What a Good Boy

Barenaked Ladies

About What a Good Boy

"What a Good Boy" is a song from the Barenaked Ladies' 1992 debut album, Gordon. A live version of the song appeared on the 1994 single for "Jane". Another live version was later released on the live album Rock Spectacle. This version later appears on the compilation Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits. The song was co-written by Steven Page and Ed Robertson. The song is played during the end credits of the 1995 film, Stonewall, and during the "Hate Crimes" episode of Homicide: Life on the Street.  


Year:
1996
4:47
535 
#2

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When I was born
They looked at me and said
What a good boy
What a smart boy
What a strong boy

And when you were born
They looked at you and said
What a good girl
What a smart girl
What a pretty girl

We've got these chains
Hanging 'round our necks
People want to strangle us with them
Before we take our first breath
Afraid of change
Afraid of staying the same
When temptation calls
We just look away

This name is the hair shirt I wear
And this hair shirt is woven from your brown hair
This song is the cross that I bear
Bear with me
Bear with me
Bear with me
Be with me tonight
I know that it isn't right
But be with me tonight

I go to school
I write exams
If I pass if I fail if I drop out
Does anyone give a damn?

And if they do
They'll soon forget
'Cause it won't take much for me
To show my life ain't over yet

I wake up scared
I wake up strange
I wake up wondering if anything in my life
Is ever gonna change
I wake up scared
I wake up strange
And everything around me stays the same

It's the hair shirt I wear
And this hair shirt is woven from
It's woven from your brown hair
This song is the cross that I bear
Bear with me
Bear with me
Bear with me
Be with me tonight
I know that it isn't right
But be with me tonight

I couldn't tell you
I was wrong
Chickened out grabbed a pen and a paper
Sat down and I wrote this song

I couldn't tell you
That you were right
So instead I looked in the mirror
Watched TV, laid awake all night

We've got these chains
Hanging round our necks
People want to strangle us with them
Before we take our first breath
Afraid of change
Afraid of staying the same
When temptation calls, yeah

This name is the hair shirt I wear
And this hair shirt is woven from
It's woven from
It's woven from hair
This song is the cross that I bear
Bear with me
Bear with me
Bear with me
Be with me tonight

And when I was born
They looked at me and said
What a good boy
What a smart boy
What a strong boy

And when you were born
They looked at you and said
What a good girl
What a smart girl
What a pretty girl, yeah, yeah

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Barenaked Ladies

Barenaked Ladies (often abbreviated BNL or occasionally BnL) is a Canadian alternative rock band. The band is currently composed of Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn, Ed Robertson, and Tyler Stewart. Barenaked Ladies formed in 1988 in Scarborough, Ontario, then a suburban municipality outside the City of Toronto. They are best known for their hit singles, "One Week", "The Old Apartment", "Pinch Me", "If I Had $1000000", "Brian Wilson"; as well as the theme for the sitcom The Big Bang Theory. They have won multiple Juno Awards and have been nominated for Grammy Awards. They are also known for their light-hearted, comedic performance style. Their live shows are known for humorous banter between songs and improvised raps/songs, both of which are staples at virtually eve… more »

1 fan

Written by: Ed Robertson, Steven Page

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind


10 facts about this song

Release Details
"What a Good Boy" is a song by the Canadian rock band, Barenaked Ladies. The track was released in 1992 as the fourth single from their debut album, "Gordon."
Songwriting Credits
The song was written by group members Steven Page and Ed Robertson, who serve as the primary songwriters for the band.
Lyrical Analysis
The track explores themes of societal and parental expectation, with lyrics directly speaking to the pressure of maintaining a 'good boy' image. It also addresses the struggle of losing personal identity within these expectations.
Music Video
The music video for "What a Good Boy" received heavy rotation on MuchMusic and was a significant factor in the band's growing popularity in their home country of Canada.
Chart Performance
Despite its popularity domestically, "What a Good Boy" did not make a significant impact on international charts. It peaked at number 34 on Canada's RPM Top Singles Chart.
Critical Reception
The song received favorable reviews and is often cited as one of Barenaked Ladies' most beautifully crafted and emotionally resonant songs.
Live Performances
Due to its popularity among fans, "What a Good Boy" is frequently included in Barenaked Ladies' live performances.
Song Variations
In several live performances, the band often modifies the lyrics and instrumentations, leading to different versions of the song.
Legacy
Despite not being one of the band's biggest hits in terms of chart performance, "What a Good Boy" stands as a fan favorite and is a mainstay in the Barenaked Ladies' concert setlists.
Cultural References
The band's live album, "Rock Spectacle," contains a reference to the song in the track "When I Fall," where lead vocalist Steven Page sings, "I look straight up below... What a good boy." This reference reinforces the themes of societal pressures and expectations featured in "What a Good Boy."

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