Barenaked Ladies – Detour de Force: Am I coming off like my hits don’t stink?

Artist: Barenaked Ladies
Album: Detour de Force
Year: 2021
Grade: C

In Brief: Another mediocre release from this long-running band that reveals their idea tank to be almost completely empty. I say “almost” because there is some occasional wit and insight for those willing to dig through the deep cuts and listen for more than just the occasional bouncy call-back to their 90s heyday. They’ve given all three of their songwriters something to do, and the diversity is appreciated, even if a lot of the ideas don’t really stick. Let’s just say that I appreciate the “detours” on this album a lot more than the “force”.

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Metric – Art of Doubt: Help, they’re still alive!

Artist: Metric
Album: Art of Doubt
Year: 2018
Grade: B

In Brief: Metric comes back strong with a bit more rock energy than heard on 2015’s Pagans in Vegas, without losing the electronic flourishes that have always made them stand out. A handful of songs here are formidable not only due to their strong choruses and riffs, but also their sheer length. But what starts out as a good thing threatens to weigh the album down by midway through, making the last third of this hour-long disc a bit of a chore to finish. Trimming a little of the fat would have made this album a home run, but it’s still a solid outing for Metric that shows they’ve got plenty of gas left in the tank.

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Barenaked Ladies – Fake Nudes: Relax, this isn’t Breitbart porn.

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Artist: Barenaked Ladies
Album: Fake Nudes
Year: 2017
Grade: B

In Brief: I’m not gonna pretend any of this is super deep, or that the band could ever replace the unique voice of Steven Page, but it’s time for us to get over that. Fake Nudes, despite the awkward title, is a lighthearted, fun, and occasionally even beautiful pop/rock record with just enough curveballs to remind me that the group’s still got some of that old creative spark left.

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Metric – Pagans in Vegas: Just keep going strong with whatever it is that’s compelling you on.

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Artist: Metric
Album: Pagans in Vegas
Year: 2015
Grade: B

In Brief: For the first eight tracks, it’s a solid synthpop/indie rock record, easily as strong as some of the best material on Fantasies. Unfortunately things go south for the last four tracks, especially on the closing instrumental suite.

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Barenaked Ladies – Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits 1991-2001: What a Good Band, What a Smart Band, What a Witty Band

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Artist: Barenaked Ladies
Album: Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits 1991-2001
Year: 2001
Grade: A+

In Brief: An excellent overview of the versatility and songwriting skill demonstrated in the band’s first 10 years. This is the rare “best-of” project that gets it almost exactly right.

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