Editor's Rating

"I have a history of losing my shirt"

8

Barenaked Ladies continue to get a bad rap, particularly here in the UK, where they are primarily known for their one hit wonder status courtesy of “One Week”, and the theme to love it / hate it mainstream comedy The Big Bang Theory. While admittedly knowing, arch, and just a bit too smart-arse, Barenaked Ladies do not deserve to be dismissed as a one note novelty act, as this compilation (the title of which sneakily references one of their more smart arse tracks, though one sadly absent from this compilation) demonstrates to great effect.

Released in 2001 in an attempt to capitalise on “One Week” hitting the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, and trying to make up for the fact that there was no similar cross over hit on 2000’s Maroon, Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits (1991-2001) does exactly what its title suggests, in that it works as an introduction to Barenaked Ladies for those whose attention was grabbed by their crossover hit, which means that it has always made a lot more sense to UK fans than it did in North America.

While Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits (1991-2001) might confuse some due to its non-chronological sequencing, this approach creates some successful smoke and mirrors, so it’s less obvious that much of Barenaked Ladies best work was on their 1992 major label debut, Gordon. Granted, both “Brian Wilson” and “What a Good Boy” are represented in live versions, it can’t be escaped that in terms of songwriting, Gordon might still be Barenaked Ladies’ high water mark, but this compilation makes a good case for them being much more consistent than many would expect based on their biggest hit.

In regards to “One Week” itself, while many detest it, I myself really don’t mind it, possibly because I didn’t hear it as often as many did when it was receiving blanket airplay. Granted, it’s not particularly representative of Barenaked Ladies’ output, but it demonstrates that not only could they do super-catchy pop, but they could make a focused assault on the charts when it suited them.

Being 17 years old, Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits (1991-2001) is now significantly out of date, and their are more recent compilations of Barenaked Ladies material available. However, it can also be found cheap and is a perfect introduction to the band prior to Steven Page splitting from their ranks.