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BARENAKED LADIES DO SOME EXPERIMENTING

Say it ain't so! Have the Barenaked Ladies really grown up? Maybe I'm rushing things, but on their latest album, "Maroon," the Ladies certainly seem to have graduated past their elementary rhymes and reasons.

Longtime fans will certainly raise an eyebrow during the first listen to "Maroon." The album title was inspired by a poem of the same name by Ken Nordine and Richard Stewart Campbell and was produced by Don Was of Rolling Stones fame.

Don't get me wrong -- the overall feel is still more or less lighthearted, but lyrically there is a hint of seriousness. Their first single, "Pinch Me," would have you think otherwise. Taking a cue from "One Week," guitarist/singer Ed Robinson tosses out a mouthful, but luckily the lyrics are included in the liner notes. Their sheer goofiness is still intact with lines like "I could hide out under there/ I just made you say underwear."

A mean electric guitar and the familiar vocals of Steven Page start the album out on "Too Little Too Late," a song about accepting a deteriorating relationship. "Never Do Anything" follows suit, as does "The Humour of the Situation," the one other song that could be pinned as a stereotypical Ladies song. All these songs are perfect live material with easy, bouncing choruses and beats to clap along with.

"Sell Sell Sell" has a dreamy, musical feel. The percussion skills of Tyler Stewart make this song stand out, with timpani and castanets.

"Falling For the First Time" is a song full of not-so-obvious revelations -- "Anyone perfect must be lying/ anything easy has its cost/ anyone plain can be lovely/ anyone loved can be lost."

The song that has caught many people's attention is the closer, "Tonight is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel." Its carnival backdrop tries to divert your attention from the near-morbid lyrics, telling a tale of disaster, ending with "You're the last thing on my mind."

You can't blame the Barenaked Ladies for wanting to experiment a little. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. "Maroon" is an album of hits and misses, hopefully enough hits to keep the short attention span of the American public.

Melissa Maino is a senior at Hamburg High School.

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