Crayons (album)

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Crayons
Studio album by Donna Summer
Released May 20, 2008 (2008-05-20)
(See release history)
Recorded 2006—2008
Genre Pop, R&B, dance-pop, hip hop, bossa nova
Length 50:18
Label Burgundy
Producer Nathan DiGesare, Toby Gad, Jamie Houston, Greg Kurstin, Lester Mendez, Sebastian Morton, J.R. Rotem
Donna Summer chronology
Gold
(2005)
Crayons
(2008)
Singles from Crayons
  1. "I'm a Fire"
    Released: March 11, 2008
  2. "Stamp Your Feet"
    Released: April 15, 2008
  3. "It's Only Love"
    Released: August 5, 2008 (US)
  4. "Fame (The Game)"
    Released: November 19, 2008
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 66/100[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[2]
BBC (favorable) [3]
Billboard (positive) [4]
Boston Herald B [5]
Canoe.ca 3/5 stars[6]
Digital Spy 2/5 stars[7]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[8]
Okayplayer (78/100)[9]
Slant 3/5 stars[10]

Crayons is the eighteen and final studio album by American singer Donna Summer. Released in May 2008 through Sony Burgundy in the United States, it was her first album of original material since 1994's Christmas Spirit and 1991's Mistaken Identity. This was Donna's last album released before her death on May 17, 2012.

Overview[edit]

Recorded over a period of two years since signing with the Sony Music label's Burgundy Records label in 2006, Crayons marked Summer's first full-length studio album in fourteen years since 1994's Christmas Spirit, and her first album of original material since 1991's Mistaken Identity. She worked on the album with a number of different producers and songwriters including Greg Kurstin, Danielle Brisebois, J. R. Rotem, Wayne Hector, Toby Gad, Lester Mendez and Evan Bogart, the son of Summer's former record label boss at Casablanca Records, Neil Bogart.

The album debuted at #17 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart, which was also its peak. Despite a high debut position, the disc fell completely off the chart in five short weeks. The title track is a duet with reggae artist Ziggy Marley. The album's first official single, "Stamp Your Feet", was released to radio on April 15, 2008 (2008-04-15). A follow-up, "I'm a Fire", reached number-one on the Billboard dance/club chart, giving Summer her 13th number-one hit on that chart. Summer recorded four music videos: "Stamp Your Feet", "Mr. Music", "The Queen is Back", and "Fame (The Game)".

When commenting on the album, Summer explains, "I wanted this album to have a lot of different directions on it," says Donna. "I did not want it to be any one baby. I just wanted it to be a sampler of flavors and influences from all over the world. There's a touch of this, a little smidgeon of that, a dash of something else...like when you're cooking."

  • The lead-in track "Stamp Your Feet", written by Summer, Greg Kurstin, and Danielle Brisebois, was originally called, according to Summer, "The Player's Anthem". "It's the whole concept of being a player in life, coupled with the idea of being a player on an actual field, the whole thing, dealing with the pain and doing things even though you are afraid. Even though you're afraid of something and your knees are knocking, you get up and do it because a lot depends on it. Players get taken off to the sidelines and bandaged and thrown back in the game because it depends on them to win the game. We're all 'players.' It goes back to Shakespeare: 'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.'"
  • About the song "Crayons", Summer says, "It encompasses a lot of what the album is about," she says. "Every song is a different color. Since I'm also a visual artist, that title ties a lot of the loose ends of my life together. The song wrote itself pretty quickly. Taking it to the next level, we influence each other in life. You may have an Arab friend or an Israeli friend or an Indian friend and so you go and eat a little Indian food (or have a little pita bread), or something you've never experienced, and as we immerse ourselves in each other's cultural experiences, it's like taking a crayon and coloring over the lines and the lines become blurred between what's that and what's the other. You take two colors and create other colors and you add a third color and there's another color too. That's how we are in life and that, to me, is a good indication for this album: feeling free to draw between the lines. Everybody gets crayons at some point in their lives, everybody can relate to the basics. It comes down to that child in us, I think there's a commonality in the concept of crayons."
  • On "The Queen Is Back", Summer reveals her wry and witty self-awareness of her musical legacy and her public persona. "I'm making fun of myself," she admits. "There's irony, it's poking fun at the idea of being called a queen. That's a title that has followed me, followed me, and followed me. We were sitting and writing and that title kept popping up in my mind and I'm thinking, 'Am I supposed to write this? Is this too arrogant to write?' But people call me 'the queen,' so I guess it's ok to refer to myself as what everybody else refers to me as. We started writing the song and thought it was kind of cute and funny."

Summer wrote "The Queen Is Back" and "Mr. Music" with Jonathan "J.R." Rotem and Evan Bogart, whose father, Columbia Records boss Neil Bogart died from cancer at the age of 39. He signed Summer to his Casblanca Records in 1975 and released some of her biggest albums and singles during the 1970s. "I adored him and would have given up everything for him to be alive," says Summer, remembering a time in the 70s "when the nail person didn't show up and Neil got on his knees and did my toenails. In many ways he was my mentor and I didn't get to say goodbye to him." When Summer met Evan Bogart, she was struck by his uncanny resemblance to his label executive father. "It's almost like they chiseled him out of his father," Summer observed. "I'm in the studio looking at him and I get tears in my eyes, he has no idea why. I just wanted to hug him because it's like I'm seeing someone I haven't seen since his father passed away. It's almost like Neil is looking at me through him. Evan and I hit it off immediately; there was a synergy that happened really quickly." "The Queen is Back" samples "Lose Control" by Kevin Federline. Both songs are produced by J. R. Rotem.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Stamp Your Feet"   Danielle Brisebois, Greg Kurstin, Donna Summer Kurstin[11] 3:52
2. "Mr. Music"   Evan Bogart, J. R. Rotem, Summer, Meredith Willson Rotem 3:14
3. "Crayons" (featuring Ziggy Marley) Brisebois, Kurstin, Marley, Summer Kurstin 3:21
4. "The Queen Is Back"   Bogart, Rotem, Summer Rotem 3:27
5. "Fame (The Game)"   Toby Gad, Summer Gad 4:03
6. "Sand on My Feet"   Gad, Summer Gad 3:51
7. "Drivin' Down Brazil"   Brisebois, Kurstin, Summer Kurstin 4:43
8. "I'm a Fire"   Al Kasha, Sebastian Arocha Morton, Summer Morton 7:11
9. "Slide Over Backwards"   Nathan DiGesare, Jakob Petren, Summer DiGesare 4:10
10. "Science of Love"   Gad, Summer Gad 3:48
11. "Be Myself Again"   Wayne Hector, Lester Mendez, Summer Mendez 4:19
12. "Bring Down the Reign"   Jamie Houston, Fred Kron, Summer Houston 4:33

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2008) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard 200 17[12]
UK Albums Chart 142
Germany 73[13]
Spain 97
Switzerland 85

Release history[edit]

Region Date
United States May 20, 2008 (2008-05-20)
Canada
Denmark May 26, 2008 (2008-05-26)
Germany June 6, 2008 (2008-06-06)
Australia June 7, 2008 (2008-06-07)[14]
France June 9, 2008 (2008-06-09)
Spain June 10, 2008 (2008-06-10)
Brazil June 16, 2008 (2008-06-16)
United Kingdom June 23, 2008 (2008-06-23)
Japan June 25, 2008 (2008-06-25)

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.metacritic.com/music/crayons/donna-summer
  2. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Crayons > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  3. ^ Easlea, Daryl. "Crayons > Review". BBC Music. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  4. ^ Wood, Mikael. "Crayons > Review". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  5. ^ Katz, Larry. "Crayons > Review". Boston Herald. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  6. ^ Campbell, Stephane. "Crayons > Review". Canoe.ca. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  7. ^ Levine, Nick. "Crayons > Review". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  8. ^ Macpherson, Alex (2008-06-20). "Crayons > Review". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  9. ^ Book, John. "Crayons > Review". Okayplayer. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  10. ^ Henderson, Eric. "Crayons > Review". Slant. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  11. ^ "2000 and beyond". The Totally Unauthorized Donna Summer Tribute. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  12. ^ "Donna Summer > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  13. ^ "GER Charts > Donna Summer". Media Control Charts. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  14. ^ Moran, Jonathon (May 25, 2008). Donna Summer's Back. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved on May 25, 2008.