SameDiff BNL


Billboard, September 2000.

Geek-popsters Barenaked Ladies play it straight with mixed results in the slick follow-up to 1998's "Stunt" - the album that spawned the ubiquitous faux hip-hop tune "One Week." Front men Steven Page and Ed Robertson, who built the band's reputation on smart-alecky anthems like "Be My Yoko Ono" and "If Had $1000000," move further into more mature songwriting as they explore everything from the philosophical (the bittersweet first single "Pinch Me") to unabashed gee-whiz love (the shimmering "Falling For The First Time" and "Go Home"). The band still has a bit of smirkiness in its system - listen to the bouncing "Never Do Anything," a sarcastic look at slacker ambition, and the overly theatrical "Sell Sell Sell" - but unfortunately those moments are too rare here. However, the album's biggest weakness may be the fact that it's front-loaded. After ripping through a half-dozen fun and undeniably catchy pop tracks, the band slowly runs out of momentum as it downshifts into darker thematic territory and Page's crooning. But for fans of the last album, there are enough winning moments early on to make "Maroon" a worthy successor.