Barenaked Ladies is a popular music group from Toronto, Canada. It is made up of four men: Jim Creegan, Steven Page, Ed Robertson, and Tyler Stewart. These men have a creative, wacky chemistry that makes their music so enjoyable. They currently have four albums: "Gordon" (1992), "Maybe You Should Drive" (1994), "Born on a Pirate Ship" (1995), and "Live Rock Spectacle" (1996).
Barenaked's songs are insane and mixed-up, using harmonies and rounds to make their music fun. They also use a lot of background vocals and instruments that give their music a distinctive, rich sound. The group takes turns singing the lead vocals (although Steve Page does most), but there are so many background vocals that it doesn't matter who is behind the main microphone. Some of their major hits are "Shoe Box," "$1,000,000," and "Old Apartment." In "$1,000,000," Barenaked sings about what they would buy if they had a million dollars, ranging from a monkey to a house to a tree fort. Their songs are about ordinary, everyday things that you don't even notice and take for granted. Their songs make you notice what's around you. Barenaked has sung about an apple, a cow, ninth grade, and Yoko Ono to name a few of their interesting topics.
I like Barenaked because I can understand what they are saying, unlike many of the groups out there (especially rap). It's fun to know what a group is saying so you can sing along. Barenaked's writing is hilarious, and you wonder where they come up with their ideas.
I think that Barenaked falls into the same genre of music as Moxy Fruvous. Both from Canada, they use the same techniques of singing, such as harmonies, a capella songs, and background instruments. They've both been known to play pots and pans in songs. I think their biggest similarity is in their writing. Moxy, like Barenaked, sings about ordinary things. In one song, they think of as much food as they can and sing about it. Moxy and Barenaked have performed together many times.
Barenaked gives a really good concert. In between their comical songs, they crack jokes and get the crowd fired up. Their songs are wild and everyone jump, dances, and sings along. During "$1,000,000" there is a phrase, "we wouldn't have to eat Kraft dinner." Everyone throws open boxes of macaroni and cheese onto the stage. The concert sites are always covered with noodles and a thin coating of orange powder by the end of the night.
Barenaked hasn't really spread outside the northeastern United States. They are very big in Canada, and have just leaked into the States. I'm not sure if they will spread because they have been around since about 1990 and have yet to make their move. I've traveled to the South and asked if people like Barenaked and they look at me like I'm a pervert! They are totally unknown south of the Carolinas.
If you are looking for a not-so-ordinary group that sings about ordinary things, I think you will like Barenaked. They are fun and easy to sing along with. If you are sick of hearing the same music over and over again on the radio, give Barenaked a try. You will find a fresh, new sound that will quench your music thirst.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.