• James Hewlett

Brand New After Twenty Years

Yesterday in the van I was listening to the Barenaked Ladies album, Stunt. This was their 1998 release, the fourth studio album but fifth main release for the band. Thanks to the lead single, One Week it is still their most successful album today.

I've always loved the album, it's one of those records that is brilliant start to finish. I don't think I've ever considered it to be may favourite of theirs, maybe I have at some point, but I find picking a favourite BNL album as hard as I find picking a favourite Star Wars movie.

The thing I realised yesterday though was that in the twenty years and change that I've been listening to Stunt, hearing all of the songs thousands of times, I've related to different songs at different stages of my life. I've always enjoyed each track on the album but at various points of time something about one song or another have just connected with me and resonated in a way that has made them feel brand new and more relevant than ever.

At some point when I was a teenager I remember Some Fantastic being that track. A little later, when I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life Never Is Enough felt like it was written about me. When I was DJing lots and out late every night Who Needs Sleep? connected more.

When I was listening to the album yesterday, the one two punch of Alcohol into Call and Answer in the middle of the album resonated with me more than they ever have before. I'm going to insert a few lyrics from Alcohol here and I think just the entirety of Call and Answer. Credit for both is former vocalist Stephen Page and his regular collaborator who wasn't in the band, Steven Duffy. I only realised this recently and found it interesting as it is more regular for me to lean more towards the Ed Robertson tracks from the band. Maybe it's just my current mood and mindset.

I find it really interesting that despite never being a huge band BNL have such a loyal and lovely fanbase. I tweeted about these thoughts yesterday and I blew up and got more attention than anything I've tweeted in a long time. The discussions I ended up having with total strangers about songs from this album were all so amazing.

This is the bridge from Alcohol.

"I thought that Alcohol was just for those with Nothing else to do I thought that drinking just to get drunk Was a waste of precious booze But now I know that there's a time And there's a place where I can choose To walk the fine line between Self-control and self-abuse"

I like this because it's not a glorification of getting smashed, but an understanding and an acceptance that sometimes you just want to have a drink. Understanding that there is a fine line between self-control and self-abuse is key. I stay on the right side of that for anyone reading this and worrying.

The next one is... well it hit me like a ton of bricks and it was as if I'd never heard the song before.

Call and Answer

"I think it's getting to the point

Where I can be myself againI think it's getting to the point

Where we have almost made amends

I think it's the getting to the point

That is the hardest part

And if you call, I will answer

And if you fall, I'll pick you up

And if you court this disaster

I'll point you home

I'll point you home

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 here to play

A game of who loves more than whom

And if you call, I will answer

And if you fall, I'll pick you up

And if you court this disaster

You think it's only fair to do what's best for

You and you alone

You think it's only fair to do the same to me

When you're not home

I think it's time to make this something that is

More than only fair

So if you call, I will answer And if you fall, I'll pick you up And if you court this disaster I'll point you home

But I'm warning you, don't ever do Those crazy, messed-up things that you do If you ever do I promise you I'll be the first to crucify you Now it's time to prove that you've come back here to rebuild Rebuild

Rebuild Rebuild Rebuild Rebuild Rebuild Rebuild Rebuild Rebuild Rebuild"

#Barenakedladies #music #resonance #meaning #memories #marriage #difficulties #powerofmusic #albums #spotlight


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