Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm

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This article is about song by Crash Test Dummies. For album by Floor Thirteen, see Mmmm!. For album by Relient K, see Mmhmm. For other topics, see MMM.
"Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"
Single by Crash Test Dummies
from the album God Shuffled His Feet
Released October 1, 1993
Format CD single
Recorded Music Head Recording in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Genre Alternative rock,[1] folk rock
Length 3:55
Label BMG/Arista
Writer(s) Brad Roberts
Producer(s) Jerry Harrison, Crash Test Dummies
Crash Test Dummies singles chronology
"The First Noel"
(1992)
"Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"
(1993)
"Swimming in Your Ocean"
(1994)
Music sample

"Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" is a song by the Canadian folk rock group Crash Test Dummies, It was released in October 1993 as the first single from their second album God Shuffled His Feet. It was very successful all around the world, peaking at number one in Germany, Australia and on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks chart. It also became a top five hit in both the UK Singles Chart and the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.[2][3]

Background and writing[edit]

Brad Roberts told The Independent, "when I wrote that song, it didn't flow through me, I wasn't inspired. I sat down and I decided I had certain themes that I wanted to make sure I handled in a way that wasn't sentimental but at the same time was powerful and poignant. I wanted to put a funny angle on it without being merely slapstick. It all boils down to careful scrutiny of what you're doing, your rational faculties being brought into play."[4]

Content[edit]

Each verse describes the isolation and suffering of a child, two of whom have a physical abnormality. In the first verse, a boy is injured in a car accident and misses school for an extended period; when he returns to class, his hair has changed color from black to white. In the second verse, a girl refuses to change clothes in the presence of other girls due to the birthmarks that cover her body. The third child is a boy whose parents make him come directly home after school; during services at their church, they "shake and lurch" across the floor. His situation is said to be worse than the other children's. During a live performance for the Dutch radio station Kink FM singer Brad Roberts whispered during the third verse "Pentecostal", apparently to mention that this third verse is based on this Christian denomination.[5]

An alternative version sometimes performed at live concerts replaced the third verse with one concerning a boy whose mother disposed of his tonsils after a tonsillectomy, thus depriving him of the possibility of bringing them to show and tell.[6]

Music video[edit]

The associated music video sets the song's lyrics as the script for a series of one-act plays performed by school children. Throughout, the scenes of the performance are intercut with scenes of the Crash Test Dummies performing the song at stage side.

The first act, set at a city intersection, tells the story of a young boy who was involved in a car crash. His hair turned white due to the force of the crash.

The second act tells the story of a girl that never used to "change with the girls in the change room", until one day the other girls (portrayed in the act as three inquisitive detectives) force her to change with them, only to discover that her body was covered in birthmarks.

The final act tells of a boy that lives under the strict discipline of his austere parents and how his family attends a church, where church-goers shake and lurch during the services. During the verse, the "boy" nervously looks into the audience at a couple who seem uneasy with the subject, implying that the three are the family being sung about.

Reception[edit]

Although highly successful when it was released, "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" has since been frequently included on lists of bad songs. The song was number 15 on VH1's 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever, named by Rolling Stone the "15th Most Annoying Song",[7] and ranked at number 31 both on Blender's list of the "50 Worst Songs Ever"[8] and, most recently, on AOL Radio's list of the 100 Worst Songs Ever (Matthew Wilkening called the song "Not only bad but amazingly monotone and depressing," and "Absolutely the last song to play for your sad friends").[9] Contrasting, VH1 named "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" the 31st greatest one-hit wonder of the 1990s in 2011.[10]

In a 1994 essay in which he makes the case that modern life is better than life in the past, humorist P.J. O'Rourke wrote "Even the bad things are better than they used to be. Bad music, for instance, has gotten much briefer. Wagner's Ring Cycle takes four days to perform while "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by the Crash Test Dummies lasts little more than three minutes."[11]

The track received a nomination for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, which it lost to "I Swear" by All-4-One.[12]

Uses in the media[edit]

  • "Weird Al" Yankovic parodied the song with "Headline News", which instead described three popular news events of 1993–1994.
  • Chris Morris parodied the song in his 1994 radio series The Chris Morris Music Show.
  • Appears in the European release of the PlayStation 2 video game SingStar 90s.
  • Featured in the 1994 film Dumb and Dumber.
  • Featured in episodes of I Love the 90s, Cold Case, How I Met Your Mother.
  • German band Erdmöbel covered the song with German lyrics, titled "Da war einmal ein Junge", meaning "Once there was a boy", released on No. 1 Hits[13]
  • Amateur Transplants also parodied the song and depicts the story of a man who has a stroke.
  • In a humorous Norwegian commercial from 2011 for cooked ham from the company Gilde we learn that the band named this song after tasting and liking Gilde's cooked ham.
  • On episode 28 of season 3 of Tosh.0, Daniel Tosh made a reference to the song when describing a video. He even had the audience respond by singing the chorus, "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm".

Track listings[edit]

CD maxi[edit]

  1. "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" – 3:53
  2. "Here I Stand Before Me" – 3:07
  3. "Superman's Song" (live from the U.S. public radio program Mountain Stage)

7" single[edit]

  1. "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" – 3:53
  2. "Here I Stand Before Me" – 3:07

U.S. single[edit]

  1. "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" – 3:53
  2. "Superman's Song" (album version) – 4:31
  3. "How Does a Duck Know?" – 3:42

Cassette single[edit]

Features cardboard picture liner

  1. "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"
  2. "Here I Stand Before Me"

Charts and sales[edit]

Outside their home country of Canada, the single became the band's most successful song, reaching number 4 in the U.S. and number 2 in the UK – the group's biggest hit in both countries. It also reached number 1 on the Modern Rock Chart in the U.S. and in Australia.

In Canada, the song was a comparative flop. While the Crash Test Dummies had 6 singles reach the Canadian top ten, "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" was not one of them. In Canada, the single stalled at number 14.

Chart successions[edit]

Preceded by
"Loser" by Beck
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
March 12, 1994 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"God" by Tori Amos
Preceded by
"Loser" by Beck
Norwegian VG-Lista number-one single
24/1994 – 29/1994 (6 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet
Preceded by
"Without You" by Mariah Carey
Swedish number-one single
June 3, 1994 – June 17, 1994 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Baby, I Love Your Way" by Big Mountain
Preceded by
"The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" by Prince
Australian (ARIA) number-one single
June 11, 1994 – June 25, 1994 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet
Preceded by
"United" by Prince Ital Joe and Marky Mark
German number-one single
July 15, 1994 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"I Swear" by All-4-One

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.three.fm/music/artist/crash-test-dummies/bio/ "The band did not receive much international recognition until the 1993 release of their second album, God Shuffled His Feet. Particularly instrumental in increasing the band's exposure in the American market was the appearance of a new type of radio format, adult album-oriented alternative rock (AAA). These stations put the first single "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" in high rotation and the song peaked at No. 4 in the US Hot 100."
  2. ^ "Crash Test Dummies - Discography (Awards)". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  3. ^ "Crash Test Dummies Singles". officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  4. ^ ROCK / A hit, a very improbable hit: The Crash Test Dummies have come from nowhere with 'Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm'. Erich Boehm meets their leader, Brad Roberts The Independent
  5. ^ KINK Live Performance of Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
  6. ^ Does Brad Roberts sometimes change the words to Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm? at the Crash Test Dummies FAQ
  7. ^ The 20 Most Annoying Songs : Rolling Stone
  8. ^ The 50 Worst Songs Ever! Watch, Listen and Cringe! from Blender.com (Retrieved May 3, 2008)[dead link]
  9. ^ Wilkening, Matthew (September 11, 2010). "100 Worst Songs Ever – Part Four of Five". AOL Radio. Retrieved December 24, 2010. 
  10. ^ VH1's 40 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the '90s
  11. ^ O'Rourke, P.J. (1994), All the trouble in the world. The lighter side of famine, pestilence, destruction and death. Sydney (Picador), 3–4
  12. ^ 37th Grammy Awards – 1995 from RockOnTheNet.com (Retrieved February 18, 2010)
  13. ^ Erdmöbel: "Da war einmal ein Junge"
  14. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  15. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  16. ^ "Ultratop.be – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  17. ^ "Hits of the World: Denmark (IFPI/Nielsen Marketing Research) 07/09/94". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media) 106 (28): 43. 9 July 1994. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  18. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3. 
  19. ^ "Lescharts.com – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (in French). Les classement single.
  20. ^ "Chartverfulgong > Crash Test Dummies > Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  21. ^ Irish Single Chart Irishcharts.ie (Retrieved April 26, 2008)
  22. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Crash Test Dummies search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  23. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". Top 40 Singles.
  24. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". VG-lista.
  25. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". Singles Top 60.
  26. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". Swiss Singles Chart.
  27. ^ UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved April 26, 2008)
  28. ^ a b c d Billboard Allmusic.com (Retrieved August 28, 2008)
  29. ^ 1994 Australian Singles Chart aria.com (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  30. ^ 1994 Austrian Singles Chart Austriancharts.at (Retrieved August 28, 2008)
  31. ^ "Single top 100 over 1994" (pdf) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 17 April 2010. 
  32. ^ 1994 French Singles Chart Disqueenfrance.com (Retrieved January 30, 2009)
  33. ^ 1994 Swiss Singles Chart Hitparade.ch (Retrieved April 26, 2008)
  34. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1994". Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  35. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('Mmm+Mmm+Mmm+Mmm')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved April 24, 2008. 
  36. ^ Norwegian certifications Ifpi.no (Retrieved August 28, 2008)
  37. ^ UK certifications Bpi.co.uk (Retrieved August 28, 2008)
  38. ^ U.S. certifications riaa.com (Retrieved April 24, 2008)

External links[edit]