Review Summary: A lackluster effort that is more likely to be featured on your mom’s easy listening playlist than on your end of year list.
If anything can be attributed to the Barenaked Ladies in the past, it was that they had personality. If you had listened to the band at all in youth, you can’t help but feel obligated to smile while thinking back to their work. If I Had a Million Dollars
? One Week
? Pinch Me
? The Barenaked Ladies were f****** funny. Even if the band were to fall off the face of the earth (which they kind of already did) in the coming years, they would be forever remembered for the absolutely ridiculous lines in One Week
, “I summon the fish to the dish, although I like Chalet Swiss,” being among them. Most significantly, the Barenaked Ladies never seemed to shun their role of being the comical group on the radio. They weren’t being laughed at
after all, but were merely the facilitators of the joke. The band’s demeanor was soon followed by its fans; those willing to shower the band on stage with underwear to correspond with the lyrics of Pinch Me
, and those doing the same with boxes of Kraft Mac ‘N’ Cheese in droll interpretation of If I Had a Million Dollars
. Fast forwarding to 2010 however, the Barenaked Ladies stumbled upon the loss of vocalist Steve Page (due to personal reasons), which all but solidifies a successful lineup for “All in Good Time.” Page and Ed Robertson had developed a tremendous chemistry in the preceding years; sharing duties on lead vocals and both having an immense impact on the persona of the band. With this piece of the puzzle removed, the Barenaked Ladies opted to not roll over and die and to move on.
Unfortunately, by attempting to succeed post-Page, the Barenaked Ladies have done the very opposite. Rather than replacing Page, bassist Jim Creegan and guitarist/keyboardist Kevin Hearn were summoned for vocal obligations at various points in the record, although it is overly apparent that Robertson is running ship this time around. Creegan and Hearn are not anywhere near as effective as Page on vocals, but most significantly do not bring the quirkiness to the table as he did. “All in Good Time” is the Barenaked Ladies with their soul ripped out; ultimately lacking in the humor and personality that the band had been so proficient with. Lead single You Run Away
is essentially what epitomizes the album. While melodic and soothing, You Run Away
comes off as a generic ballad that is intended to be a tribute to the exited member. Although heartfelt, the single is evidence that the band is crying in the beer over the loss of Page, rather than laughing it off. Tracks such as Another Heartbreak
and I Saw It
are soon to follow suit, and while not terrible do not seem to have a great deal to offer fans that have received much more from the band in the past.
Even when the band isn’t attempting to be sincere or sentimental, they seem to fall short in recreating the comic relief that they had become notorious for. Four Seconds
is a quirky track that fires blanks; nowhere near as effective as Barenaked Ladies classics One Week
and The Old Apartment
. Even eliminating the band’s previous work from consideration, Four Seconds
does not seem to have enough to stand out on the record, and is just another mediocre song. “All in Good Time” does get in somewhat of a groove with tracks How Long
, The Love We’re In
, and Golden Boy
, at the record’s tail end, for the latter is an infectious piece that is elevated by backing vocals and hand claps. Golden Boy
is verification that the band is enjoying themselves to an extent, if only slightly.
In due course, the Barenaked Ladies are reeling with the departure of Steve Page; crawling towards their golden years, but ultimately getting halfway home. “All in Good Time” showcases a band that is unsure of where to turn next, but most extensively is missing a certain liveliness and humor that they are most prevalently associated with. The album as a whole is not in the least bit abysmal by any stretch of the imagination, but is rather bland and leaves a great deal to be desired. Page-era Barenaked Ladies has long since passed, even if he was with the band just this past year. The band should consider being remembered for albums such as “Gordon” and “Stunt,” rather than a group that failed to establish their footing after losing a member.
I Have Learned
The Love We’re In