Wednesday, February 25, 2009

BNL "moves forward:" feeling melancholic (part 1)

Barenaked Ladies say they have not "broken up." Barenaked Ladies will continue to exist, but not as my dear wife and I have known them from our early days of dating. While traveling home from Ash Wednesday worship this evening, I tuned in to one of my favorite radio programs "As It Happens" on CBC Radio (my computer's home page), and learned that Stephen Page has left the band to pursue a solo career (You can listen to this interview if you're patient with this audio file). I may lay awake tonight feeling melancholic about this change. It feels like a divorce of friends with whom I went to college. If there was a soundtrack for my life since graduating from college in 1994, Barenaked Ladies would take up a plurality of songs. I think this subject may take more than one post...

I haven't followed BNL as fervently as in years past. At the end of the CBC interview with BNL founding member Ed Robertson, they played a song from their last CD as we knew the band, "Snacktime." I hadn't listened to any of the songs from their first children's CD yet; I missed out. The song "Bad Day" hit me hard--I got a little misty, remembering many times when a BNL song spoke to me and offered me better understanding and pastoral care than most sermons. Songs that fueled longing for my wife or elevated a joy of the day, or gave me insight to someone else's struggles. Bad Day became a soundtrack song for my eldest daughter just 45 minutes ago. Though she has developmental challenges and I look to those challenges as why she has a bad day and why we struggle with each other, sometimes she just has a bad day, like any human being. I remembered something of what it was like to be a kid, and I see my six year old differently this evening because of hearing that song.

Here are the lyrics for Bad Day.

I wish the band members well in their new ventures. I may like the new BNL, but they will never be the same. These kind of relationships move on--though their fans may perceive it to be like a marriage--vocation changes. Robertson is a bit evasive in his interview, but I respect that. I think he wants to honor the creative and powerful relationships of the past 20 years in BNL, yet also be communicative with their fan base. I appreciated the As It Happens approach--they eventually stopped probing. (In addition, check out As It Happens if you find American radio personalities too shrill. Carol Off and particularly Barbara Budd have some of the best voices in radio and do some of the best interviews with a curious precision and class.) Too bad the BNL guys weren't my friends--I would love to hang out with these guys over a beer and just talk.

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