I was a bit skeptical about the track listing at first, because a lot of these songs have been previously released. That all changed, however, because these are versions that have never been released. They are all excellent, and greatly exceeded my expectations.
I'm glad they included Steve songs in here as well. It shows that BNL haven't wiped him from their history, and that some of the anger has blown over. It's also good because it appeals to all BNL fans, whether they like them as a four-piece or not.
1. "I Don't Get It Anymore" (10/10): Amazing song, and it's the perfect way to start off the CD. I've been waiting for a studio version of this song for years. It was recorded back in 2001, and Ed's "young" vocals sound very soft and smooth. It's nice and mellow, but what I like most about this song is the meaning. I can really relate, and I'm sure many of you can as well.
2. "Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!" (9/10): This is one of the two tracks on the album to have been previously released. Still, it remained a rarity (being a B-side to the UK single of "Celebrity"). It's a fun and rocking song. The stereo mix included here sounds much better than the regular version.
3. "Half A Heart" (10/10): An earlier version of what was later re-recorded and included on "Barenaked Ladies Are Men" in 2007. Recorded back in 2003, I find this version much better than the "BLAM" version. It's a lot more mellow, sounds a lot tighter, and Ed's voice sounds a lot more emotional and endearing. The bridge is magnificent.
4. "The Old Apartment" [Demo] (9/10): Very interesting to hear the way this song was originally written as a soft rock song, before Ed suggested they turn it into a rock song. It is much shorter than the album version, and includes some slight lyrical changes. Although I'm glad they turned it into a rock song (and that I highly prefer that version), this is an extremely mellow ballad that is interesting to listen to.
5. "Shake Your Rump" [Live] (8/10): Although I'm not a fan of the Beastie Boys by any stretch of the means, BNL managed to turn this song into a quirky, energetic, and hilarious song. Really funny to listen to. Always makes me smile.
6. "Same Thing" [Live] (10/10): An early live version of "Same Thing", which later appeared on "Born On A Pirate Ship" in 1996. This version is a lot more energetic and fast-paced than the album version. It also includes significantly different lyrics in the 3rd and 4th verses, which I personally prefer to the album version.
7. "One Week" [Pull's Break Remix] (10/10): The only other previously released track on this album. I remember growing up in the 90's when remixes of hits were very popular. They would usually play them on the radio once a week or so, and I always hated them. I still take that stance to this day, but this is an exception. It doesn't differ *too* much from the original. It has a longer intro, some added percussion, and some lyrical repetition. Overall though, it's mostly just some added clicks and whistles. I think I enjoy it so much because I'm so sick of the original, and this feels fresh. Great remix.
8. "Teenage Wasteland" [Live] (10/10): Not to be confused with The Who's "Baba O'Riley". This is an original song by BNL that was played in the early to mid-1990's, and was never recorded in-studio. It is a really great song. Even as a beyond-hardcore BNL fan that has almost every single song they've put out, I've never heard this one. It is very energetic, humourous, and EXTREMELY catchy. Love this one.
9. "Long While" (10/10): A song recorded in 2003 during the "Everything To Everyone" sessions. It's a song about waiting for your Grandfather to die so you and your family can inherit his money. Though it seems cruel, it happens more often than you'd think (which is a damn shame). Still, this is a very catchy and honest song.
10. "Second Best" [Demo] (9/10): This song has never been one of my favorites, but I never hated it either. I highly prefer this to the "Everything To Everyone" version. It has (in my opinion) better lyrics and better guitar playing than the album version.
11. "I Can, I Will, I Do" (8/10): Recorded in 2001, and later re-recorded and released on "Barenaked Ladies Are Men". The arrangement isn't much different than the album version, other than some organ added in at the bridge. I do much prefer the "BLAM" version however. Steve's vocal performance is far superior on that version. Still, a good version.
12. "Adrift" [Outtake] (10/10): A very intriguing arrangement on this one. It has a more "shuffley" beat to it than the "BLAM" version. This version doesn't include the banjo, so Kevin's guitar parts are much more audible. No real lyrical changes here except for the word "mind" used in the first chorus instead of the word "heart". This version is fantastic, and the chorus sounds amazing. Perfect way to end the CD.
Average overall rating: 9.4
If you are a BNL fan, do yourself a favor and pick up this CD. It's amazing!