Shut Up, Dude: This Week’s Best Comments

Shut Up, Dude: This Week’s Best Comments


Score: 23 | Jun 18th

*bear pokes his head in, sees blood on the walls, ponders*

Did something happen here today? Because we’ve reached 744 comments AND I HAVEN’T EVEN POSTED ANYTHING YET.

I mean, I’m still reading the article, and haven’t even touched the commentariat part, and I’m wondering what the hell is going on.
OK, now that I’m done, this is the kind of writing that will get Tom a contract for a novel if he wants it. Even if I disagree with him.

First, the intellectual exercise. The riffs on the chorus almost sound to me, strangely, like Free’s “All Right Now”, stuck on the first three riffs. I admire the speed of the singing here, because there’s a lot to keep pace with. The rap is…well, (sorry, Mom) it is what it is. I hate the “chickety-China” bit, though I’m not sure if it’s offensive of just stupid. And who among us doesn’t have a “tantric Sting” joke? So, that’s eh.

There are other parts that are, I think, clever. I’m sorry, Tom Breihan, but any reference to Bert Kaempfert is actually kinda cool. Other parts don’t make sense, even when you read them off a Google search as I did. I mean, I know in general what a Sailor Moon is, and that the characters aren’t bad, they’re just drawn that way. And I’ve eaten a Snickers. None of that makes any sense to me why they’d be in a song with his desire for new golf clubs. I wish the song were as tight as the raps are.

And yet, I’m not mad at the goofiness. It’s just that like everyone else, I’ve heard it a lot, and so the wear kinda interferes with the initial rush of fun you got in 1998. Someone turned me on to BNL sometime after the millennium, long after the hits landed. And I don’t mind the guys in the bowling shirts with an unusual perspective on pop-rock, of mixing the thoughtful with the absurd and the goofy. I wouldn’t want to go to Petersborough with Tom anytime soon, but to be mad at BNL is counterproductive to me. I own their albums, so in my head they made be doing something right.

So how many Canadians signed up for accounts today? I’m gonna sift through the wreckage, help a few people up (I get the feeling one of TNOCS’s founding characters is wounded to the core today, reading all this), and start mopping up.

“One Week” is a 5, and on a good day a bit higher. Tom, your antidote is coming up on Monday in Quick Hits. Have to ask, though: what would be the different between your song today, and my song Monday, which is, shall we say, all new and radical and stuff? It’s only a couple degrees of separation between the two songs.

Something to think about, while Toronto experiences a run on Aspirin (as Bayer is called up there).

It looks like someone severed an artery down here…

(BTW, the Tulsa quote, for the uninitiated, is from a Waylon Jennings song from 1971, a #16 country hit called “(Don’t Let the Sun Set on You) Tulsa”. The album is better known for the title track, though, a #5 country/#94 pop hit…)

Posted in: The Number Ones: Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week”
Score: 25 | Jun 17th

So far, 65 people have voted in the poll and “One Week” is averaging a 6.4. This is shaping up to be the biggest variance between Tom and the rest of us so far. He’s been wrong before (obligatory #JusticeForMagic hashtag) but he’s really off base today. It’s never a good idea to insult the dorks that make up your readership.

Having said that, it’s only music. It’s my life blood, but it’s only music. Let’s settle down and think about how little this matters.

Posted in: The Number Ones: Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week”
Score: 26 | Jun 22nd

According to the archived Billboard magazine for this virtual week – – a discount on the single was responsible for at least a good amount of this week’s activity.

Singles sales account for 74% of Divine’s chart points. “Lately,” which is sale-priced at select accounts, scanned 82,000 units, a 1% decline from last issue.

Also its radio play was growing but unimpressive:

“the song is beginning to cross from its rhythmic top 40 and R&B base to mainstream top 40 stations.” … “The track jumps 37-32 on the Hot 100 Airplay list due to a 10% increase in audience.”

Tellingly, there’s a blurb below there in the magazine noting how there will be airplay-only tracks added to the Hot 100 next week. “Lately” will drop 2 spots next week, which is honestly not as big a fall as I expected. But apparently, on their test charts with their new formula, “Lately” would have not been a #1 hit at all, staying at #2 behind “Doo Wop (That Thing)” for another week! So if they just changed their timing a little bit, this whole article would have never existed!

Posted in: The Number Ones: Divine’s “Lately”
Score: 26 | Jun 20th

If you have never sat down and truly absorbed The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in full, I urge you to do so. Full disclosure- I did not hear the whole album until a couple of years after it came out, but when I did, I could not stop listening and each time it reached deeper and deeper into my soul. It continues to do so with every revisit, almost hauntingly so. Granted, I have not listened to nearly as many albums as some of you here, but I can say without hesitation that it is in my top 10 of all time and quite possibly top 5.  I have infinitely more I could say about this topic today, but I am going to let Tom spell it all out for us because that’s his job and he’s damn good at it. I will simply repeat my encouragement for you to experience the whole album for yourself, if you have not done so already, even if this genre is “not your thing”. If it doesn’t grab you, fine. I can live with that. If there is a lot of negative or indifferent talk about it here today, or backlash against the fact that it’s as critically revered as it is, I may or may not resist the temptation to fire back and may or may not repeat the mantra of “music is subjective” and keep rolling. I have very strong feelings about this, so not sure how that will play out. 

I will say one more thing (you had to know I wasn’t done). Last week, I was vacationing with my family in Michigan City, Indiana and upon walking into a Nike outlet store, I was greeted with the sound of Ms. Lauryn singing the chorus of “To Zion”, the stunningly beautiful and multi-layered ode to the birth of her son. Her voice immediately cut through the reality of my own daughter going hard to the hoop for a new pair of gym shoes and for a brief moment transported me to that magical place that only music can take me, and only certain music. We didn’t end up making a purchase at that store, but I commented to the guy at the counter that I loved the song they had playing overhead and referenced the album to which it belonged. He said “My man!”, fistbumped me and called the The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill “timeless”. I concur.

Posted in: The Number Ones: Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)”
Score: 26 | Jun 22nd

Well now. Well. How did I end up here? I’m not sure.

Maybe it’s the Covid, and waking up to Day 5 in the same room.

Maybe it was watching Shaye Moss tremble as she raised her right hand at the Jan. 6 hearing yesterday and saying to myself, “This woman is going to break my heart,” which is exactly what happened.

If I thought I was all cried out after that, apparently I was wrong. Because Tom’s writing really got me today, and it won’t let go.

It’s funny, how something as universal as a #1 song can come and go without so much as a ripple on the surface of our pop culture and our collective memory.

And it’s the opposite of funny how, beneath the surface, that seemingly benign #1 song can have such an impact on a person’s self-esteem, or their livelihood, or even their life.

Kia Thornton, years later, breaking down at her “anonymous” Idol audition. The mother in the YouTube comment section, crying out to literally anyone who will hear her. Who knows who else? We don’t know; we can’t know. It all remains beneath the surface, in uncountable refracted pieces, save for the few times that one of those pieces dares to emerge to meet our eye.

Shaye Moss, who volunteered at the polls for years, apologizing for ever wanting to become an election worker. Her mom, Lady Ruby, a woman whose name was her power and whose home was her haven, having to give up both, because of violent threats.

All because of something as universal as a presidential election. It’s easy to laugh at “the gang who couldn’t shoot straight”, as another witness called them, and their cheating ways. And then you catch just a glimpse of what it did to someone who’s below the surface, and it’s just sad. It’s just so sad.

Line of the Day:
” A whole lot of us might have forgotten all about ‘Lately,’ but it still means something real to somebody.”

Posted in: The Number Ones: Divine’s “Lately”
bogota rocks
Score: 27 | Jun 17th

I gotta admit, Tom going off on Barenaked Ladies is pretty entertaining, even if I mostly think this stuff is harmless and goofy as opposed to malicious. Drawing a line from Barenaked Ladies to Elon Musk is not all that convincing – but I enjoyed the ride there nonetheless.

I think my lack of interest in this kind of music goes more towards their Canadian niceness – they make all these references, they want to be funny, but they are incapable of drawing any blood. The second they say anything that’s biting and remotely offensive you just know they would instantly apologize for it.

“The bowling shirt guys” is a good grouping of boring late 90s rock bands, but you could probably expand that to the whole CVS late 90s drugstore universe of bland guitar pop that was dominating radio and VH1 at the time – Eagle-Eye Cherry, Duncan Sheik, Matchbox 20, New Radicals, Tonic, Sister Hazel, Nine Days…there was like an endless parade of bands that sounded like they wanted to play the coffee house on Friends. And they went on that drugstore playlist and are still there!

Posted in: The Number Ones: Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week”
Score: 27 | Jun 17th

This dismissive and little-bit-unhinged column is disappointing. It’s an overly reactive response to what is just a fun, sunny blip on the pop radar. There’s the most reluctant, begrudged effort in one paragraph to admit what’s good about the song musically, yet it still gets a 1 because Tom can’t resist a rant about a kind of “dork” he hates, and that somehow balloons into an angry progressive-style rant about Elon Musk? I think it’s also unfair to the rest of BNL’s oeuvre to be this flippant. They’re not high art, but amid the supposed self-satisfaction Tom seethes about, they had a bunch of charming and quirky and earnest songs and mostly seemed like decent, affable guys. For what it’s worth, “Old Apartment” and “Brian Wilson” are my favorites by them. To speak up for the “bowling shirt guys,” I will say this: I was bullied in HS and the people who treated me with the most kindness and welcome were very much the Steven Page and Ed Robertson types that Tom resents. *shrug* “One Week” was out when I was in college, and I remember it as a time capsule, an earworm, a car sing-a-long, and a relaxed vibe when the good life of the late 90s was so good we didn’t even realize how good it was. I’d give it a 7.

Posted in: The Number Ones: Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week”
Score: 27 | Jun 17th

Listen. Don’t let this song distract you from the fact that Stunt and Maroon are two of the best indie rock albums of all time, and go toe to toe with any albums by big star or wilco or the replacements or any other band of plainspoken guys singing beautiful melodies about quiet heartbreaks that are cool to like. Sure their songs can get a little goofy sounding and the humor can start to feel a little forced, but that’s like a third of 69 Love Songs and everyone still loves that album (including me, don’t worry). 
Even a band I feel was their closest American analog, Fountains of Wayne (another band that became supremely uncool to like because of a semi-novelty hit that was inescapable for a couple of years) got tons of renewed attention and “hey, maybe these guys had some good songs after all” when Adam Schlesinger died. I hope Stephen Page doesn’t have to die tragically for these guys to get their due.

And you know, if this doesn’t convince you to give them a chance with fresh ears, I don’t really care. I just want to leave you with this:

You could have had it so much worse. You could have had an inescapable, surprise number one hit from Moxy Fruvous. Even I can’t defend that.

Posted in: The Number Ones: Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week”
Pauly Steyreen
Score: 28 | Jun 17th

Tom Breihan I don’t know what’s going on in your life to blast such vitriol at a mostly harmless novelty song, but we are here for you. It’s gonna be ok brother!

Posted in: The Number Ones: Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week”
Score: 31 | Jun 22nd


I asked my folks about all The Number Ones from last week. Here’s what they said.


Mom: “I’d give it a 7, I like it. It reminds me of the movie, I saw the movie, it’s kinda cheesy, I like cheesy sometimes”

Dad: “Eh, I’d give it a 6. It’s so different then the stuff they usually do. Better written and performed. I’m not the biggest Aerosmith fan, But I do feel like he’s screaming gibberish at me”

THE FIRST NIGHT (was awkward):

Dad: “I’ll be polite and give it a 2….You can definitely say it has questionable content”

Mom:”Okay, erm…I give it…a 5, and eh, credit to Monica for showing restraint and having some dignity”

ONE WEEK (oh boy…) :

Mom: “Alright I give it an 8, because it’s fun and silly, and sometimes fun and silly are what you need”

Dad: “I’ll give it a 6 because it’s strange, but it has a really catchy tune

Ha! They both liked it! 2 for BNL!

Stay Tuned….

Posted in: The Number Ones: Divine’s “Lately”


Gary O Stum
Score: 22 | Jun 21st

Should change their damn name to S()metimes

Posted in: Alvvays Announce Tour, Tease New Music

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