#39 – Barenaked Ladies – “Too Little Too Late” – (2000)

I was sitting here trying to remember why I picked this song over BNL’s other huge single from 2000’s Maroon – and then I turned it on and the music answered my question instantly. This song was sung entirely by Stephen Page – who is no longer with the band (and perhaps why they didn’t perform it at the BNL concert I was at last week). All I know is that this is one of the best bands in the world. They are super talented and their songs are super witty, catchy and well-written. Yes, being funny and have a distinct personality goes a long way to be a good band. This was a top 20 hit on the A/C chart, but still one of their better-known songs.

Barenaked Ladies – “It’s All Been Done” – (1998)

This is my favorite BNL song. And what does it have to do with being in Europe (besides the lyric “I met you before the fall of Rome”)? Nothing. On my return journey I stopped in Toronto and the Barenaked Ladies are my favorite Canadian band. And after 7 weeks, it had all been done. Well, not really – I’d still love to go back but I accomplished a lot and saw even more. The rumor is that Steven Page wrote this song because “Brian Wilson” was “too wordy” and he wanted to use something like “who ooh ooh” in the chorus – and it’s catchy as hell. The lyrics are really great regardless of how simple they are supposed to be. Way to go Steven Page! Now let him rejoin the band!

#8 – Barenaked Ladies – “One Week” – (1998)

Stunt is one of my all-time favorite albums. Who doesn’t (or didn’t at some point in time) love this song? It is BNL’s only Hot 100 #1 hit in the United States (for one week) and it just might be their most well known song. Ed Robertson gets to show off his ability to talk really really fast in the parts of the song that everyone thinks they can sing but ends up just making noise through. During those times when he is rapping, he is rattling off pop culture reference after pop culture reference. And is it just me or is the music video very similar to that of Smash Mouth’s “All Star?” Other singles from Stunt include “Call and Answer” and “Alcohol” (which I can’t recall every hearing on the radio). The best song from the album has to be “It’s All Been Done” (“One Week” included). Two other tracks that were apparently never singles but I swear I heard on the radio (maybe I just listened to them on the album a lot back in the day) are “I’ll Be That Girl” and “Light Up My Room.” There are some great other versions of “One Week” as well. The Bluegrass Version is classic and the Bathroom Sessions Version is great as well.

#84 – Barenaked Ladies – “The Old Apartment” – (1996)

This song was on two BNL albums, Born on a Pirate Ship and Rock Spectacle, both released in 1996. It was their first big American hit. Steven Page claims this song is not about a guy stalking his ex-girlfriend and breaking into her apartment – but it definitely sounds like it, it’s what I’ve always thought it was about. Jason Priestley, of Beverly Hills 90210 fame, directed this music video and pushed it on the TV networks, which led to its popularity. So, thank you, Jason Priestley, for making BNL famous in America.

#1 – Barenaked Ladies feat. Sarah McLachlan – “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings” – (2004)

Why is this song the number one Christmas song? Listen to Sarah McLachlan’s voice. Listen to the ‘bare’ musical accompaniment. Just listen to the song. The Barenaked Ladies are an amazing band to begin with, but when you throw in the incomparable talent of someone like Sarah McLachlan… watch out. This is the only Christmas song (TSO not included) that I blare my radio whenever it comes on – to the point where the speakers scream in pain. There is just something magical about this song.

#183 – Barenaked Ladies – “Brian Wilson” – (1992)

I lifted this from Wikipedia: “Brian Wilson rearranged and sang this song a cappella with his new band at live concerts, one of which was recorded for a live album he recorded in 2000. One of the stories the band often tells is about the time he came to their studio while they were recording Maroon. They played him a bunch of their new songs, and then he played them his version of “Brian Wilson”. At the end, he turned to them and asked, “Is it cool?” Upon his departure, his advice to the band was “don’t eat too much.” The band described the entire experience as surreal.”

If you like “Brian Wilson,” be sure to check out “If I Had $1000000” (also from Gordon) – if you don’t already know it by heart.