Single Review: Barenaked Ladies “Another Postcard (Chimps)”

Another Postcard (Chimps)
Album: Everything to Everyone
Year: 2003

There’s an old movie adage: actors shouldn’t star with kids or animals. They’ll get overshadowed every time. It can be applied to music as well.

In the Barenaked Ladies’ single “Another Postcard,” Ed Robertson keeps receiving postcards with chimps on them from someone he doesn’t know. (“You can’t imagine so many monkeys in the daily mail/All of them coming anonymously so they leave no trail/I never thought I’d have an admirer from overseas/But someone is sending me stationary filled with chimpanzees”).

The pre-chorus is a description of the various postcards he’s gotten in the mail: (“Some chimps in swimsuits, some chimps are swinging from a vine/Some chimps in jackboots, some chimps that wish they could be mine/Starsky and Hutch chimps, a chimp who’s sitting on the can/A pair of Dutch chimps who send their love from Amsterdam”). The songwriting is excellent in this section. The descriptions of the tacky, artless postcards are funny and inspired.

However, the chorus sung by Steven Page too short and humorless (“Another postcard with chimpanzees/And every one is addressed to me”). But by this time, I’m thinking of cute little chimps bouncing around on furniture and dressed with either overalls or a frilly dress. Jay Leno had this adorable chimp who did sign language and..

Oh wait. There’s more to this song to review. In the second verse, Robertson sings that he’s tired of the joke and it’s kinda freaking him out. It’s driven him crazy enough to the point he’s ready to fight the unknown person (“If I had to guess, I’d say the monkey-sender thinks it’s great…I’m losing sleep – and it’s gonna be keeping me up all night/I thought it was funny, but now I’ve got money on a monkey fight. Having a stalker really sucks, Ed. But can you go back to singing about the cute little chimps again?

And so he does. (“Some chimps in hard hats, chimps a-working on a chain gang
Some chimps who love cats, burning rubber in a Mustang/A birthday-wishing chimp, a chimp in black like a goth/A goin’ fishin’ chimp, a British chimp in the bath”) The chimp dressed like a goth is my favorite description. I’m imagining a little dog collar on him with spikes and a black, pseudo leather jacket and really dark, heavy makeup. There was a movie once called “MVP” and it had a chimp dressed up like a hockey player. He looked all fierce with his hockey stick and helmet. The tagline for the movie could’ve been…”He’s not the cute, snuggly little monkey you see on talk shows. He’s here to throw down”).

And there’s a third verse. Ho-hum. Anyway, the constant barrage of postcards has caused him to move out of his home. But yet, he keeps getting the postcards. Although he is irked, he still reads them everyday. (“Somehow they followed me even though I packed and moved my home/No matter what, they come and they come they won’t leave me alone/Another monkey in the mail could make me lose my mind/But look at me shuffling through the stack until I finally find”).

Yay! We’re back to the chimp descriptions again until the end of the song. (“Some chimps who love cats/I’ve got some shaved chimps; that’s chimps devoid of any hair/I’ve got depraved chimps dressed up in women’s underwear..”) I could careless what the song is about, I just want to hear about the chimps dressed in people outfits against their will and then made to look like they are having a grand time on the fake, outlandish settings.

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