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Pop: Barenaked Ladies

The Barenaked Ladies (in reality five fully clad Canadian blokes, right) have enjoyed a steady following over here throughout the Nineties but with Stunt, their impressive fourth studio album (released here on 22 Feb), they look set to follow-up their major North-American success. That long-player spent four months in the US Top 10 and the standout track, the hip-hoppy "One Week", topped the singles chart. Their cheeky power pop laced with folk, country and other influences, lends itself well to the live setting and these two London dates precede a support slot on the sell-out Beautiful South tour in April, by which time they should be much better known.

POP SINGLES CHART

1 (-) Believe Cher

Pop: Great Covers: 15. Scott Walker: 'Scott'

Inspired by one of Jacques Brel's final performances, erstwhile Brother and moody teen idol Walker released this extraordinarily passionate, but unfashionable, collection of songs during the summer of love. The antithesis of Sgt Pepper, Scott alienated fans and critics alike with its perceived cynicism and monochrome cover. Yet this (uncredited) shot of Walker in scarf and shades, head bowed and frowning in contemplation, has become the definitive image of the singer, and the paradigm for all tortured artists since.

Change of heart

From Mr Ian MacMillan

POP / Riffs: Mary Chapin Carpenter on Shawn Colvin's 'Climb on a Back That's Strong'

The melody gives me goosebumps. The lyrical content is very affirming and inspiring and very rise-to-the-challenge. There's a quiet verse and then it builds up to a beautiful chorus that just makes me sit up straight. I was part of the harmony chorus and I had a hard time concentrating because I was getting into the song and I would miss my cue. When I hear it live, it's like I hear the good bones of the song. Shawn's such an agile and beautiful singer that it's not like I miss the big punch of the voices. When you strip it down, the colours and the timbre become more extraordinary. The variant of the bridge that says: 'And if you could show me the story of love / I would write it again and again / And then you could be the woman you need / If you just let me be the man that I am' - that reaffirms my own belief about how men and women are so much alike. People who are so much into being women or men, without any regard to how androgynous we may really be, lose out. It makes me feel strong when I hear it.
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