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Barenaked Ladies: Hits From Yesterday and the Day Before

Do you want to hear "The Big Bang Theory Theme", "One Week", and other Barenaked Ladies songs that you maybe kinda-sorta remember? Are you too lazy or disinterested to track down the original albums or buy the individual tracks online? Then this greatest hits compilation is for you.


Barenaked Ladies

Hits From Yesterday and the Day Before

Label: Rhino
US Release Date: 2011-09-27
UK Release Date: 2011-10-17
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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.

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