Listing:

  1. Hello City (Steven Page)
  2. Enid (Steven Page)
  3. Grade 9 (Steven Page, Ed Robertson)
  4. Brian Wilson (Steven Page)
  5. Be My Yoko Ono (Steven Page, Ed Robertson)
  6. Wrap Your Arms Around Me (Ed Roberstson)
  7. What a Good Boy (Steven Page)
  8. The King of Bedside Manor (Steven Page Ed Robertson)
  9. Box Set (Steven Page)
  10. I Love You (Seven Page, Jim Creeggan, Andy Creeggan)
  11. Blame it on Me (Steven Page, Ed Robertson)
  12. New Kid (On the Block) (Steven Page)
  13. The Flag (Steven Page)
  14. If I Had a Million Dollars (Steven Page, Ed Robertson)
  15. Crazy (Ed Roberston)

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What’s your favorite song from the Gordon album?

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