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Barenaked Ladies Are Men Enhanced
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|2. Something You'll Never Find|
|3. One and Only|
|4. Angry People|
|5. Down to Earth|
|7. Running Out of Ink|
|8. Half a Heart|
|9. Maybe Not|
|10. I Can I Will I Do|
|11. Fun & Games|
|12. The New Sad|
|14. Another Spin|
|15. What a Letdown|
|16. Why Say Anything Nice?|
Recording session teleased on their own label, Desperation Records, BNL are looking to bring as much music as possible to their fans, in any and all ways currently possible. Are Me may have held back favorites (and future BNL classics) such as 'Angry People,' 'Down To Earth' and 'Maybe Not,' but this collection is filled with all the BNL fans could ever want. Look forward to more remixes from the Are Men session, and to opportunities for fans to send creative content from which Barenaked Ladies will assemble all new and exciting assets!
Barenaked Ladies Are Men is a companion disc to the predecessor, Barenaked Ladies Are Me. Although recorded during the same studio sessions, the discs were released five months apart. Are Me is the quieter of the two, while Are Men could be described as the feistier, noisier twin brother. Given their adult contemporary history, the Ladies's version of 'feisty' is hardly a venture into death metal, however Are Men contains an evolutionary quality that may well bring new fans into the fold. Nearly two decades into their career, the lads' growth can in part be measured by a handful of increasingly layered soundscapes ("Serendipity," "Another Spin") that bear a slight resemblance to the harmonies that the Beach Boys were penning around the time of their Pet Sounds release. The disc's biggest surprise is the politically cutting "Fun & Games," written from the perspective of a world leader assessing the war. "There's no need to draft them/you could hear us laugh then/the poor and black all need the room and board" sings Ed Robertson, as a New Orleans-style jazz band poignantly encircles the vocals. "One and Only" is a lush track that combines the harmonies a la Crosby, Stills, and Nash with a Foo Fighters-style chorus. Longtime fans can rest easy, however knowing that other tracks ("Running out of Ink," "Half a Heart") are done in that straight-up, traditional Barenaked style that fuses catchy pop melodies with clever lyrics. --Denise Sheppard
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If you liked "One Week" or "$1000000", you should give Barenaked Ladies are Men a chance.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
When it comes to individual tracks, it's hard to pick out ones to highlight or mention because they're almost all strong in some regard, but my favorites are the aforementioned Serendipity with its calm rhythm, great vocals, and relaxing harmony and guitar work; Angry People, because of the great "doo"s that the Ladies pull off, it's upbeat spirit, good writing, and megaphone action; Running Out of Ink, just because it's fun; Maybe Not, which has quickly become one of my favorite BNL songs of all time with terrific guitars, musical delivery allowing the vocals to shine, and retro clapping (we need more of that from today's music!); Fun & Games, though not as subtle a political statement (think Shopping very subtly ridiculing the Bush administration's downright laughable reaction to 9/11 before the truly tragic reaction began) does have some terrific nut-shelling of the Iraq debacle as well as how obscene the last congress' session was; Quality, just a downright well built song with some interesting writing and catchy hooks; and finally Another Spin, which has a great guitar work but really shines in its vocal display.
I am truly pleased with this album and again would highly recommend it to anyone. The band did not put any filler on here, as they don't with most of their albums. I do recommend buying both this and the already released Barenaked Ladies Are Me for maximum enjoyment and to get the full effect. Enjoy!
Barenaked Ladies Are Men (2007):
5 Star Songs: 8
4 Star Songs: 3
3 Star Songs: 5
Overall: Very Good - 4.2 / 5
The album covers all the ground you'd expect: from the emotional ballad ("Half a Heart", "The New Sad") to the rock'n'roll roller-coaster ("Something You'll Never Find", "Quality"), not forgetting their trademark witty, literate pop ("Angry People", "Running Out Of Ink"). It's a cliche, but there's something here for everyone.
On the whole, it's more upbeat than its predecessor, but there's no shortage of emotional balladry. "The New Sad" is up there with "War on Drugs" and "The Wrong Man Was Convicted" in terms of pure, gut-wrenching impact; while the semi-acoustic "Half a Heart" and "I Can, I Will, I Do" add to the atmopshere without slowing down the album's oft-frenetic pace. Opener "Serendipity" is vaguely reminiscent of "Are Me"'s opener "Adrift" in tone.
As good as the more downbeat tracks are, however, the real draw of this album are the catchy pop-rock tracks most of us love the Ladies for. The frantic pace of "Something You'll Never Find" and "Running Out of Ink" is reminiscent of the best of They Might Be Giants, and BNL's own "Gordon". "Quality" has one of the finest choruses of any BNL song, while "Angry People" is vaguely reminiscent of a poppier E2E's "Shopping" - but it's far superior, in every sense. Think Beach Boys crossed with "It's All Been Done", and you get the vague idea.
"Down to Earth" and "Maybe Not" are strong, rocky and catchy songs that can hold their own with anything from "Stunt" and "Maroon", the mid-tempo "Another Spin" is a beautiful fusion of jazz, pop and rock, while the closing double complement each other nicely and are superior to "Are Me"'s already-solid closer, "Wind it Up".
Lyrically, BNL remain at the top of their game here, wit, wordplay and sarcasm all present and correct - but I would suggest that the political sentiment of "Fun & Games" is a little too overbearing. I'm not sure whether they're being semi-sarcastic and self-deprecating in their anti war rant, but if they're not it'd probably be a good plan to keep their politics distinct from their music in future. Their hearts are in the right place, no doubt, but it's a little jarring when such a catchy, upbeat song is filled with such harsh and explicit sentiment.
But that is just a very minor criticism of what is honestly a brilliant album. There are no truly 'weak' tracks, and there are plenty of standouts. If you're already a BNL fan, I'm preaching to the converted; if you're not, this is as good a starting point as any.