Call for Music Writers... Rock, Indie, Urban, Electronic, Americana, Metal, World and More

Music
cover art

Barenaked Ladies

Hits From Yesterday and the Day Before

(Rhino; US: 27 Sep 2011; UK: 17 Oct 2011)

With a 20-year career under their belts and a few memorable songs, it might seem like a good time for a greatest hits compilation from the Barenaked Ladies. On the other hand, the band’s biggest hit, “One Week”, dates all the way back to 1998. Furthermore, BNL covered a lot of ground on their first greatest hits compilation back in 2001, and their songs haven’t exactly been burning up the charts over the past 10 years.


So what’s the motivation for Rhino to release Hits From Yesterday and the Day Before? Well, The Big Bang Theory, now in its fifth season, has grown into a major television success. And Barenaked Ladies’ theme song for the show has never been released on cd before, so there you go. Hits From Yesterday and the Day Before is strictly for casual fans and curious listeners who might want to hear the band’s basics beyond “The Big Bang Theory Theme”.


As a greatest hits collection, this album gets the job done. The songs are arranged in chronological order, which doesn’t do the disc any favors in terms of flow, but otherwise it makes sense. It starts with the classic “If I Had $1,000,000” and ends with “You Run Away”, the lead single from 2010’s All in Good Time. Because the album is being marketed to people in the U.S., it wastes little time in getting to “One Week”, tracked fourth on the album. Rhino throws longtime fans a bone and includes minor American hits “The Old Apartment” and “Brian Wilson (Live)”, but by and large Hits From Yesterday and the Day Before is concerned with the songs BNL put out from “One Week” onwards. A hypothetical Canadian edition of this album would undoubtedly include the Toronto-area band’s very first hit, “Be My Yoko Ono”, and at least a couple of the singles from their second album Maybe You Should Drive, which isn’t represented here at all.


Other than those quibbles about the band’s early career, though, it’s tough to argue with the songs selected for the album. It’s difficult to put together an entire compilation full of actual hits for all but the biggest artists, so Rhino settles for loading up the disc with singles. I have a tough time imagining anyone but existing fans remembering the songs “Call and Answer”, “Testing 1, 2, 3”, or “Easy”, but they were all released as singles. The band’s other hits such as “It’s All Been Done”, “Pinch Me”, and “Another Postcard” are all present and accounted for, and just as fun as ever.


And “fun,” it turns out, is the operative word here. The Barenaked Ladies’ template of catchy, slightly goofy pop songs with a minimum of production tricks means that their music is pretty evergreen. A track like “The Old Apartment” doesn’t sound dated despite coming out in the mid-‘90s. Even better is “Too Little Too Late”, a power-pop gem that’s lost none of its charm since it was released in 2000. These may not be quite the cream of the crop as far as the best BNL songs go, but that’s not really the point. Hits From Yesterday and Today promises the hits, and in that regard it certainly delivers.

Rating:

Media
Barenaked Ladies- Big Bang Theory Theme (Live at Comic-Con)
Related Articles
16 Jul 2013
Having successfully found the space they so avidly looked for, Ben Folds Five are back to show us you really can go home again. Their live set seamlessly blends classics with their new songs, showing there's plenty more hit material to mine with this threesome.
20 Jun 2013
This album is the sound of a veteran band punching the clock. Barenaked Ladies knows how to write a solid pop song but there isn't much energy or enthusiasm behind these tracks.
1 Dec 2010
BNL still knows how to put on a show, but they are definitely struggling to deal with the lack of Steven Page onstage, even after a year of concerts as a four-piece.
16 Jan 2008
Listening to a Barenaked Ladies concert CD can sometimes be a little like Evening at the Improv, only with music.
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements
PopMatters' LUCY Giveaway! in PopMatters's Hangs on LockerDome

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.