The first person narrative has long been a device in rock music. So whether it is self proclamation (“Get Back Up”) or explanation (“Say What You Want”) or reclamation (“Piece Of Cake”) the only question to ask: Is the Barenaked Ladies road still worth travelling?
It sort of depends on where your music tastes start and stop. Silverball leans heavily on the pleasant sounds of the eighties, happily playing in a mix of Huey Lewis & the News, Katrina & the Waves, and the Live Aid era pop that saw the dangerous (Jagger & Bowie) become outrageous as they danced in the streets. Sure, “Get Back Up” is a song that looks at the band as having nothing left to prove, but that doesn’t mean nothing left to say.
In the Barenaked Ladies world growing older doesn’t mean much more than gaining perspective. When Robertson sings “maybe we got much better at looking at the others heart” on “Hold My Hand” it’s a gentle reminder to a partner that not only is everything golden, but that he wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s these kinds of personal reflections that give the record a good natured charm.
Silverball is good, really good in fact. It’s well produced, the lyrics are meaningful and you can play it in the background on a Saturday afternoon with a few friends gathered in your backyard as the bbq burns a few hot dogs. Which really, if Silverball has a point, it’s that after all these years it’s just fine to live for the little things.
We would stay up and just talk until the wee hours. It was a bond we had, although it probably meant way more to me than her. Cousins, although not by blood, when my aunt said we were too old to sleep in the same room, we instead just went to the sofas down stairs and kept the conversation going.
There wasn’t any specific music as we chatted, it’s just that Queen’s The Game reminds me of those times. It was at at my cousins place where I first listened to this record but over the years it began to fade into the background, until I recently picked up this used copy on vinyl. It was the only format that I really wanted to own it on. I’m sentimental that way. If I originally heard it on vinyl, then that is how I want it now.
Queen put out ‘better’ records of course. (Although, The Game has sold more than any other Queen record due to two number one hits “Another One Bites The Dust” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”)
Early on they did the prog thing, and then they started this hybrid roaring twenties in the distant future bit. Honestly, I always pictured Queen as being at their best when imagining a movie cross of styles between Metropolis and Blade Runner. While Mercury and May were always a pretty much “over the top” duo, The Game along with the Flash Gordon Soundtrack was the end of the FM years for Queen as they began turning towards Mercury’s more ballad and broadway inspired material. He has always been the greatest vocalist to come out of “Rock”, but in the 80’s and 90’s it was as if he wanted to prove it… in my experience, when the ego gets bigger than the music, that’s when an artist begins to really… um… suck!
From The Works on I just couldn’t get into it. “Radio Ga Ga” was a song that just forced a change in the station. Maybe the Brits at Live Aid were into it, but that song drove me insane.
So it was nothing new after that. Sure I would, and did go back to listen to Night at the Opera and Day at the Races, but it was like photographs of days gone by. The Game, is a great classic record, but it is best suited as an entrance to memories. My cousin and I see each other now and then, but it’s been a long time since we sat up talking late into the night about nothing and everything. Meanwhile Queen keeps trying to keep memories alive, and in the process kinda ruin the legacy they have.