What I Am

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"What I Am"
7" single cover
Single by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
from the album Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars
B-side
  • "I Do"
  • "Walk on the Wildside"
Released November 1988 (US) [1]
Format 7" single, 12" single, 3" CD single, cassette single
Genre Rock
Length 4:54
Label Geffen
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Pat Moran
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians singles chronology
"What I Am"
(1988)
"Circle"
(1988)

"What I Am" is a song written by Edie Brickell and Kenny Withrow and recorded by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians for their debut album, Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars (1988). It peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100. It also topped the charts in Canada, but only peaked within the top forty of the charts in the United Kingdom. This version was ranked number 77 on VH1's list of The 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders. The song was featured in a 1989 episode of Miami Vice, an episode of Beavis and Butt-head, as well as an episode of Doogie Howser, M.D. and in the 1989 Patrick Dempsey film Loverboy.[2]

The song is highlighted by a guitar solo that emulates the approach of Jerry Garcia including the use of an envelope filter.

Formats and track listings[edit]

7" single / cassette single

Side A:

  1. "What I Am" – 4:54

Side B:

  1. "I Do" – 2:00
12" single / 3" CD single
  1. "What I Am" – 4:54
  2. "I Do" – 2:00
  3. "Walk on the Wildside" – 5:52

Charts[edit]

Chart (1988–1989) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 4
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 9
Australian Singles Chart 18
Canadian Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart 31
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 7


Tin Tin Out and Emma Bunton version[edit]

"What I Am"
Single by Tin Tin Out featuring Emma Bunton
from the album Eleven to Fly
B-side "Weird (Save Yourself)"
Released 1 November 1999
Format CD single
Recorded Sarm West Studios
(London, United Kingdom)
Genre Pop rock, electronica, trip hop
Length 4:34 (Album version)
3:54 (Radio version)
Label VC
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Tin Tin Out
Tin Tin Out singles chronology
"Eleven to Fly"
(1999)
"What I Am"
(1999)
"Anybody's Guess"
(2000)
Emma Bunton singles chronology
"What I Am"
(1999)
"What Took You So Long?"
(2001)
Audio sample
file info · help
Music video
"What I Am" on YouTube

The song was covered by the British duo Tin Tin Out featuring vocals of the Spice Girls member Emma Bunton. Released in November 1999 as the second single from Tin Tin Out's second studio album, Eleven to Fly (1999). It also appeared on Bunton's debut solo album, A Girl Like Me (2001).

Tin Tin Out and Bunton's version debuted and peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart, twenty nine places higher than the original version ten years previously, losing the battle against Bunton's former co-Spice Girl member Geri Halliwell's "Lift Me Up". It sold 106,000 copies to get to number two in its first week and around 221,787 copies altogether. "What I Am" was the UK's 88th best-selling single of 1999.

Format and track listing[edit]

This is the format and track listing of the major single release of "What I Am".

UK CD single
  1. "What I Am" (Radio Version) – 3:54
  2. "What I Am" (Gangstarr Remix) – 4:07
  3. "Weird (Save Yourself)" (Tin Tin Out featuring Wendy Page) – 5:42

Charts[edit]

Chart (1999-2000) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart[3] 65
French Singles Chart[4] 75
German Singles Chart[5] 81
Irish Singles Chart[6] 14
Netherland Singles Chart[4] 94
New Zealand Singles Chart[4] 48
Swedish Singles Chart[4] 52
UK Singles Chart[7] 2
Ukraine (FDR Pop)[8] 16

Other cover versions[edit]

Sampling[edit]

  • The song was sampled by Brand Nubian on their 1990 song "Slow Down".
  • The song was sampled by New Edition on their song "Something About You", from their 1996 album Home Again.
  • The hook of this song was reused by Smokin' Suckaz wit Logic on their 1993 song "Mutha Made 'Em".
  • Portions of the song were resung by Lauryn Hill and sampled into Aretha Franklin's 1998 hit "A Rose Is Still a Rose".
  • "What I am is what I am" was resung on 311's 1995 song "Jackolantern's Weather"
  • The drum beat from an Italian bootleg version of the song was sampled and looped on Primal Scream's "Loaded".
  • The guitar riff used by Tin Tin Out in their remix of The Corrs' "What Can I Do" is strikingly similar to the main guitar riff in "What I Am." Tin Tin Out would then go on to cover this song (see above).
  • Eminem sampled this on his 2000 MTV Video Music Awards performance of "The Real Slim Shady/The Way I Am"
  • The line "I'm so aware of too many things, I know what I know if you know what I mean." is in the song "Keep On" by Grand Puba on the 1995 album 2000.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Strong, M. C. (1995). The Great Rock Discography. Edinburgh: Canongate Books Ltd. p. 90. ISBN 0-86241-385-0. 
  2. ^ Edie Brickell at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ "ARIA Chartifacts – Week Commencing 16th April 2001" (PDF). ARIA. Pandora Archive. Retrieved 2007-07-25. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Tin Tin Out feat. Emma Bunton – What I Am – swisscharts.com". swisscharts.com. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  5. ^ "Musicline.de – Tin Tin Out – What I Am". Musicline.de (in German). Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  6. ^ "The Irish Charts". IRMA. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  7. ^ "Chart Stats – Tin Tin Out Featuring Emma Bunton – What I Am". Chart Stats. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  8. ^ "Ukrainian Chart". FDR. 2009-05-10. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 

External links[edit]