Elephants...Teeth Sinking into Heart

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Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart
Studio album by Rachael Yamagata
Released October 7, 2008 (United States)
Genre Alternative rock, blues rock
Length 71:37
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Mike Mogis, John Alagia, Rachel Yamagata
Rachael Yamagata chronology
Loose Ends (EP)
(2008)
Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart
(2008)
Chesapeake (2011)
Additional covers
...Teeth Sinking Into Heart cover (back)
Japanese edition cover
Cover for Selections from 'Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart' EP

Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart is the second full-length album by Rachael Yamagata. It was released on 7 October 2008 via Warner Bros. Records in North America, 22 October 2008 in Japan, and 2 March 2009 in the UK.

Development[edit]

The album is split into two CDs: Elephants, featuring a darker, more vulnerable and intimate tone, which is said to be more similar to Yamagata's debut, Happenstance; while ...Teeth Sinking Into Heart, shows a grittier, more cynical side of the artist, who has described it as "this mix of 'Pulp Fiction' surf guitar, PJ Harvey [and] Tom Waits-flavored rock tunes which would be great to play live but ... just developed into this entity that would break the beauty of ('Elephants')."[1] The album contains fifteen tracks (one of them hidden), ten appearing in the first disc, Elephants, and five in ...Teeth Sinking Into Heart.[2]

However, the Japanese release of the album consists of a single CD, containing sixteen tracks (the aforementioned fifteen tracks plus a bonus, "Jonah", not included in the American release.)

Most of the album was produced by Mike Mogis, known for previous works with artists such as Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley, and The Faint, among others. John Alagia, who produced Yamagata's first album, Happenstance, has also produced two of the tracks in this record ("What If I Leave", and "Horizon").[3]

Release[edit]

The release of this album comes over four years after Yamagata's debut album Happenstance; this delay was caused by changes at her original label, RCA, which ultimately led her to be released from her contract there. She has also changed managers during that time. Yamagata is now signed with Warner Bros. Records.

On August 26, 2008, Amazon.com and iTunes released a four-track EP, called Selections from 'Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart', which contained two tracks off each part of the album ("Elephants" and "Sunday Afternoon", from Elephants; and "Sidedish Friend" and "Accident", from ...Teeth Sinking Into Heart).

On October 9, 2008, a two-song live acoustic video performance premiered on LiveDaily Sessions, featuring the songs "Faster" and "Sunday Afternoon".[4]

The first single off the album was 'Elephants' and the video for the song was released on 16 September 2008.

The album was subsequently released in Japan on 22 October 2008 and in the UK on 2 March 2009.

Album packaging[edit]

The album is set in digipak and contains two discs; the first being Elephants and the second is Teeth Sinking Into Heart.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[5]
Billboard (positive)[6]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[7]
Entertainment Weekly B−[8]
Spin 3/5 stars[9]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5 stars[10]
LiveDaily (positive)[11]
PopMatters 6/10 stars[12]
The Times 4/5 stars[13]
The Independent 3/5 stars[14]
The Sun 4/5 stars[15]

Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart had been widely acclaimed by most critics. The album received a score of 72/100, with generally favorable reviews on the site Metacritic. In a glowing review, Andrew Leahey of Allmusic called Yamagata "one of the strongest songwriters to emerge during the early 21st century" while praising the song 'Elephants' for its lyrical intensity. Billboard magazine in its review described the album as "an ambitious two-part album" and noted the contradictory yet effective musical styles between Elephants and Teeth Sinking Into Heart.

Will Hermes of Rolling Stone magazine also noted the different musical direction and themes between the two discs on the album. He commented that Elephants is "a hushed mood piece that's all wet vowels and damaged love" and Teeth Sinking Into Heart is "filled with rock & roll bite and gloves-off verses" while stating that Yamagata had pushes past familiar singer-songwriter fare into bolder regions with the album.

In another review on the site LiveDaily, the album is said to "chronicles the perils of heartache and, after time, the subsequent realignment of a love life through a creative two-part album". David Peisner of Spin magazine in his review said that the album "unwinds like a melancholy film score" and added that Yamagata is "more convincing as a moper, but the album's alternately punchy and slinky conclusion is heartening proof that she's no quitter".

Entertainment Weekly gave the album a rating of 'B-' and stated that the problem with the album lies in its two-part structure but were impressed by Yamagata's delivery of the songs. In the same review, the song 'Elephants' was reviewed as being a standout and was stated as "belongs in the canon of great spurned-lover songs".

Evan Sawdey of PopMatters however, wasn't impressed with the album. He reviewed of disc Elephants "the kind of bland, ballad-heavy disc that Yamagata had avoided so gracefully thus far in her career, and it’s really a sad sight to see her finally succumb to such whims". Although dissatisfied with the first disc, Sawdey was impressed with Teeth Sinking Into Heart and stated that the second disc "with its brisk running time, Teeth leaves you wanting more".

Track listing[edit]

Elephants
  1. "Elephants" — 4:14
  2. "What If I Leave" — 5:03
  3. "Little Life" — 4:07
  4. "Sunday Afternoon" — 9:05
  5. "Elephants Instrumental" — 1:46
  6. "Duet" (with Ray LaMontagne) — 4:01
  7. "Over and Over" — 5:25
  8. "Brown Eyes" — 3:46
  9. "Horizon" — 8:16
  10. "The Only Fault" (Hidden track) — 4:04
...Teeth Sinking Into Heart
  1. "Sidedish Friend" — 3:00
  2. "Accident" — 4:10
  3. "Faster" — 3:50
  4. "Pause the Tragic Ending" — 4:42
  5. "Don't" — 3:05
Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart (Japanese Bonus Track Edition)
  1. "Elephants" — 4:14
  2. "What If I Leave" — 5:03
  3. "Jonah" (Bonus Track) — 2:55
  4. "Pause the Tragic Ending" — 4:42
  5. "Faster" — 3:50
  6. "Don't" — 3:05
  7. "Accident" — 4:10
  8. "Sidedish Friend" — 3:00
  9. "Little Life" — 4:07
  10. "Sunday Afternoon" — 9:04
  11. "Elephants Instrumental" — 1:45
  12. "Duet" (with Ray LaMontagne) — 4:01
  13. "Over and Over" — 5:25
  14. "The Only Fault" — 4:04
  15. "Brown Eyes" — 3:46
  16. "Horizon" — 8:16

B-sides[edit]

  1. "He Loves You Deep Inside" — 3:38

Charts[edit]

Elephants... Teeth Sinking into Heart debuted at #53 on Billboard Hot 200 with sales of 9600 copies.

Album[edit]

Year Chart Position
2008 Billboard Top 200 (U.S.) 53
Billboard Top Digital Albums (U.S.) 10
Billboard Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums (U.S.) 16
Billboard Top Internet Albums (U.S.) 12
Billboard Comprehensive Albums (U.S.) 54
Billboard Top Rock Albums (U.S.) 20

Singles[edit]

Title Chart Position
Elephants Billboard Hot Singles Sales (U.S.) 3

Release history[edit]

Region Date
United States October 7, 2008
Japan October 22, 2008
United Kingdom March 2, 2009

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]