Song of the Day #350: ‘Light Up My Room’ – Barenaked Ladies

stuntAnd then they hit it big. Big in relative terms, anyway, although selling 4 million copies of an album (particularly these days) is no small feat.

The band’s fourth album, Stunt, reached those heights courtesy of its infectious first single, ‘One Week.’ Even those of you who’ve never heard a BNL album all the way through have certainly heard this song. “It’s been one week since you looked at me… cocked your head to the side and said ‘I’m angry.’” You know it. One of the finest examples of white boy pop rap I’ve ever heard (a category that includes such tunes as R.E.M.’s ‘It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine),’ Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ and Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’).

In addition to that runaway hit, Stunt is probably best known for the beautiful love ballad ‘Call and Answer.’ I was tempted to feature that song today but it’s found a place in the blog once already when frequent commenter Amy dug up a live solo performance of the tune by BNL lead singer Steven Page. It’s a truly special song, one of my favorites.

I’m highlighting a lesser-known track today, but another beauty. ‘Light Up My Room’ is the first song I’ve featured this week that’s performed by Barenaked Ladies’ other lead singer, Ed Robertson. Page has a smoother voice but Robertson brings his own charm to the songs he performs… it’s a Lennon/McCartney thing, always the right singer for the right song.

This song paints a surreal portrait of a town infused with electricity from nearby power lines (or a hydrofield, as it’s called in Canada). I suppose if I had to sum up the message of this song in one phrase it would be ‘always look at the bright side’ (pun intended). Robertson describes a “field full of tires that is always on fire” but uses it to light his way home. The family hears radio broadcasts through their fillings… but it’s just an excuse to dance.

A hydrofield cuts through my neighborhood
Somehow that always just made me feel good
I can put a spare bulb in my hand
And light up my yard

Late at night when the wires in the walls
Sing in tune with the din of the falls
I’m conducting it all while I sleep
To light this whole town

If you question what I would do
To get over and be with you
Lift you up over everything
To light up my room

There’s a shopping cart in the ravine
The foam on the creek is like pop and ice cream
A field full of tires that is always on fire
To light my way home

There are luxuries we can’t afford
But in our house we never get bored
We can dance to the radio station
That plays in our teeth

If you question what I would do
To get over and be with you
Lift you up over everything
To light up my room, my room

A hydrofield cuts through my neighborhood
Somehow that always just made me feel good
I can put a spare bulb in my hand
And light up my yard
Light up my yard
Lights in my yard

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3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #350: ‘Light Up My Room’ – Barenaked Ladies

  1. Dana says:

    Another good BNL song, although you now have me wanting to hear One Week, with its classic line “Chickity china the chinese chicken. You have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin.

    Now, THAT is a great lyric!

  2. Amy says:

    Okay, first things first. Dana requests, so I must find… but instead of the official video, I found this. Apparently, they have posted a whole series in the “bathroom sessions.” I think this week, and this discovery, may have made Barenaked Ladie my new favorite group :)

    As for today’s song, I just love it. The fact that this album also contains the one song my kids will likely know and love, and my beloved “Call and Response” clearly means this is an album I must own, yet somehow I can’t find it in my collection. Off to Best Buy…

  3. Amy says:

    In an homage to another theme week where you featured unknown artists covering great songs, I found this nameless guy (tonadocanemusic?) who has covered a bunch of songs, including “Call and Answer,” as it had not been featured in “The Bathroom Sessions.” Pretty impressive, I think. I like him. Of course, he’s got great source material.

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