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Barenaked Ladies Debut New Song 'Lookin' Up,' About World's Doom-and-Gloom Mentality as a 'False Narrative' (Exclusive)

Barenaked Ladies
Matt Barnes

Barenaked Ladies

Donald Trump. Climate Change. DACA. Isis. Those are all things you will NOT hear Barenaked Ladies address on "Lookin' Up," the first single, previewed exclusively below, from the group's upcoming album Fake Nudes.

"'Lookin' Up' is just about optimism," the group's Ed Robertson, who co-wrote the track in Los Angeles with Better Than Ezra's Kevin Griffin and Sam Hollander. "I think it's a very important time for optimism. We live in a world that tends to emphasize the negative. I think it's kind of a false narrative -- we certainly have problems that we all need to address, but the narrative that we're in constant danger, that doom is imminent, is not real. It's gripping and it gets your intention, but it's not a realistic narrative. I think it's important to try and have a broader perspective."

Fake Nudes is due out Nov. 17 and is Barenaked Ladies' 15th studio album overall. The follow-up to 2015's Silverball was the four consecutive set to be produced by Gavin Brown and found the Canadian quartet in a prolific mode, with Robertson, multi-instrumentalist Kevin Hearn and bassist Jim Creeggan all writing on the 14 tracks.

"It was exciting to head in and make this record," Robertson, who had a hand in writing seven of the tracks, recalls. "We had a ton of songs. Kev came to the table with a boatload of material, so it just put us in a kind of relaxed position. The only difficult part was going to be choosing the songs we wanted on the record instead of trying to come up with enough material for the record. So we went into it pretty relaxed and ready to have a good time."

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Fake Nudes features plenty of the group's sly wit and good humor -- as well as guest appearances by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy, Great Big Sea's Alan Doyle and others. The sound is diverse as well, and Robertson says there was more collaboration between the four members, including drummer Tyler Stewart, than ever before.

"That comes from the familiarity, the comfort of playing with the same guys for almost 30 years," Robertson explains. "I can bring them really skeletal ideas and trust them to add their own things and flesh it out into something that's really unique. And I love that. I love when I write a song and I don't know what the final Barenaked Ladies version is going to sound like. That's what's cool for me."

BNL begins an extensive Canadian tour on Nov. 17 that wraps up at home on Dec. 9 in Toronto. Next year will bring a U.K. tour during the spring as well as another Last Summer on Earth package in North America. 2018 also marks the 30th anniversary of Robertson and former co-frontman Steven Page forming the group, and plans are currently being formed to commemorate the mark.

"We're talking," Robertson says. "We haven't figured out what that's gonna be yet but, yeah, it's a big deal, 30 years. I feel so confident in the band's ability to go up in any situation, in front of any crowd for any reason, and deliver. So it feels a little more like the old days in that respect."

Fake Nudes is available for pre-order as of September 8th.


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