BareNaked Ladies is the brainchild of Ed Robertson and Steven Page. The band was initially formed in 1998, when Ed Robertson’s band broke up and he forgot to cancel a show that had already been booked. They performed together at a charity event for the Second Harvest Food Bank without ever having had a single rehearsal. They added a bassist, percussionist, and eventually a keyboard player to the mix and started recording demos.
The band became very popular in their native Canada long before the release of their first studio album “Gordon” in 1992. They released two more studio albums (“Maybe You Should Drive” and “Born on a Pirate Ship”) in the next four years. But it wasn’t until the release of their live album “Rock Spectacle” in 1996 that they started gaining attention in the nearby U.S. of A.
In 1998, they released “Stunt” and their single “One Week” hit number one on the Billboard Top 40 chart. Since then, they have been well-loved both in America and at home in Canada.
BareNaked Ladies are famous for their catchy singles and energetic live shows. Popular songs like “If I Had $1,000,000”, “One Week”, and “Another Postcard” are light on message and heavy on fun. The top ten songs in this article are of a heavier nature as far as message is concerned. Barenaked Ladies are a more multi-dimensional band than they are usually given credit for, and if you want to see the serious side of Barenaked Ladies, these are the songs I’d recommend.
1. Wrap Your Arms Around Me – Gordon (1992)
Favorite Lyric: “I regret / every time I raised my voice / and it would be / that bright of me / to say I had no choice”.
Serious Subject Matter: Abusive relationships.
2. The Flag – Gordon (1992)
Favorite Lyric: “They’re complicated people / living complicated lives / and he complicates their problems / telling complicated lies”.
Serious Subject Matter: Domestic violence.
3. The Wrong Man Was Convicted – Maybe You Should Drive (1994)
Favorite Lyric: “If I’m again beside your body / don’t tell me where it’s been / it’s cruel unusual punishment / to kiss fingerprinted skin”.
Serious Subject Matter: Infidelity
4. This is Where it Ends – Born on a Pirate Ship (1996)
Favorite Lyric: “I don’t buy everything I read / I haven’t even read everything I’ve bought”.
Serious Subject Matter: Mental Illness
5. I’ll Be That Girl – Stunt (1998)
Favorite Lyric: “If I were you / (and I wish that I were you) / all the things I’d do / to make myself turn blue”.
Serious Subject Matter: Auto-erotic asphyxiation.
6. Helicopters – Maroon (2000)
Favorite Lyric: “I’m haunted by a story / and I do my best to tell it / Can’t even give this stuff away / why would I sell it”.
Serious Subject Matter: The experience of being in a war zone.
7. (Tonight is the Night) I Fell Asleep at the Wheel – Maroon (2000)
Favorite Lyric: “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”.
Serious Subject Matter: Auto accident fatality.
8. Lovers in a Dangerous Time – Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits (2001)
Favorite Lyric: “One minute you’re waiting for the sky to fall / next you’re dazzled by the beauty of it all”.
Serious Subject Matter: Falling in love in an uncertain world.
9. For You – Everything to Everyone (2003)
Favorite Lyric: “In a book in a box high upon a shelf / in a locked and guarded vault / are the things I keep only for myself / it’s your fate but it’s not your fault”.
Serious Subject Matter: Co-dependent relationships.
10. War on Drugs – Everything to Everyone (2003)
Favorite Lyric: “They’ve put a net there to catch their fall / like that’ll stop anyone at all / what they don’t know is when nature calls / you go”.
Serious Subject Matter: Suicide.
Their new album, Barenaked Ladies are Me is available in stores and at their website. It was released on Tuesday, September 12th.