August 1998
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Barenaked Ladies -
Stunt

By Jessica Brandt

Stunt is the fifth major-label release for the 'Ladies. The first track, "One Week," which has already gotten tons of airplay and has been MTV-ized is the oddball song, sort of like Blind Melon's "No Rain" which didn't fit with the rest of the album. BNL gives us a little taste of their rap stylings, which they usually break out for live shows.

Track two, "It's All Been Done," I can already see as a video and single. Seems like all of these songs are a little less interesting than the material from their first release, Gordon, but then again, that's what you need to make it here in America. "Ligt Up My Room" is slow and emotional, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it's about. I think it has something to do with pollution.

Many of the tracks are really catchy, if nothing else. "I'll Be that Girl" will make you sing along, as well as "Who Needs Sleep?", poorly written lyrics and all. "Leave" has a bit of a twang to it, and you can picture the guys singing it from the back of their pickup truck. "Alcohol" is a tounge-in-cheek look at heavy drinking and pretty darn funny if you take it the right way.

"Call and Answer" is a break-up song of sorts. It can be compared to Ben Folds Five's "Selfless Cold and Composed" or "Fair." It contains the great lines "You think/ I only think about you when we're both in the same room/ You think I'm only here to witness/ the remains of love exhumed/ You think we're only here to play/ a game of who loves more than whom." "In the Car" is about teenage romance, and making out in the car. The end of the song throws you for a loop when Steven Page sings that once he had a dream that he slept with her mom "unless I've got this wrong/ unless she hears this song/ unless she hears it/ on a tape inside her car/ with her new husbandand she/ turns to him and says 'I think that's me.'" A piece of lyrical genius.

"Never is Enough" is another catchy one, as well as getting back to the true comedy of the Barenaked Ladies. "Some Fantastic" is dualy sung by Steve and Ed and has a bit of an "island" song. What these Cannucks know about "island" music, I can't be sure. The final song, "When You Dream," is about one of the 'Ladies wondering what his infant son dreams of when he sleeps. It's quiet and thoughtful, sometimes a little goofy as well: "Do you dream about/ Jesus or quantum mechanics/ Or angels who sing lullabies?" Please, for the sake of your own well being, don't listen to this song while driving tired. It will slowly lull you to sleep, like the Beatles' "Goodnight"...zzzz....

All in all, Stunt will not be my favorite Barenaked Ladies album. Some of the songs seem to mechanical and the album as a whole isn't as much of a party as the others. There are some highlights, enough to make it a good record to buy, but if you have never heard the 'Ladies before, I suggest picking up their other stuff as well. However, the band thanks Dave Foley (of the Kids in the Hall), so if you're a freakishly obsessed KITH fan, you'll want to pick it up.

[B+] [89%]

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