Song of the Day #112: ‘Jane’ – Barenaked Ladies

bnlI saw Ben Folds on a TV special the other day and he talked about a lesson he learned from Vincent Price. Price said that you can’t have a truly scary horror movie unless it’s also a little bit funny. It’s the contrast that sells you on the fear.

Folds said he uses the same principle in his music, leavening the sad, serious stuff with the ridiculous and ironic. And, in addition to Folds, the group that jumps to mind when I think about that theory is Barenaked Ladies.

Starting with their name, this is a band that has thoroughly embraced the ludicrous throughout their long career. From song titles as silly as ‘Be My Yoko Ono’ and clever as ‘The King of Bedside Manor’ to their hilarious asides mid-song, such as the appreciation of Kraft Macaroni-n-Cheese found in ‘If I Had $1,000,000,’ their music is never short on laughs.

But they heed Vincent Price’s advice, and tackle the serious stuff too. ‘Call & Answer’ is one of the loveliest relationship songs I’ve heard; ‘When I Fall’ starts as a simple song about a window washer but turns into a meditation on life.

‘Jane’ isn’t quite funny and it isn’t quite serious, and it’s one of my favorite BNL songs. I love the acoustic guitar lick and the chorus. It paints a splendid picture of a hard-to-get woman without giving much detail at all. I also feel that, along with the singing duos behind Squeeze and Fountains of Wayne, Barenaked Ladies’ Steven Page and Ed Robertson have some of the best voices in pop music.

6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #112: ‘Jane’ – Barenaked Ladies

  1. Dana says:

    I always enjoy listeing to BNL–great sound.

  2. pegclifton says:

    I like the song, and it’s nice to read the lyrics along with the music. I must say I have never heard of most of these groups; I’m learning a lot πŸ™‚

  3. Amy says:

    Well, this blog has me googling “Jane and Evan,” to understand one of the references I’m not getting and heading off to find “Call & Answer” and “When I Fall.” So, all in all, you’ve done your job well πŸ™‚

    I don’t know this band well, other than the songs you’ve put on compilation tapes back in the day, but I do like their sound very much. I also am fascinated by Price’s notion, as shared by Folds. Makes sense. Maybe that’s why we all loved and parroted that Nothing in Common tagline way back when – “It’s a comedy. And a drama. Just like life.”

  4. Amy says:

    Judging by the fact that “Call and Answer” just popped up in the previous You Tube search, I’m guessing Dana did the same thing this morning πŸ™‚

    And – now I’m realizing this is one of the songs I ADORED from one of those old dusty tapes. Wow. I truly do loooooooove this song. Thank you for reminding me of its existence.

  5. Amy says:

    How great is this video? Keanu Reeves + Barenaked Ladies = I have to watch
    The Matrix again.

  6. Clay says:

    That’s a great Matrix video. There are some really talented editors out there in YouTube land.

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