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Barenaked Ladies – Original Hits, Original Stars vinyl review

The Canadian band showcase some of their best hits for the first time on vinyl.

Barenaked Ladies
Credit: Rhino
Barenaked Ladies - Original Hits, Original Stars

Credit: Rhino

Canadian alt-rock band Barenaked Ladies are best-known here in the UK for their 1998 hit One Week, which appeared in American Pie. In their native Canada, the band were already huge by that point with three big-selling albums under their belts and plenty of hit singles. They still continue to sell well in Canada but their popularity in other parts of the world has waned in the years since One Week. The band recently collected 12 of their hits and released them for the first time on vinyl.

Original Hits, Original Stars spans the bands entire career kicking off with Pinch Me from their 2000 fifth album Maroon. The gentle acoustic-led verses lead into the sing-rapping that was frontman Ed Robertson’s signature style. Their music was, and continues to be, very radio-friendly with a sense of fun around it and people that didn’t check out their work prior to 1998’s global smash album Stunt really missed out. Songs such as Testing 1, 2, 3 from 2003’s Everything to Everyone are more mature than the songs the band are known for and most importantly they were very distinctively Barenaked Ladies.

Other than One Week, the song on this record that most people will know is the Big Band Theory Theme. The playful tune fitted perfectly with the long-running popular comedy series and I’m sure it’s made the band plenty of money, allowing them to record music and pursue projects they feel passionate about. Is it one of their best songs? Not really but it’s instantly familiar. The better songs here include the early hit If I Had $1000000 from 1992 debut album Gordon, which is a chirpy and optimistic folksy track, and the rockier The Old Apartment from 1996’s Born on a Pirate Ship.

For me the standout is It’s All Been Done, which featured alongside One Week on Stunt. It was the follow-up to One Week but it didn’t match that song’s success anywhere other than in Canada. It’s a shame as it’s much more reflective of who the band is than One Week was. The newer material stands up too, some of which came after founding member Steven Page left the band. Odds Are from 2013’s Grinning Streak is a funky and catchy number, while You Run Away Original Hits, Original Stars, from 2010’s All in Good Time, shows that the band can convince with a heartfelt ballad too.

Barenaked Ladies is a band I feel never got the credit they deserved and to be honest outside of Canada they still don’t. They had so much more to offer than just One Week and while that song is a classic, it’s not the best single they’ve ever had. Original Hits, Original Stars is a timely reminder of just how great and varied the band’s music is and shows they are still relevant in today’s music industry.

Track list: Side A – 1. Pinch Me 2. Testing 3. The Old Apartment 4. It’s All Been Done 5. Falling For the First Time 6. Easy Side B – 1. Brian Wilson (Live) 2. Odds Are 3. Big Bang Theory 4. One Week 5. If I Had $1000000 6. You Run Away Record label: Raisin’ Records / Rhino Release date: 4th October 2019 Buy Original Hits Original Stars

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