Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

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Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Studio album by Phoenix
Released 25 May 2009 (2009-05-25)
Recorded 2008; Motorbass Studio
(Montmartre, Paris)
Genre Alternative rock, synthpop, new wave
Length 37:02
Label V2, Loyauté, Glassnote
Producer Phoenix, Philippe Zdar
Phoenix chronology
It's Never Been Like That
(2006)
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
(2009)
Bankrupt!
(2013)
Singles from Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
  1. "1901"
    Released: 23 February 2009
  2. "Lisztomania"
    Released: 7 July 2009
  3. "Lasso"
    Released: 2009
Alternative cover
A silhouette line drawing of black bombs falling on a blue background with "Wolfgang AMADEUS PHOENIX" written on one of the bombs and "PHOENIX REMIXES" written at the bottom in white.
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix Remixes cover

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is the fourth studio album by French indie rock band Phoenix. It was released on 25 May 2009 by V2 Records. While the band's previous work enjoyed a moderate underground following, the release of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix drew the attention of a more mainstream audience. In the US, Phoenix began a promotional tour including performances on several late night talk shows. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix continued to gain momentum with the increased exposure of the tour. The album had the critics' attention, and despite a slow climb in alternative music charts it eventually reached the top 10 for the year.[1] Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix earned the band a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album at the 52nd Grammy Awards held on 31 January 2010.[2]

Background[edit]

The album credits Phoenix band members Thomas Mars on vocals, Deck D'Arcy on bass, and Laurent Brancowitz and Christian Mazzalai on guitar, as well as the collaboration of Phillipe Zdar Cerboneschi, who mixed the album and played drums on the song "Fences". Phoenix produced 10 songs for release on the album in the U.S. and Canada under the Glassnote label.[3]

The album name plays off of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, using his first and middle name and replacing his last with the band's name "Phoenix". Of the name, Phoenix, Thomas Mars says, "The album title is almost like a childish thing, like you’re unleashing a child into the museum and he draws a mustache on the Mona Lisa or something ... It’s kind of bratty, especially with me, my mom is German and Mozart is Austrian and in Germany it’s like messing with the Pope or something."[4]

Writing and composition[edit]

Co-producer Philippe Zdar hosted the recording of the album from his in home studio in Paris.[5] During the production of the album, the band recorded video of the sessions, which they have released as mini documentaries of their journey to create Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. The videos are available on the band's website.

Throughout the process, lead singer Thomas Mars, noted the use of Oblique Strategies flash cards to promote his creative thinking during the development of the album.[6]

Reviewer Andrew Winistorfer said of the album, "'Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix' opens with two monster singles, 'Lisztomania', a glittery anthem that manufactures a sense that you're in for greatness and an immense motion that gets more urgent as the song progresses, and '1901', a synth-washed heartfelt ode from frontman Thomas Mars about falling in love."[7]

"Lisztomania" refers to the term 'Lisztomania', a word coined by the German romantic writer Heinrich Heine to describe the massive public response to Franz Liszt's virtuosic piano performances.

The third single, "Lasso", is one of the few songs in which the band has utilized a guitar solo. The opening drumbeat, fast-paced toms and the drumroll in the chorus were played on a synthesizer by Mars, who was a drummer at a young age.

Promotion and release[edit]

A
Phoenix on tour at the "Wiltern Theatre" in Los Angeles 28 June 2009.

It was announced in early 2009 that the band would be releasing an album. The single "1901" was released 29 February 2009.

In order to get fans interested in the album the band released an EP version of the album for Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix that was only available through iTunes. The EP featured both songs that were performed on SNL and two others; "Love Like a Sunset pt 1 & 2".[8][9][10] On 25 May 2009 the album was released on V2 records in conjunction with Loyauté the band's own record label worldwide and on Glassnote in the United States of America.[5][11][12]

From 12 May 2009, the album was available to download from the iTunes Store for customers in North America[13] and from Amazon MP3.[14]

On 7 August 2009, Phoenix performed a live version of "Lisztomania" on Australian youth radio network Triple J in a program called "Like a Version".[15]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 82/100[16]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[17]
The A.V. Club A[18]
Drowned in Sound 9/10[19]
Entertainment Weekly A−[20]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[21]
musicOMH 4/5 stars[22]
NME 8/10[23]
Pitchfork (8.5/10)[24]
Spin 3.5/5 stars[25]

In Australia, the album debuted at #13. It debuted on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart at No. 37 and remained in the Top 100 for several weeks due to the alternative radio success of the album's singles "1901" and "Lisztomania". It has sold 721,000 copies in the US as of April 2013.[26]

The album won the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album on 31 January 2010.[27][28]

Year-end list entries

"Lisztomania" and "1901" were both listed on Triple J's Hottest 100 for 2009, and received No. 4 and No. 13 respectively.[35]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Lisztomania"   4:08
2. "1901"   3:13
3. "Fences"   3:45
4. "Love Like a Sunset (Part I)"   5:39
5. "Love Like a Sunset (Part II)"   1:57
6. "Lasso"   2:48
7. "Rome"   4:38
8. "Countdown"   3:57
9. "Girlfriend"   3:24
10. "Armistice"   3:05

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification
Australia Gold[55]
Canada Gold[56]
United States Gold[57]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Tyrangiel, Josh (8 December 2009). "'Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix' by Phoenix – The Top 10 Everything of 2009". TIME. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Nominees". GRAMMY.com. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  3. ^ Phoenix. "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix". Perf. Deck D'Arcy, Laurent Brancowitz, Christian Mazzalai, Thomas Mars, and Phillipe Zdar Cerboneschi. Ghettoblaster.2009.
  4. ^ Earfarm 29 April 2009 Phoenix (an Interview with Thomas Mars) http://earfarm.com/band-of-the-week/3020
  5. ^ a b "Phoenix News: Phoenix Rises With New Album, Label". Idiomag.com. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  6. ^ Kroening, Jonathan (26 April 2011). "Music Review: Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix". seattlepi.com. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "Album Review: Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix | Prefix". Prefixmag.com. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "PHOENIX PREMIERE NEW SONGS ON SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE APRIL 4 | Skope Entertainment Inc". Skopemag.com. 31 March 2009. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "Phoenix Play SNL, Release Exclusive iTunes EP Next Weekend « The FADER". Thefader.com. 26 March 2009. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  10. ^ Dombal, Ryan (25 March 2009). "Phoenix to Play "Saturday Night Live" | News". Pitchfork. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "V2 : Artists". V2music.com. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  12. ^ DougWallen. "Phoenix – interview – Interviews". Thevine.com.au. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  13. ^ Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix iTunes Store. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  14. ^ Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix Amazon MP3. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  15. ^ Listen to Phoenix's Like a VersionLike a Version.Retrieved on 31 August 2009.
  16. ^ "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix". Metacritic. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f Kellman, Andy. "Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix". Allmusic. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  18. ^ Battaglia, Andy (26 May 2009). "Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  19. ^ Adams, Sean (1 June 2009). "Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  20. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (20 May 2009). "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  21. ^ Petridis, Alexis (22 May 2009). "Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  22. ^ Cragg, Michael (25 May 2009). "Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix". musicOMH. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  23. ^ Haynes, Gavin (13 May 2009). "Album review: Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix". NME. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  24. ^ Dombal, Ryan (27 May 2009). "Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix". Pitchfork. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  25. ^ Modell, Josh (11 May 2009). "Phoenix, 'Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix'". Spin. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  26. ^ Paul Grein (May 1, 2013). "Week Ending April 28, 2013. Albums: Snoop Lamb Is More Like It". Yahoo Music (Chart Watch). Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  27. ^ 52nd Grammy Awards
  28. ^ "Release | Digital". MTV Press. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  29. ^ "Search Articles, Artists, Reviews, Videos, Music and Movies". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  30. ^ Staff, Pitchfork (17 December 2009). "Staff Lists: The Top 50 Albums of 2009". Pitchfork. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  31. ^ The top 25 albums of 2009 (9 December 2009). "The top 25 albums of 2009". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  32. ^ Adams, Sean (18 December 2009). "Drowned in Sound's Top 50 Albums of 2009". Drownedinsound.com. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  33. ^ "The 25 Best Albums of 2009 – Rhapsody: The Mix". Rhapsody. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  34. ^ 12.07.09 5:07 pm. "The 40 Best Albums of 2009 | PHOENIX". SPIN.com. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  35. ^ "Triple J Hottest 100 Countdown 2009". Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  36. ^ "Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix". australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  37. ^ "Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix" (in German). austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  38. ^ "Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  39. ^ "Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix" (in French). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  40. ^ "European Albums – Week of June 13, 2009". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on 20 May 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  41. ^ "Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix" (in French). lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  42. ^ "Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix" (in German). charts.de. Media Control. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  43. ^ "Top 75 Artist Album, Week Ending 28 May 2009". Chart-Track. Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  44. ^ "フェニックスのアルバム売り上げランキング" [Phoenix album sales ranking] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  45. ^ "Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix". norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  46. ^ "Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix". swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  47. ^ "Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  48. ^ "The Official Charts Company - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix Search". The Official Charts Company. 6 May 2013. 
  49. ^ "Classement Albums – année 2009" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  50. ^ "2009 Year End Charts – Top Billboard 200". Billboard.biz. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on 3 October 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  51. ^ "2009 Year End Charts – Independent Albums". Billboard.biz. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on 4 October 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  52. ^ "Classement Albums – année 2010" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  53. ^ "2010 Year End Charts – Top Billboard 200". Billboard.biz. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on 27 February 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2010. 
  54. ^ "2010 Year End Charts – Independent Albums". Billboard.biz. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on 4 October 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  55. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2010 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  56. ^ "Gold Platinum Database". Music Canada. 15 July 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  57. ^ "Gold & Platinum". Recording Industry Association of America. 10 September 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 

External links[edit]