A good time indeed

The Spectrum

Grade: A-

For the Barenaked Ladies, the last few years have been transitional, to say the least. In 2008, they experimented with children's music on the critically acclaimed album Snack Time.
It could've given the band a wide new audience, but that plan was halted quickly when front man Steven Page was arrested for allegedly possessing cocaine. Six months afterward, Page split from the group. They were truly in a state of disarray.
Luckily, the wacky Canadian rockers have come out on top with their wonderful new album, All in Good Time, their first since the departure of Page. The ex-front man is replaced on vocal duties by guitarist Ed Robertson, who is more than up to the task.
Not only is Robertson a worthy successor to Page, but he actually bests the original singer in key categories. Specifically, his vocals add a more serious tone to the songs, whereas Page preferred to be lighthearted and goofy.
Robertson's weightier style of singing fits this album nicely. It is by far the most serious record the band has ever made. Where previous albums featured novelty numbers like "One Week", or "If I Had $1,000,000", this album mainly presents emotional, reflective pop.
This new direction is felt immediately on opener "You Run Away", a memorable number about someone who is emotionally distant. This track makes it clear that the boys who gave us "One Week" have grown up quite a bit.
Indeed, this is a somewhat dark album, as many of the songs appear to be about the departure of Page. Numbers like "Another Heartbreak" and "I Have Learned" seem to be about the pain his departure caused the group and how they have grown since he left.
This album could've been awkward, or even disastrous, but the Barenaked Ladies are better at being serious than was expected. This is a mature, intelligent record from a band that suffered a lot of losses and came out smelling like roses. It just might be their best yet.

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