"Thanks that was fun. Don't forget. No regrets. Except maybe one."

On February 24, 2009, I learned what it felt like to be a Beatles fan on April 10, 1970. This is the day that I learned that Steven Page was leaving the Barenaked Ladies to go solo. The news devastated me. BNL has been my favorite band for about five or so years now. Of course I heard their hit singles during the nineties while growing up. I was familiar with “One Week,” “Pinch Me,” and “If I had a Million Dollars.” I didn’t realize at the time that they were all the same band. It was Heidi who first led me to realize I loved this band. She made me a few mix CDs with various BNL songs on them. When I realized I loved the songs and they were all the same band, I decided to buy their Greatest Hits album. I loved that so much that I bought their first album, Gordon. After that, it was all history as they say. Subsequently I bought and loved the rest of their albums. In 2003 when they released a new album (Everything to Everyone) I listened to it obsessively. Then I heard they were coming to town. As I didn’t want to go to a concert by myself, I begged anyone and everyone I knew to come with me. My brother Tyler, being a casual fan, agreed. In March of 2003 we went to their concert.

It was one of the best nights of my life.

I was amazed at how they sounded even better live. Not only was their music great, they were funny and entertaining. I jumped up and down like a maniac. I screamed at the top of my lungs. I sang along. I almost hyperventilated due to the excitement.

After that, I continued to be a huge fan. I tried converting everyone I knew to them. I was successful with a few, including my now-husband Austin. (He actually knows the words better than I do to lots of their songs.)

In 2007 Austin and I were able to go see them in concert. Though I was able to contain my excitement a little better this time, it was still an awesome concert. They just kept getting better and better.

If all you know is their hit singles, you should really listen to more of their work. I like their singles, but I love the rest of their work more. (I promise the rest of their stuff is simply AWESOME if you give it a chance.) They can write really silly lyrics (“Another Postcard”), introspective lyrics (“War on Drugs”), moving lyrics (“When I Fall”), witty, wordplay-filled lyrics (“A”), sad lyrics (“Powder Blue”), story-filled lyrics (“Old Apartment”) and bitingly political lyrics (“Fun & Games). Basically they’re brilliant. You just don’t get lyrics like these just anywhere or from just anyone:

“You can shine like silver all you want but you’re just aluminum”

“I'm a public embarrassment/I'm a bottle of diet poison
I'm a walking advertisement/For everything I never meant
And everything I never meant to be”
--“Bull in a China Shop”

“When you die they make a list of every love you never kissed/Of each regret and each mistake/Every choice you'll fail to make
Oh well...”
--“Next Time”

“Friend, this shouldn't be the way things end/But then, a break is just around the bend.
And when you tell me as I leave/You're scared you'll never see my face again
Well, I'm not sure it's the truth/You don't think I can love you/But I can and I will and I do”
--“I Can I Will I Do”

“Don't call me a zero/I'm gonna be a hero
Like Phil Esposito or the Kennedys

I'll be incorporated/And I'll be imitated
And overrated, but that doesn't bother me”

“I wax poetic as you’re waxing your legs”
--“Blame It on Me”

“I climb the walls of my mind just like I’m climbing/On the jungle gym.
I am more than content with the/State of mind I am in.
Cause I am crazy just like you.”

“When you walked in, I said with a grin/That we were just talking about you
We all had to lie because you would cry/If you knew we were laughing at you”
--“Humour of the Situation”

Okay, I could post much, much more. They have about 200 songs. Anyway, they’re brilliant.

So, why am I so sad about Steve leaving? Well, he was the cofounder and cofrontsman of the group. He wrote or cowrote a majority of the songs. He also sang at least half of them. I love Steve’s voice. It’s distinctive and strong. I can’t imagine anyone else singing his songs. To me, him and his voice were the heart and soul of Barenaked Ladies. I’ve always preferred “Steve songs” to “Ed songs.” Not only that but he was a major presence in the live shows. The live shows have always been about the banter between Ed and Steve. They played off each other and brought excitement to everything they did. I can't imagine "If I Had a Million Dollars" without him. That song was and will always be Ed and Steve's duet. Losing Steve is like losing John Lennon. (In an interesting side-note, there have been some rumors that Steve’s new girlfriend is partly to blame. Extra ironic considering the band’s early hit song “Be My Yoko Ono” in which Steve sings “If I were John and you were Yoko I would gladly give up musical genius. Just to have you as my very own personal Venus.”) Though John and Paul were both talented separately, together they were brilliant. It was their partnership that made the Beatles so great. They pushed each other to be better. BNL is the same way. What is Ed without Steve or Steve without Ed? The band has decided to continue on as a four-man group, but it will never be the same. I love the other members of the band, but let’s face it…losing Steve is a huge blow. The Barenaked Ladies that I fell in love with and obsessed over the last several years will never be the same. And for that, I can’t help but mourn. (“It took me a year to believe it was over. It took me two more to get over the loss.”)


Anonymous said…
You said this very succinctly and I will miss the BNL that once was as well.

You left out "Life is easy try to remember, but it's gone. Try to scream but it only comes out as a yawn."
Anonymous said…
I think you mean "It's like a dream you try to remember but it's gone.

Then you try to scream but it only comes out as a yawn."
Heather said…
Hmm, if Steve is going solo, then that means more creative control over his songs and lyrics. You will still get to enjoy the sound of his voice.

Sorry, any and all bands do not really tug at my heartstrings.

But if society decides that rock n roll isn't cool anymore, and gov't bans it, then I will fall down and cry.

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