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Barenaked Ladies | Are Me | review | alternative | Lollipop

Barenaked Ladies

Are Me (Desperation)
by Tim Den

My god, has it really been 12 years since the video for "Jane" made me a huge fan of Barenaked Ladies? And to think, it's been eight years since their breakthrough hit "One Week" made me turn my back on them. Okay, so Stunt had its moments, but for all intents and purposes, the Barenaked Ladies that I loved - jazzy harmonies, mellow acoustic accompaniment, touching vocal lines - hopped on the "modern radio/slick rock" train and left their old fans behind. Two more records and a new, D.I.Y. label later, it appears that the Ladies have come to their senses and returned to what made them great in the first place. Are Me, the band's first record on the self-owned Desperation label, is everything I could ever dream of getting from classic Barenaked Ladies: Heartwarming hooks, autumn-esque guitar/mandolin pickings, Sunday drive tempos, at once soothing your ears and raising the hairs on your arms. The songs are back, my friends! In fact, the first two entries, "Adrift" and "Bank Job," are worth a trillion dollars each, capable of making entire nations fall to their knees with their tender beauty. It's hard to belief how easily the band have been able to reclaim their craft. The first time I heard this record, I was literally shaking my head in blissful disbelief. To say Are Me contains some of the best songs of the year would not be far off.

What's more, the adolescent frivolity and carefree attitude of yore have been replaced with a sense of graceful maturity. You can't hide your years, and in Are Me, what the listener encounters is a group of musicians who've been there, done that, and can now do what they do best effortlessly. Barenaked Ladies didn't have to force themselves to write such an incredible album, they simply had to be a band for 15 years.

Forget everything the average person would have you believe about Barenaked Ladies, because chances are, they didn't know the band before the big radio singles. Come and embrace Are Me, because the masters of feel-good somber pop are reigning once more.


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