Songs You May Have Missed #581

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Steven Page: “Mama” (2016)

Another Steven Page album, another song I can’t scrape off my brain. The former Barenaked Ladies co-front man delivers another slice of pure audio candy here.

As BNL classics such as “Jane”, “It’s All Been Done” and “Alternative Girlfriend” (and several other posts on this blog) attest, the guy knows how to assemble an irresistible pop track.

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2012/02/20/songs-you-may-have-missed-17/

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2013/03/01/songs-you-may-have-missed-346/

Songs You May Have Missed #346

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Steven Page: “Over Joy” (2010)

Lest you dispute Steven Page’s credentials as perhaps pop’s most skilled purveyor of “dark bubblegum” since ABBA, check out “Over Joy” which might be the snappiest song about depression I’ve ever heard.

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2012/02/20/songs-you-may-have-missed-17/

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2016/04/07/songs-you-may-have-missed-581/

Songs You May Have Missed #17

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Steven Page: “A New Shore” (2010)

Former Barenaked Ladie Steven Page can write pure pop the way Whitney Houston could sing. Which is to say, really well when he isn’t busy tooting the blow. I don’t know if there’s a good time for a highly-publicized arrest for cocaine possession, but just before the release of your band’s children’s album would seem to be worse than most. Shortly after Page was booked the band began a new chapter without him. (See what I did there?)

One thing that remains barenaked on his solo album is the songwriting. Page has always mixed the catchiest, earwormingest melodies with lyrics that were dark at times, borderline psychotic at others–but never clichéd. Sick enough to feel real, if you will. ‘Cause dark is real. That’s why “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” is a classic and “You Light Up My Life” is not.

The cool thing about this song, other than the fact that it’s the closest thing to sticking peanut butter cups into your ears, is that Page very clearly wrote it about leaving the band, and (since meshing catchiness and dark subject matter aren’t enough of a challenge for the true greats) he gave it a maritime/pirate theme–like, with the whistling and accordion and everything!

With an economy of language that would make Roger Miller proud, he spells out the whole situation in the first few lines: “As captain of this band of merry sailors I’m a black mark, I’m a failure but before you watch me drown/I’m relinquishing command for something I don’t understand this man’s about to turn his whole life upside down”. Then a chorus kicks in that is more dead-on Barenaked Ladies-sounding than anything on that band’s last album.

I don’t know if he jumped ship or was made to walk the plank. I do know Barenaked Ladies are listing badly without him. And Page seems to have made it safely to his new shore. Land Ho!

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2013/03/01/songs-you-may-have-missed-346/

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2016/04/07/songs-you-may-have-missed-581/

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