Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday PSTSS: "If I Had A Million Dollars"

Back to blogging, and back to my silly little once-a-week exercises in pop music pedantry.

So, how old was I when I first heard this song? Around late 1992, I think, when the Barenaked Ladies's Gordon was released; at least it started showing up on alternative radio stations in Utah sometime around then. All the hip people loved it, of course. What is it with this ridiculously simple song? It's a love song, sort of, though not really; nor is really just a joke song, because of the really rather humble and honest message behind all the whimsy....even though, well, of course it is a joke song, only that and more. Maybe it's just the quintessentially Canadian song: not quite this, and not quite that, but pretty damn funny and decent all the same, in a low key sort of way. Fifteen years after first hearing it, it still cracks me up when Steven Page, in one of the innumerable versions of this song, starts going on about fancy ketchups, and laughs at himself, in spite of the lyric.

Ed Robertson: If I had a million dollars
(Steven Page: If I had a million dollars)
I'd buy you a house
(I would buy you a house)
If I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
I'd buy you furniture for your house
(Maybe a nice chesterfield or an ottoman)
And if I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I'd buy you a K-Car
(A nice Reliant automobile)
If I had a million dollars I'd buy your love

If I had a million dollars
(I'd build a tree fort in our yard)
If I had million dollars
(You could help, it wouldn't be that hard)
If I had million dollars
(Maybe we could put like a little tiny fridge in there somewhere)
[You know, we could just go up there and hang out...
Like open the fridge and stuff...
There would already be laid out foods for us...
Like little pre-wrapped sausages and things--
They have pre-wrapped sausages but they don't have pre-wrapped bacon.
Well, can you blame 'em?
Uh, yeah!]

If I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I'd buy you a fur coat
(But not a real fur coat that's cruel)
And if I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I'd buy you an exotic pet
(Yep, like a llama or an emu)
And if I had a million dollars
(If I had a a million dollars)
Well, I'd buy you John Merrick's remains
(Ooh, all them crazy elephant bones)
And If I had a million dollars I'd buy your love

If I had a million dollars
(We wouldn't have to walk to the store)
If I had a million dollars
(Now, we'd take a limousine 'cause it costs more)
If I had a million dollars
(We wouldn't have to eat Kraft Dinner)
[But we would eat Kraft Dinner
Of course we would, we’d just eat more
And buy really expensive ketchups with it
That’s right, all the fanciest ke... dijon ketchups!
Mmmmmm, Mmmm-Hmmm]

If I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I'd buy you a green dress
(But not a real green dress, that's cruel)
And if I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I'd buy you some art
(A Picasso or a Garfunkel)
If I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I'd buy you a monkey
(Haven't you always wanted a monkey)
If I had a million dollars
I’d buy your love

If I had a million dollars
If I had a million dollars
If I had a million dollars
If I had a million dollars
If I had a million dollars
I'd be rich

6 comments:

John B. said...

This reminded me a lot of the sort of thing the Flight of the Conchords do.

Whimsy out there on the fringes of the Empire. I wish we had more of that in our culture, frankly.

Rob said...

Almost... *almost* as fun as learning to deliver all the lyrics to "One Week" correctly, at proper tempo. I really do like the sushi, precisely because it has never touched the frying pan.

BNL is a favorite of 3/5 of my immediate family. And like John Mayer, I had the dubious privilege of realizing the artistry much later than the peak of the artist's popularity.

Hope things are well with you, Russell.

Doug said...

"As Canadian as possible under the circumstances."

Kathryn Lynard Soper said...

Parenting dilemma: explaining to your kids why you listen to a band called the Barenaked Ladies. We tried "BNL" for a while but eventually we had to 'fess up.

Other difficulties: describing to a 4-year-old why "not a real green dress--that's cruel" is funny. And why green dresses really aren't cruel.

Matt said...

I had the misfortune to hear this song playing at the Gap the other day. (A fitting place for it, I guess.) It really is one of the most boring songs by one of the most boring bands of all time

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