What a Good Boy, written by Steven Page with music by Steven Page and Ed Robertson, was released on the first Barenaked Ladies album, Gordon, in 1992.
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.'
This ballad is slow and contemplative, flowing and melancholy. It reflects upon the way we are molded from birth to be the people those around us want us to be instead of growing to be who we want to be, and the stifling weight of those expectations.
We've got these chains that hang around 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.
The music video for What a Good Boy, directed by Larry Jordan, has an artistic, ethereal quality, with soft edges and dreamy cinematography. At its most basic, says Steven Page, "the concept of this video was that these people are stuck in these molds they can't break out of." It watches a small boy trying to follow his dreams, but perpetually being yanked down by teachers, friends, and parents.
What a Good Boy is a wonderful song, filled with insightful lyrics and a melancholy feeling; its accompanying music video is amazingly in-depth (especially for the Ladies), with remarkable artistic qualities and symbolic elements.
Barenaked Ladies, Barelaked Nadies, "What a Good Boy" with commentary option