SameDiff BNL

Steven Page's list of Music You Should Hear, 1st June, 2005.

When Barenaked Ladies cofounder Steven Page's 'The Vanity Project' works, it works spectacularly. The first single, "That's All, That's All," showcases his unmistakably boffo voice with a snappy Beatlesque tune, resisting triteness by way of graceful, lovelorn lyrics. "Wilted Rose" returns him to his native Canada in several verses for some sharp-witted political commentary that sits well with his straightforward, intelligent delivery. "So. Cal" sends us back to good 'ol classic-pop school where Phil Spector and Brian Wilson preside behind the lectern. Binding these songs is an honest, cameras-off stab at introspection. 'The Vanity Project' also spotlights Page's frequent writing partner and musical accomplice, Stephen Duffy of the Lilac Time. Both he and Page performed the music with occasional guest appearances from friends (BNL's Kevin Hearn) and family (Page's brother, Matthew).

We asked Steven to tell us about the music he loves and thinks his fans should hear, and this is what he had to say.

Steven Page's List of Music You Should Hear

'Get Lost', Magnetic Fields

Some of my favorite songs in the world ever. I think I may have spent the past eight years rewriting "The Desperate Things You Make Me Do."

'This Perfect World', Freedy Johnston

Sad, beautiful, and not a bit dated 11 years on.

'Looking for a Day in the Night', the Lilac Time

Once my favorite, always my favorite. Stephen Duffy, as well as making the Vanity Project with me, is one of the best songwriters anywhere. "Back in the Car Park" kills me every time.

'More Adventurous', Rilo Kiley

My favorite album of last year. What great storytelling/singing/guitar playing.

'Get Away from Me', Nellie McKay

From the first note of "David" I knew I was in love. A scary, intense, amazing talent.

'Everclear', American Music Club

Maybe not the tour de force that is 'Mercury', but it contains some of my favourite AMC songs, including "Why Won't You Stay?"

'Violent Femmes', Violent Femmes

The album that made me want to be in a band.

'Back to Basics', Billy Bragg

His amazing stage presence, humor, poignancy, and conviction make Bill a constant inspiration.

'Blood & Chocolate', Elvis Costello and the Attractions

I will never forget the first time I heard "I Want You," lying in bed after midnight. It kept me awake for hours. This album is what I have always thought a rock band together in a room should sound like on record.

'Big Time', Tom Waits

I was lucky enough to see the 'Frank's Wild Years' tour in 1987 and I will always treasure this souvenir, especially Marc Ribot's mind-blowing guitar playing on "Rain Dogs."

'Death of a Ladies Man', Leonard Cohen

Phil Spector, Leonard Cohen, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, and a whole lot of booze. Creepy, deeply personal, hard to listen to, and, after a while, it became my favorite from the Grocer of Despair.

'Sings Jacques Brel', Scott Walker

Brel wore his heart on his sleeve. Scott Walker wore Brel's heart on his sleeve, and with the help of Mort Shuman's translations, mashed it deep into the fabric of his coat.

'A Boot and a Shoe', Sam Phillips

Everything she does is amazing, and this may well be her best.

'Blonde on Blonde', Bob Dylan

For every "Visions of Johanna," there is a "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat." From blues-rock piss-takes to the most impressive heart-rending and mind-bending lyric writing of the '60s, there isn't a dull moment on this record.

'Good Old Boys', Randy Newman

How can one album have so many songs like "Marie" and "Rednecks" that cut so close to the quick?

'Hearts and Bones', Paul Simon

Almost perfect writing, sadly dated early-'80s production. Still, it's a sort of song textbook for me.