Barenaked Ladies

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Stunt Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

By trying to mask their smart-ass humor in a big pop production, the Barenaked Ladies attempt to set themselves up for the big crossover that they nearly achieved with such past singles as "Be My Yoko Ono" and "Brian Wilson." Nothing on Stunt, the group's fourth studio album, is so clearly jokey (although "Alcohol" comes close), but they still rely on clever satire. That may irritate some listeners who would otherwise be won over by the group's increased musical skill. Never before has the band been able to pull off so many different styles, from jangly pop and alt-country to loungy bossa nova, so well. Musically, it could convince the doubters who have written off Barenaked Ladies as novelty pranksters, but the lyrics still will stand in the way of trad-rockers predisposed to this style of music. Of course, listeners who are a little less uptight will find Stunt to be a fine collegiate party record and one of the best albums the Barenaked Ladies have released.

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