Review Summary: It's all been done.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the Barenaked Ladies is their continued ability to stay relevant and entertaining, despite changes in both their lineup and their target audience in their two(ish) decades of activity. Few pop rock ensembles have managed to win over quite as dedicated a fan base as the Ladies have, and even fewer have been able to do so while churning out one enjoyable album after another and maintaining an almost timeless image as the lovable goofballs of their genre. Even after the sudden departure of their one-time frontman, Steven Page, and the group's subsequent "serious" turn on their next release, All In Good Time, most long-term BNL fans have remained confident that the group's next album would see a return to the band's good old days of punny, infectious tracks and the charisma which has won them such support over the years. And, in a way, it has - though certainly not in a manner which anyone could have expected or wanted.
Hits from Yesterday & the Day Before is a rather strange greatest hits compilation in that the majority of the material has been pulled directly from the last Barenaked Ladies compilation, Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits. The first nine tracks of the album - from ever-popular Gordon single "If I Had $1000000" to one-time chart topper "One Week" - appear exactly as they did in this previous format. Even the live recording of the band's classic "Brian Wilson" (which actually first appeared on live album Rock Spectacle prior to Disc One) remains virtually unchanged from its last appearance ten years ago. The remainder of the disc is composed of tracks from several of the ensemble's more recent albums, with the sole "new" addition of the band's foray into television, The Big Bang Theory theme.
The Barenaked Ladies' decision to simply rehash a bunch of their old material here presents something of a conundrum for the group's older fans. On one hand, the vast majority of this compilation (with the possible exceptions of "Testing 1,2,3" and the aforementioned theme song, both of which are enjoyable but not quite hit caliber) is loaded with standout examples of the type of fine work which has made listening to this band so enjoyable for so many years. On the other hand, it's old. Even the relatively shiny and new closing track, "You Run Away" (the compilation's only song from the post-Page era) sounds positively worn out when presented in this sort of context. Indeed, it seems that the only real purpose of this album is to draw in a few new listeners before the group's new album. For a fan already acquainted with the Ladies, however, this compilation will serve only as a brief, moderately enjoyable trip down memory lane which showcases some of the band's finest sounds from years already gone by.