I had a room mate for about a year who was also a very good friend of mine. She was in between relationships, and we both could have used a a year to share some costs and pay off some debts. I’m not sure how successful that part of the venture was, but we did spend a good amount of time together, which included many nights of living room karaoke via Youtube. Among the songs she sang was one that I was vaguely familiar with, but became enamored with when she sang it. To this day I still curse her any time this song gets stuck in my head.
#57 “What A Good Boy” by Barenaked Ladies. Shocked I was when I discovered several months ago that this songs hails from way back in 1992 from the group’s album “Gordon”. As big as they made it later with several hits like “One Week” and the theme song to TV’s wildly popular “Big Bang Theory”, poor little me was oblivious to music when I was a child and I never really knew how long the boys in Barenaked Ladies (none of them ladies, mind you) had been kicking it.
Their album “Gordon” was actually produced in part with monetary winnings from a local radio station in Canada. Now that is some good old fashioned enterprise. Their style has always been on the eclectic side, and this song shows it.
“What A Good Boy” is a charming little ballad that showcases the funny group’s softer side. They still have their signature quickly sung verses and wordplay, but they keep things moderately paced and sweet with some stylish acoustics and the invitation to “be with me tonight” is hard to resist.
As far as the video is concerned, I’m not really sure what is going on. There are some shots and montages of a boy and some teen-aged kids doing some stuff, but I think those images are merely there to provide a minimum of context to what the song is about. Aside from looking younger, they look pretty much like they do later in the decade, and you could fool me into believing that this song is a more recent release. The highlights of the video are the band members with their various instruments and, for some odd reason, one of them dressed like a Mountie.
Oh yeah. They’re Canadian. I guess they just wanted to remind you.
Overall, it’s a melancholic song, a serenade from one lonely person to another, possibly in dive bar somewhere. Maybe it’s about when times were better, like when we were children. Or maybe it’s like when my friend sang it in our living room, as an ode to old lovers who didn’t stay but you wish that they’d return for just one more night. It’s hard to poke fun at a song or even a group that pokes so much fun at everything, but this is a side of Barenaked Ladies that gives you an earnest glimpse into their tender and artsy qualities. Behind the humor and wit is some love. Or something.
Or maybe someone was just really depressed when he wrote this.