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"Alternative Girlfriend" is a song written by Steven Page and Stephen Duffy and recorded by Barenaked Ladies for their second full-length album Maybe You Should Drive, released in 1994.

Music video

The song's music video was filmed in Queens, New York (the neighborhood of Long Island City, to be exact) and was directed by New York-based filmmaker Adam Bernstein, who had previously directed videos for The B-52s, Beastie Boys, Sir Mix-A-Lot, They Might Be Giants and Ween. It stars Steve as the song's narrator and drag queen Billy Beyond as the titular girlfriend.

The video for "Alternative Girlfriend", directed by Adam Bernstein
The video for "Alternative Girlfriend", directed by Adam Bernstein

The video was apparently intended as a partial parody of the many "alternative" rock videos of the time that featured surreal, meaningless, non sequitur imagery; for example, it includes a close-up shot of Jim Creeggan eating a stale piece of bread for several seconds. The words "NO MEANING" are even shown onscreen at one point.

Trivia/Notes

  • The band has been known to play the song acoustically in a bluegrass style, both during live concerts and on radio sessions.
  • It was long rumored that the "girlfriend" in the video was actually played by English folk singer Billy Bragg or future BNL keyboardist Kevin Hearn.
  • Andy Creeggan reportedly sprained his ankle during the video shoot while slipping on a pile of pumpkin innards; the footage of this was apparently left in the video.
  • Part of this song was used in the background during a scene in the Baby Blues episode "Rodney Has Two Daddies."
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