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09 July 2010 @ 10:54 am
Bp's Song of the Week #86: Barenaked Ladies "You Run Away"  
Barenaked Ladies “You Run Away”
from their 2010 CD, All in Good Time

It was a couple of months after the release of the current Barenaked Ladies that I finally was able to check it out. Back in the college I heard about them via the Rush community for years (after their 10-second nod to “Tom Sawyer” on their debut), but it wasn’t until “One Week” that I checked them out and quickly picked up their back catalog falling in love with their ironic humor and crafty songwriting.

The post-Stunt material I wasn’t as enamored with for some reason. Each album eluded me for reasons that I couldn’t quite nail down. There were magic moments of pop-perfection, “Brian Wilson,” “What a Good Boy,” “Light Up My Room,” “Box Set,” “The Old Apartment,” and the list goes on. When I throw out “pop-perfection” I’m not saying that they could write a tasty jingle, their catalog is rich with absolute brilliance. You knew it when you heard it – it was definitely tingle-worthy. I couldn’t find any of that magic on the 2000-era albums. Maybe I was in the wrong place or didn’t give them enough attention – I do need to revisit them at some point.

So when the new album came out earlier this year, the first without co-founder Steven Page, I wasn’t rushing out to hear it although I was very curious to hear what they would be like as a four-piece band. I had watched the Q-TV interview with Steven last year and was interested to hear what direction they would go, how would the interplay between Steve and Ed Robertson be handled? Their chemistry was electric, how would the band work without that.

I had not heard a note when I finally popped in BNL’s latest a month ago. “You Run Away” opens the album and literally within seconds that BNL magic was re-ignited in me. This was miles above what I’d been hearing from them and it was extremely serious, direct and it answered the question how they would handle the elephant in the room. The answer was to kick off the album with a heartfelt and uncomfortable song directly addressing the issue. Ed & Steven had been the co-frontmen for 20 years and the split wasn’t easy on either of them. In the press they both took the high road and things never became ugly, but you got the picture that there was pain on both sides. And here it was from Ed’s perspective on track one: “You run away / You could turn, and stay / But you run away from me / I made a mess, who doesn't / I did my best / But it wasn't enough…”

And the magic was back.

You Run Away
You run away
You could turn and stay
But you run away from me

I tried to be
Your brother
You cried and ran for cover

I made a mess, who doesn't
I did my best
But it wasn't enough

You run away
You could turn and stay
But you run away from me

I'll give you something you can cry about
One thing, you should try it out
Hold a mirror shoulder-high
When you're older, look you in the eye

I tried, but you tried harder
I lied, but you lied smarter
You made me guess, who was it?
I did my best but it wasn't enough

You run away
You could turn and stay
But you run away from me

You run away (I tried to be your brother)
You could turn and stay (you cried and ran for cover)
But you run away (I made a mess who doesn't)
From me (I did my best but it wasn't enough)

It's not something to cry about
It's not something to lie about

More Barenaked Ladies:
You Run Away (live)
Brian Wilson (live)
What a Good Boy (live)
If I Had a Million Dollars
The King of Bedside Manor/Moondance (Bathroom Sessions)