All In Good Time – Barenaked Ladies

All In Good Time is the 9th studio album of original material by the Barenaked Ladies and the first without founding member Stephen Page. His voice & musical contributions are sorely missed throughout the album but that doesn’t stop this cd from being a strong & entertaining album filled with good songs. Let’s face it, as much as I love this band, they are never going to be as good as they were as a 5 piece band and Page was a huge part of the band. I’d prefer to treat the current 4 members as a separate band just to get past the absence of Page. It would have been the same without Ed Robertson as well, just because the duo’s vocals harmonies are such a big part of this band’s greatness. With Page’s departure, Kevin Hearn and Jim Creeggan filled the void by contributing a comparatively greater share of lead vocals than on previous albums.Anyway, let’s take a listen shall we?

I like the fact that BNL decided to tackle the gaping absence of their erstwhile singer/guitarist by addressing it right at the beginning. You Run Away is in parts about Page leaving the band but not completely about it. The first single is a strong ballad that has some lovely melodies and is hauntingly going to remind all of us BNL fans of Page’s leaving the band. ‘I tried to be your brother, you cry & ran for cover’ is so much about Stephen. Summertime features some strong guitar riffs alternating with melodic & lighter stuff. This is a great song which should be a live favourite. Kevin Hearn steps up to the microphone to sing Another Heartbreak, which is about, er…what else, another heartbreak. I really like this song the way that Hearn sings in his earnest & humble style. Tyler Stewart doe another fine job on the drums on this song.

Four Seconds is a fun song, a bit like One Week but it actually reminds me of some cartoon song about ghosts (can’t remember which one). I just love this song so much, that harks back to their playbest. Finally, Robertson finds three rhymes for the apparently unrhymable word Orange in a Django Reinhardt meets Jay-Z beer-hall sing-along called “Four Seconds”: “Oh Flip, The light is turning Orange / Coat ripped, when I caught it in the door hinge/ I slipped when the lady in the 4 inch / Bought it in a store in Germany.” Creeggan sings On The Lookout; I didn’t know that he had such a wonderful voice. Ordinary maybe the title of the next track but Robertson’s vocals is anything but on this track. More hard rock sounds comes out in the groovy I Have Learned. Another standout is Every Subway Car; I’m telling you this is certainly one of the best songs ever. Robertson sings about a love-struck graffiti artist, who declares his love all across the city, painting his message of adoration.

Hearn sings about a ghost town called Jerome in his shy-college freshman style of vocals (the best way that I can describe it), describing the allure of the place and why you should visit it. How Long starts off not sounding like anything BNL has ever done before; no wonder – Ed sounds a little angry & pissed off (as much as BNL can do that type of music) and vents a little bit. We then move onto Golden Boy, which also seems to address Page’s decision to leave BNL. The lyrics seem to also have that bitterness that the band must feel on his leaving them. I Saw It addresses the subject of bullying of school kids. Creegan sings about standing up and facing the bullying, and sings in a beautiful style.

Robertson sings on The Love We’re In, a sad song about lovers who are at the end of a waning relationship and coming to terms with the death of their romance. “Even a beggar must have to choose. They say you shouldn’t wager more than you can lose, Make mine a double, just hold the booze”. As we close the album Hearn sings about a euphoric sensation in watching the Northern Lights which reminds me of a scene in a film depicting a snow covered town and two lovers driving to an open area to lie on the back of their truck, huddled in blankets and admiring the Aurora Borealis aka Northern Lights.

Without Page, the band now consists of Ed Robertson (guitar/vocals), Jim Creeggan (bass/vocals), Kevin Hearn (keyboard/guitar/vocals), and Tyler Stewart (drums/vocals). There is an amazing array of talents here, from multi-instrumental band members to having four vocalists able to help out and offer very different sounds and styles to their music. The bonus tracks are acoustic versions of Another Heartbreak & Four Seconds.

3 thoughts on “All In Good Time – Barenaked Ladies

  1. Jessica – with him in the band this album would have been a classic. They have some strong songs in it and therefore it’s something to be treasured. But he was an integral band member and he is missed.

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