SameDiff BNL


USA Today, September 2000.

Barenaked Ladies, Maroon The Toronto band's U.S. breakthrough album, Stunt, sold 3.4 million copies and spawned verbose hit One Week, which threatened to strip Barenaked Ladies of substance and staying power. Rather than trade on the frisky charms of that fluke novelty, the group is gambling on sophistication, serious life issues and a shameless wallow in classic pop. While Barenaked's fifth studio album, produced by Don Was, contains ample schoolyard mischief, it also grapples with mature subjects and distinctly unfunny themes, especially in the harrowing and graphic car-crash epic Tonight Is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel. The 12 tracks nimbly fuse bright jangly guitars and peppy melodies with often disturbing or fretful lyrics. In first single Pinch Me, the dreary tale of a man mired in tedium unfolds over a shimmering slice of upbeat pop. The tug of war between the silly and the serious gets literal in Never Do Anything, where a cheeky remark counters every pained confession. Remove the strident and overwrought Sell Sell Sell and Maroon suggests itself as a worthy disc.

Score: 3 stars (out of possible 4).