Exclusive: Stream Barenaked Ladies The Long Weekend EP, beginning June 24 at 1 P.M. ET until June 30, by clicking here.
The Barenaked Ladies are celebrating Canada Day this year with The Long Weekend, a new EP featuring acoustic versions of songs new and old.
Since July 1 falls on a Tuesday this year, it’s technically not a long weekend, but still, what better way to celebrate Canada Day than with one of the country’s most successful bands, which will also be kicking off an extensive North American tour July 1 in Charlottetown, P.E.I. (check the website for a full itinerary).
The Long Weekend features acoustic versions of “Odds Are” and “Smile” from BNL's 2013 album, Grinning Streak, as well as an acoustic take on Gordon cut “Blame It On Me,” a staple of their live shows. There’s also a live version of their latest single, “Did I Say That Out Loud?”
The EP, says drummer Tyler Stewart, is more reflective of the band’s early days, before songs were given pop-heavy production.
“I play bongos, it’s acoustic guitars and lots of singing, which is really the hallmark of the group — that's how it started,” he says. “Barenaked Ladies started in living rooms and basements where you could play acoustically without any amplification and it would sound good.”
Stewart says it’s also a chance to give new songs that have a “straight-up modern, more EDM influence,” such as “Odds Are," that old-school BNL sound.
“It was nice to break it down and get to the essence of that song,” he says. “It gave us a certain confidence that we could pull it off. If all the power went out, we could still do that song.”
The only older song is "Blame it on Me," which Stewart remembers seeing the band perform live before he was a member.
“I joined in 1990, and Steven and Ed were together for two years before that, and when I saw them perform they were a trio with Jim Creeggan on bass,” he says. “Amidst all the fun and up-tempo songs like 'Be My Yoko Ono' and 'If I had a Million Dollars,' covers of Madonna and Prince and stuff like that, here comes this really incredible song, 'Blame it on Me,' which was one that really stood out to me. It’s really mature writing for a couple of 18-year-old guys, and it just doesn’t feel dated when we play it. It feels like we could've written it yesterday.”
Timeless, despite a Milli Vanilli reference in the lyrics, which is still intact on the new version.
“We did a lot of name-dropping back in the day,” he says, laughing. “I think that might put a postage stamp in the song, but lyrically and musically, the bossa nova groove, it's a place we always feel comfortable.”
Stream The Long Weekend on CBC Music until June 30 here. Pre-order it on iTunes.
Watch BNL perform an acoustic take of “Blame it on Me” below.
Follow Jesse Kinos-Goodin on Twitter: @JesseKG
Listen to CBC Music's Sonica stream