Episode 26: Beautiful

/ July 3, 2018/ Barenaked ABCs/ 5 comments

Episode 26: Beautiful 

What can I say about this week’s episode?  It is pretty superficial at first but then it gets deep when we really delve into it.  Will you fall in love with us at first listen or will you have to listen a few times before the full magnitude of the discussion becomes evident?  We avoid man-splanning while we explore different interpretations of this song. I think, personally, this is one of our best discussions to date.   

Original song 



Bathroom session 



1996 Ed does backing vocals on a song called “Tell You Stories” by Melanie Doane 


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  1. That was a really interesting discussion! I’d never given that much thought to this song, and I certainly hadn’t considered the perspective that Michelle brought to it. I’m a little more inclined to some of the alternate explanations, as I don’t see this band writing something that straight forward as just objectifying women, but it was really interesting to hear that it landed that way for her. Also fascinating to hear all the alternate explanations that could be as well!

  2. I find myself agreeing with Tim here. I am surprised (and disappointed) to hear such a negative reaction to the song. Not disappointed in anybody WITH the reaction, but disappointed in the song to possibly evoke that interpretation.

    Obviously, my point of view is very different, because as a virtue of being a white male in north america, I don’t need to deal with all the same crap that many others do, so my interpretation is skewed comparatively. With that said, I’ve always interpreted the song more like “hey, most people only see this girl’s physical appearance, but I see more”. I always had a more hopeful outlook on “if i woke up blind, would i still try to find beautiful”, thinking that the narrator would be responding “yes” to that question.

    I like the lines “hoping that it’s deeper than skin, open to the beauty within”, interpreting that this is a person he’s just met and is infatuated by appearance, hoping to meet and get to know her, hoping to find that she is deeper than just beautiful, because beauty disappears and boredom perseveres. My main takeaway from that interpretation is that you better find more than just beauty, because beauty is not enough to sustain a meaningful long-lasting relationship.

    If you ever have Ed on, this needs to be on the questions of “what the heck did you mean??”

    1. It is amazing how many interpretations a song can have. I hope, honestly, that your take, which is the most positive of the three, is the correct one. I do have to say though, this song doesn’t age well, no matter which context. In today’s #MeToo situation, this song has a very negative spin.

  3. I agree, even if negative intentions were not there, it is not a good look that people can interpret the song in that manner. It’s hard for me though, because I actually really like the music and the vocals in this song. I have this bizarre tendency where I know the music, the melody of the vocals, and sometimes even the lyrics without ever having interpreted or thought about the lyrics.

    This song was actually my ringtone for when my girlfriend (now my wife) called me. Because I loved the music and the song was called beautiful. Then she said “what the heck is this my ringtone for, it just says she’s pretty but has nothing going on upstairs!” (facepalm)

    1. Until starting this podcast, that pretty much explained me as well. For example, I never thought about the lyrics for “She’s A Beauty” by the Tubes. I still like the song, but now it is changed. HAHAHAHA I love the second paragraph! The same thing happened to me (sort of). I had “Call and Answer” as my wife’s ring tone because I love the song and the tune. And the chorus just says “If you call, I will answer, and if you fall, I’ll pick you up.” That was where it ends. My wife then heard it and was not happy. Because she knew what the song was about. It is now a DMB song (because that is her band).

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