Sweet Dreams My LA Ex

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"Sweet Dreams My LA Ex"
Single by Rachel Stevens
from the album Funky Dory
B-side "Little Secret"
Released September 15, 2003 (2003-09-15)
Format CD single
Recorded 2003; Murlyn Studios
(Stockholm, Sweden)
Genre Dance-pop
Length 3:27
Label Polydor
Writer(s) Cathy Dennis, Christian Karlsson, Pontus Winnberg and Henrik Jonback
Producer(s) Bloodshy & Avant
Rachel Stevens singles chronology
"Sweet Dreams My LA Ex"
(2003)
"Funky Dory"
(2003)

"Sweet Dreams My LA Ex" is the début single by English singer-songwriter Rachel Stevens. It was released on 15 September 2003 as lead single from her first solo album, Funky Dory. Originally written for Britney Spears, the song was produced by Swedish Bloodshy & Avant, and received a mixed reception from contemporary critics. The single is Stevens's most successful single to date, peaking at number two on the UK Singles Chart. It was the twenty-second best selling single of 2003 in the United Kingdom, selling 210,000 copies.

The name uses a pun on LAX, the IATA airport code for Los Angeles International Airport.

Composition and inspiration[edit]

The lyrics of the song, written by Cathy Dennis, were inspired by Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River", which is believed to be aimed at Britney Spears, his ex-girlfriend. The lyrics are a message to the famous ex-lover who has talked about the relationship and break-up in public, with the person in the song now taking the time to deliver their side of the story.

"Find somebody else to talk about
If I were in your shoes
I'd worry of the effects
You've had your say but now its my turn"

The person in the song wishes their ex "sweet dreams", but accuses them of using the break-up to further themselves. Originally the song was written by Dennis for Britney Spears, who turned it down due to its subject matter. A few months later, Dennis still had not found someone to perform the song and offered it to Stevens, whom she had worked with when Stevens was a member of S Club 7. At the time Stevens had just begun work on her début solo album and thought the song, which did not sound like anything out at the time, would make a good first single. Stevens said of the song in an interview, "The writers really got my personality and the direction I want to go in," she said. "The first single is a great example – the first time I heard it I knew it’s what I wanted."[1]

Critical reception[edit]

"Sweet Dreams My LA Ex" received a mixed response from music critics. The BBC called the song "perfectly pleasant" but "unlikely to set the world alight, despite heavy rotation on radio and TV". The review also went onto say that while Stevens is popular, she will "need stronger material than this to maintain a pop career past her first album".[2]

Jamie Gill, in a review for DotMusic.com', called the song "utterly addictive",[3] while Amazon.co.uk called the song "sassy" and full of "feminine confidence".[4] In a separate review on Amazon, Georgina Collins, called the song "corker of a popsong", praising it for being catchy and fun to listen to.[5]

Music video[edit]

Stevens in her music video for "Sweet Dreams My LA Ex".

The music video for "Sweet Dreams My LA Ex" was released prior to the singles commercial release. It was directed by Tim Royes and filmed at Royal Studios in North London.

The video consists of four sequences; it begins with Stevens singing in an enclosed box, representing that she is trapped in a relationship that she no longer wants to be a part of; the next sequence has Stevens singing in front of her "LA Ex", telling him that she no longer wants to be with him; the next scene she is shown dancing with a few female dancers who tie her up in a red ribbon and trap her, which she fights against it and breaks free; the last sequence shows Stevens walking away from her ex, leaving the relationship.

At first Stevens was unsure about the idea when the choreographer told her of the plans for the video but she soon warmed up to it, "It was strange at first but I like it because it's something new and looks great on stage."[6]

The video was slightly edited for the rest of Europe, only taking off the pink light that follows her through the UK version.

Chart performance[edit]

"Sweet Dreams My LA Ex" was a hit in the UK, debuting at number two on the singles chart behind that year's biggest selling single from Black Eyed Peas' with "Where Is the Love?". It stayed in this position for two inconsecutive weeks, with a further three inside the top 10. Elsewhere in Europe the song was a minor pop hit, reaching the top ten in Denmark, Ireland and Norway. In the United States the song received minor airplay, and did not break onto the US Billboard charts.

In December 2003 the single was certified silver status for sales of 275,000 in the UK. At the end of 2003 the song was the 22nd best selling single of the year in the UK. The song was also nominated for ITV1's annual Record of the Year prize, finishing 6th behind Westlife who won with their cover of Barry Manilow's "Mandy", and was also nominated at the 2004 BRIT Awards for Best British Single, losing out to Dido with her song "White Flag".

"Sweet Dreams My LA Ex" is the 186th bestselling single of this decade in the UK, according to the Official Top 200 Bestselling Singles of the 00s List. The song has remained Stevens' biggest success worldwide, with her follow-up singles charting well out of the top ten worldwide. In the UK, only "Some Girls" and "More, More, More" were able to live up their predecessors success reaching the number two and three positions, with "Negotiate With Love" and "So Good" only just breaking the top 10.

Track listing[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Source:[1]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart (2003) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[2] 25
Denmark (Tracklisten)[3] 2
Eurochart Hot 100 Singles 7
Europe Top 100 24
Germany (Media Control Charts)[4] 64
Ireland (IRMA)[5] 3
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[6] 79
Norway (VG-lista)[7] 5
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[8] 24
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[9] 63
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[10] 2

Certifications[edit]

Country Certification
(sales thresholds)
Sales
United Kingdom Silver[11] 210,000

Cover versions[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Sweet Dream My LA Ex 1. Contact Music. Retrieved Jan. 8, 2006.
  2. ^ Justin Stoneman. Sweet Dream My LA Ex 2. Virgin Music. 2003. Retrieved Jan. 8, 2006.
  3. ^ Angry Jack - Derby. Sweet Dream My LA Ex 3. BBC.co.uk. 2003. Retrieved Jan. 28, 2006.
  4. ^ Jamie Gill. Sweet Dream My LA Ex 4. RachelStevensOnline. Oct. 7, 2003. Retrieved Jan. 28, 2006.
  5. ^ Cortman Virtue Sweet Dream My LA Ex 5. RachelStevensOnline. 2003. Retrieved Jan. 28, 2006.
  6. ^ Georgina Collins Sweet Dream My LA Ex 6. Amazon.co.uk. 2004. Retrieved Jan. 28, 2006.

References[edit]

  • "Rachel Stevens Discography". EIL.com. link - last accessed on January 8, 2006. Formats and tracklistings.
  • Rachel Stevens Online. link - last accessed on January 28, 2006. Chart information.

External links[edit]