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Grinning Streak (Deluxe Edition)

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Album Review

The Barenaked Ladies' 11th studio album, 2013's Grinning Streak, finds the band sticking with the polished, mature sound they delved into on 2010's All in Good Time. The second album the band has released since splitting with lead singer/songwriter Steven Page in 2009, Grinning Streak is also the band's first for Vanguard. Once again, longtime singer/songwriter Ed Robertson takes most of the spotlight here, with keyboardist Kevin Hearn getting one self-penned turn at the mike. Clearly, with Page having been such a huge part of the band’s sound, Barenaked Ladies had a tough time rethinking their identity. Smartly, with All in Good Time, rather than trying to replace Page, the band moved in a more subdued, mature direction, making the most of Robertson's longstanding knack for writing particularly playful, but nonetheless heartfelt alt-rock anthems about love, loss, and the intimate little details that make up our lives. The band sticks to this approach on Grinning Streak with thoughtfully crafted arrangements that mix melodic pop with liberal electronic flourishes. In fact, the album has a bit of an ironic title, as the songs generally feature a tone of poignant reflection. Which isn't to say that the band has lost its sense of humor. On the contrary, it’s still there, but with more of a melancholy edge than when the band was an MTV favorite in the late '90s and early 2000s. To these ends, we get a handful of immediately hummable folk-pop tunes including "Boomerang" and the jaunty, lite-rap, feel-good anthem "Odds Are." While these songs certainly carry a bit more emotional weight than much of BNL's past hits, they also reveal a hopefulness. On "Odds Are," Robertson sings, "Sure, things can go wrong/ But I’ll take my chances/Odds are long, so why not play." Ultimately, while the toothy smiles might be wiped off the faces of Robertson and the rest of the Barenaked Ladies' faces, Grinning Streak reveals that their hearts remains firmly on their sleeves.

Customer Reviews

Keep moving on

Great work guys, just finished streaming the album for the third time, every minute enjoyable. Keep moving forward and do not listen to the Page comments, life moves on. Light years ahead of all in good time, you guys have kept my kids on the grinning streak. Come back to Alberta soon, Ed made my little boys feel real special during the Christmas concerts by winking at them. You guys make Canada real proud:).

They're back!!

This album is absolutely oozing with confidence. All in Good Time was not a bad album, per say, but it was clear that the band was in tatters. Grinning Streak is (IMO) their best effort... Maybe ever. Even the cut tracks sound phenomenal. I've never heard a song with the same sound as Keepin' It Real. Absolutely amazing. I highly recommend. A great blend of poppy, catchy, cool, and thoughtful songs. It's worth the twelve bucks or whatever. Buy!!! You won't regret it!!!

It's been a while

I used to be a die-hard BNL fan. Fan club, every album, most every concert that rolled through Vancouver… t-shirts, stickers, etc. I'd even go to Seattle to catch them when they ignored Canada for a few years. So yeah, former super-fan over here.

Their last album sans-steve wasn't an interest to me at all. I just couldn't get into it.

I've steamed this album, and I have to say, it's growing on me. It's a mix of classic BNL with a large dollop of maturity. It's pop-y and catchy. Maybe a bit on the commercial/radio friendly side, but that's been their direction since Stunt. Nothing wrong with that though.

Some songs are great, other are merely ok. It's enjoyable, a taste of nostalgia for former super-fans like me… it's familiar. Enough for me to shell out $12? I'll need to give it a couple of more goes before I decide.

Biography

Formed: 1988 in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

By combining humor with an eclectic mix of folk and pop/rock, the Barenaked Ladies enjoyed considerable popularity in their native Canada before rising to international status with 1998's "One Week." Vocalists Ed Robertson and Steve Page launched the band in the late '80s as an acoustic act, traveling to different college campuses and playing warm-up gigs for comedy troupes. These early shows played an important role in the group's foundation, as Robertson and Page began injecting their performances...
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Grinning Streak (Deluxe Edition), Barenaked Ladies
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