Grinning Streak – Barenaked Ladies

I’m gonna be ending my 2013 year by reviewing the latest albums from my two most favourite bands of all time. Let’s take a listen to the Barenaked Ladies’ 2013 release Grinning Streak. Released in June and debuting at #10 on the US Billboard charts, this is their 11th studio album proper and their 2nd since singer/guitarist/songwriter Steven Page left the band back in 2009 (I’m still not over that). It is also the band’s first album on their new record label, Vanguard. The first single, Boomerang was recorded in a separate session produced by Gavin Brown in May 2012, initially for release that summer.

The album starts with Limits a song about taking a breather, taking a look at what has happened so far and knowing your limitations despite doing your best and giving it a sincere go. Boomerang is about coming back to the one who holds your heart and despite everything else and all the travails and tribulations, you come back to the one you love. I’m unsure of what the song Off His Head is all about, although I like the lyrics. I’m guessing it’s about being a parent and being faced with various situations that is out your control and being more affected because it’s not happening to you but to another human being that you love unconditionally. Gonna Walk is a song about being in love and chasing the object of your affection and not quitting until love has been achieved.

Odds Are is one of my favourite songs of BNL and one of my favourites of all time. The song is so catchy and lyrically thought provoking and yet simple enough to understand and the music lifts my spirits – just like a lot of their songs tends to do! Positivity and hope is sprayed throughout this song and the odds are in your favour that you will find the love of your life and things will go good for you and it resonates with me a lot. A little bit antagonistic and a lot about standing your ground and fighting when you are attacked is Keepin’ It Real. I know Ed Robertson (singer/guitarist/lyricist) is an atheist and this verse perfectly fits:

“What’s the point in wishing there was somewhere to go
If when you get there, you can’t let anyone know
When my time comes, I won’t be leaving this Earth
And what I’ve done for people will determine my worth”

Saying you’re sorry is hard and to a loved one making up is hard which is what the song Give It To You is all about. Talk about lyrics that let on that you are an atheist –  how’s this verse from Best Damn Friend:

Talk was cheap
‘Till I started talking to professionals
Not my first leap,
This atheist could have used confessional
Sown, so reap,
Allow me to lead you in devotional
While you weep,
Imagine the man whose more emotional.

Alright, Did I Say That Out Loud is a realization of love. Daydreamin’ is about – what else day dreams? And about wanting to make those day dreams a reality and showing the naysayers that they were wrong. Smile is about not being so serious and not forgetting the innocence of youth. Crawl is comparing the crawl of a baby to learning about life and making a sincere effort about it. We have 3 bonus tracks in this version of the album – Blacking Out, Fog Of Writing & Who Knew that add to the excellently received album both publicly & by critics. I love this album.

Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1

Arsenal came back from a shaky looking 60 minutes where they were lucky to not let in more than one goal and unlucky to not score atleast 2 goals, to win at West Ham United 3-1. Theo Walcott struck twice and Lukas Podolski netted a third as Arsenal came from behind to return top of the Premier League. Arsenal dominated the first half but their defense looked fragile and they fell behind as Carlton Cole tapped home after Wojciech Szczesny spilled a shot. The Hammers wasted chances to double the lead and Walcott equalised with an effort that Adrian should have saved. Podolski, who came on as a substitute for an injured Aaron Ramsey, crossed for Walcott to nod Arsenal ahead before lashing in to drop West Ham into the relegation zone. Results elsewhere saw them slip from 17th and a point outside the bottom three to 19th and two points inside it.

The hosts came closest in the early stages through a Mark Noble free-kick, but Arsenal soon began to build momentum. Perhaps the one player who most needed a goal was striker Olivier Giroud who came close so many times and had a couple of chances which on another day he would have put in easily, but today it just wasn’t going in for him. He however did set up the goal for Podolski. The Hammers have won only one of their last 11 league games and will be desperate to respond at home to West Brom on Saturday. Arsenal, by contrast, ended a run of four games in all competitions without victory and lead second-placed Manchester City by two points. City beat Liverpool, who were top of the table at the start of the day and would have leapfrogged Arsenal had they won the late kick-off. Instead Liverpool dropped to fourth in the standings.

Arsenal now have 39 points after 18 games played just one point above a strong looking Manchester City side. Chelsea are 3rd with 37 points and Liverpool have 36. It’s going to a very tight race.