Better Off Alone

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"Better Off Alone"
Image-Alice Deejay Better Off Alone.jpg
Orbit Records German cover
Single by Alice Deejay
from the album Who Needs Guitars Anyway?
Released 1998[1]
Format
Recorded 1997[3]
Studio Violent Studios (Studio 4045),
Hilversum, Netherlands[4]
Genre Eurodance, trance
Length 3:34
Label Violent Music B.V./Violent Records[4]
Writer(s) Sebastiaan Moljin, and Eelke Kahlberg[5][4]
Producer(s) Jürgen Rijkers, Sebastiaan Moljin, and Eelke Kahlberg[4]
Alice Deejay singles chronology
"Better Off Alone"
(1998)
"Back in My Life"
(1999)
DJ Jurgen cover
Violent Records DJ Jurgen single
Music sample
21 second excerpt where the song's primary line is featured.

"Better Off Alone" is a song by Alice Deejay, the trance music project of Dutch producer Jürgen Rijkers (DJ Jurgen) in collaboration with Sebastiaan Moljin and Eelke Kahlberg (Pronti & Kalmani). In 1998, the song was released as an instrumental by DJ Jurgen on Violent Records. Later releases of the track included vocals by Judith Pronk, who would later become a seminal part of the Alice Deejay project.

The song was later included on Alice Deejay's debut album Who Needs Guitars Anyway? (2000). The song is known for playing a key role in the development of the commercial trance sound, and has since been considered a electronic/trance music classic.

Production[edit]

The song was initially an instrumental track composed in 1997 by Jürgen "DJ Jurgen" Rijkers, Sebastiaan "Pronti" Moljin, and Eelke "Kalmani" Kahlberg at the Violent Studios 4045 complex in Hilversum, Netherlands.[5][3][4][1] Violent Music and Violent Studios owners Dennis "Danski" Van Der Driesschen and Wessel "Delmundo" van Diepen had previously offered studio space for Pronti and Kalmani next to their 4045 complex.[1] Before the production of "Better Off Alone", Pronti and Kalmani had worked on composing music for the label's other project the Vengaboys.[1]

In post-production of the instrumental, Sebastiaan Molijn stated he invented the lyric "Do you think you're better off alone?" after his romantic partner had left him. Molijn stated that "I started humming the vocal melody while the track was playing and we decided to add vocals. It made the emotion of the song as real as it gets."[5] Judith Pronk later served as singer for the Alice Deejay compositions of the song.[6] Pronti and Kalmani's official biography once stated that DJ Jurgen, "wanted to stay the underground DJ that he was, so the group Alice Deejay was formed."[1] In 1999, the "Radio Edit" was produced.[1]

Later in 1999, Sebastiaan Moljin and Eelke Kahlberg produced several remixes of the song which included the "Vocal Clubmix", "Pronti & Kalmani Vocal Remix", and the "Pronti & Kalmani Club Dub".[1]

Composition[edit]

"Better Off Alone" is written in the key of G sharp minor with a fast tempo of 137 beats per minute. The song follows a chord progression of E–Dm–Gm–F, and the vocals span from B3 to G4.[7]

With the turn of the century, "Better Off Alone" has been described as a turning point in the development of a commercialized trance sound. This sound shared by related compositions such as "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" by Eiffel 65 that surfaced around the same time.[8] Co-founder of Dash Berlin Jeffrey Sutorious stated, "It became such a huge chart hit around the world that many people categorised [sic] it as Euro Dance, when in fact it started out as vocal trance". Eelke Kalberg and Sebastiaan Molijn are Dash Berlin's other co-founders.[3] Entertainment Weekly described the song as "techno-pop" while Spin described it as a "trance-fueled Eurodance".[6][9]

Release[edit]

Single[edit]

The single was initially released as an instrumental single by DJ Jurgen in 1998 on Violent Music B.V.'s label Violent Records.[1] Upon release there were only 500 vinyls pressed.[3] After the single established credibility under DJ Jurgen's name, the vocal versions got re-released as "DJ Jurgen Presents Alice Deejay" as well as "Alice Deejay Featuring DJ Jurgen" in some countries. The vocal single later came to be of just Alice Deejay.[10][11]

The track was released to dance clubs and became an international hit in clubs reaching number 2 on the Billboard club charts and a top ten club chart worldwide. The song then became a hit reaching number 2 in Canada, number 25 in the U.S. and number 2 in the UK. It went on to sell over 600,000 copies in the UK and become one of the country's best-selling singles of 1999, despite the radio edit not being on the commercial CD release.[12] The song was in the top 100 best-selling singles in Australia for 2000 as compiled by the Australian Recording Industry Association.[13]

Music videos[edit]

"Better Off Alone" is notable for having two versions of its music video. The original music video was released in 1999, directed by Olaf van Gerwen through the studio Blood Simple – who at the time directed videos for Sebastian Molijn and Eelke Kalberg's other music project the Vengaboys.[14][15] In the first version of the video, a man travels in a Jeep through the desert. His car stalls and is forced to walk on foot. In parallel, a woman is sitting on a couch in a living room singing the lyrics to the song. The man gets tired of walking through the desert, only to settle down and get covered in sand. The second version was directed by "Cousin Mike" from the 1711 Production Group. The second video was shot in Miami for Republic and Universal.[16] The second version is interspersed with desert scenes from the original, but with added scenes where Judith Pronk, Mila Levesque and Angelique Versnel are dancing in a room with oriental decor. Sometimes just Pronk alone, wearing a blue dress with a veil.

Response[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

The song was initially received with passiveness by some critics. Entertainment Weekly gave the song a B rating, describing the song as having "catchy, throwaway results" with "barely there lyrics".[9]

In retrospect the song garnered acclaim. Vibe magazine considering the song "a timeless track" in their 30 Dance Tracks From The ’90s That Changed The Game.[17] Complex magazine stated the song, "perfectly embodies the 1990s Eurodance/euro trance sound that took over clubs, and today we're hearing the big room house scene build upon what was started here" in their 10 Essential Eurodance Classics. Complex also stated that Sebastiaan Moljin and Eelke Kahlberg's production of trance music project Dash Berlin, is directly reflective of the song's influence on the modern day electronic music scene.[18] Dash Berlin honorarily included the song in their top 5 greatest trance classics.[3] Critic George McCarthy has described the song as being 'full of life: displaying an extensive range of raw emotional vulnerabilities that are unmatched by any other modern dance track, is a banger'.

Meagan Garvey of MTV referenced the song as an example of "Eurodance Nostalgia" and that the cult status of the song is "mostly retroactive". Garvey stated that songs such as "Better Off Alone", "left you with an aching sensation, as if something had been left unsaid. The undercurrent of melancholy seemed more akin to mid-’90s tracks like La Bouche’s “Where Do You Go” or Haddaway’s “What Is Love,” dance tracks built around unanswerable questions."[19]

Cover versions and samples[edit]

In 2007, New Jersey rock group Paulson released a rock cover of the song on their Calling on You EP.[20]

In 2008, the main melody of the song was sampled by producer Johnny Juliano in "Say Yeah" by Wiz Khalifa, which added the Roland-808 as well as drum machine claps to the existing melody.[21] Hip hop and trap producer AraabMuzik stated that sampling the song was initially what led him to sampling "trance and really upbeat dance music". The song was sampled by him in "South Beach" by 40 Cal featuring Duke Da God.[22]

In 2011, Dutch DJ and producer Laidback Luke introduced an electro house remix of the song in the compilation Cream Ibiza: Super You & Me, marketed as a 2011 "Summer anthem".[23]

French producer David Guetta was authorized to use the main melody or "hook" of the song.[24] The main melody of the song was sampled in David Guetta's 2013 song "Play Hard" featuring Ne-Yo and Akon. The recording was later included in the reboot album Nothing but the Beat 2.0. Some sources have described this "heavy" sampling as an example of the "gray area in the world of music plagiarism". Despite the authorized use of the melody, some sources have stated that this poses the question of "How much sampling is too much sampling?".[25]

Track listing[edit]

DJ Jurgen singles[edit]

Alice Deejay singles[edit]

Laidback Luke remixes[edit]

"Better Off Alone (Laidback Luke Remix)"
Single by Laidback Luke remixing and remastering Alice Deejay
from the album Cream Ibiza: Super You&Me
Released June 20, 2011
Format
Genre Electro house, trance[44]
Label Violent Music B.V./Violent Records[44]
Writer(s) Sebastiaan Moljin, and Eelke Kahlberg[5][4]
Producer(s) Laidback Luke
remixing and remastering
Jürgen Rijkers, Sebastiaan Moljin, and Eelke Kahlberg[4]
Laidback Luke singles chronology
"Turbulence" (2011) "Better Off Alone (Laidback Luke Remix)" (2011) "Natural Disaster" (2011)
Digital Netherlands single, multi-format[44] (Violent Music) VIO2011
  1. "Better Off Alone" (Laidback Luke Hit Radio Remix) – (2:46)
  2. "Better Off Alone" (Laidback Luke Dance Radio Remix) – (3:15)
  3. "Better Off Alone" (Laidback Luke Full Length Remix) – (5:03)
  4. "Better Off Alone" (1999 Original Radio Edit Remastered) – (3:35)
  5. "Better Off Alone" (1999 Original Mix Remastered) – (6:51)
CD maxi-single[45] (Violent Music)
  1. "Better Off Alone" (Laidback Luke Remix) - Hitradio – (2:48)
  2. "Better Off Alone" (Laidback Luke Remix) - Dance Radio – (3:16)
  3. "Better Off Alone" (Laidback Luke Remix) - Full Length – (5:04)
  4. "Better Off Alone" (1999 Original Hit Radio) – (3:38)
Digital Australian single, multi-format[46] (Central Station Australia) DN 0182
  1. "Better Off Alone" (Laidback Luke Hitradio Remix) – (2:48)
  2. "Better Off Alone" (Laidback Luke Dance Radio Remix) – (3:16)
  3. "Better Off Alone" (Laidback Luke Full Length Remix) – (5:04)
  4. "Better Off Alone" (Remastered 1999 Original Hit Radio Mix) – (3:35)
  5. "Better Off Alone" (Remastered 1999 Original Mix) – (6:51)

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Pronti & Kalmani". August 9, 2004. Archived from the original (URL masked index page) on August 9, 2004. Retrieved 6 February 2017. .
  2. ^ "Better Off Alone - Alice Deejay, DJ Alice, DJ Jurgen". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Nick Jarvis (January 23, 2014). "Dash Berlin's top five trance classics". 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Alice Deejay (1999). Better Off Alone (Compact disc). Scandinavia: Jive Records; Violent Records. 0523562. 
  5. ^ a b c d DJ Ron Slomowicz. "Pronti & Kalmani Interview". Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "ALICE DEEJAY - "BETTER OFF ALONE" | SPIN | Animal Collective Centipedia". SPIN. 2012-09-05. Retrieved 2014-01-29. 
  7. ^ "Better Off Alone". www.musicnotes.com. Retrieved 2015-10-27. 
  8. ^ "A History of Trance". Ministry of Sound Australia. February 15, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Johnson, Beth (June 23, 2000). "Better Off Alone". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 3, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Better Off Alone". Violent Records. 2001. Archived from the original on February 7, 2001. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  11. ^ "Alice Deejay". Hypergirl Entertainment Magazine. May 1, 2001. 
  12. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p398650/charts-awards/billboard-singles
  13. ^ "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 100 Singles 2000". Archived from the original on 2010-07-27. Retrieved 2006-10-03. 
  14. ^ "Alice Deejay". Orbit Records. 2001. Archived from the original on February 15, 2001. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  15. ^ "Alice Deejay Video". Orbit Records. 2001. Archived from the original on October 18, 2000. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  16. ^ "Music Videos". 1711 Production Group. 
  17. ^ "Before EDM: 30 Dance Tracks From The '90s That Changed The Game". Vibe. July 22, 2013. 
  18. ^ "10 Essential Eurodance Classics". Complex. July 5, 2013. 
  19. ^ Garvey, Meagan (September 29, 2016). "BETTER OFF ALONE: MINING THE DEPTHS OF EURODANCE NOSTALGIA". MTV.com. MTV. Retrieved February 13, 2016. 
  20. ^ "iTunes Store". Phobos.apple.com. Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  21. ^ "The 10 Most Well-Known Techno Samples in Rap Tracks". Complex. 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2016. 
  22. ^ "AraabMuzik | Pitchfork". Pitchfork.com. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  23. ^ "Cream Ibiza 2011 - Laidback Luke - Super You&Me - Win Cds". Ibiza-Voice.com. 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Alice DJ". Alice DJ. Retrieved September 10, 2016. 
  25. ^ Sprankles, Julie (2016). "31 songs you didn't know were (allegedly) plagiarized". SheKnows. Retrieved September 10, 2016. 
  26. ^ D.J. Jurgen (1999). Better Off Alone (12" vinyl record). Netherlands: Violent Records. VIO 1116. 
  27. ^ DJ Jurgen (1999). Better Off Alone (Compact disc). Netherlands: Violent Records. VIO 1117. 
  28. ^ DJ Jurgen (1999). Better Off Alone (12" vinyl record). Netherlands: Violent Records. VIO 1118. 
  29. ^ DJ Jurgen (1999). Better Off Alone (Compact disc). Netherlands: Violent Records. VIO 1118. 
  30. ^ Alice Deejay (1999). Better Off Alone (Compact disc). DJ Jurgen. United Kingdom: Positiva Records. CDTIVDJ-113. 
  31. ^ DJ Jurgen Presents Alice Deejay (1999). Better Off Alone (12" vinyl record). United Kingdom: Positiva Records. 12TIV-113. 
  32. ^ DJ Jürgen Presents Alice Deejay (1999). Better Off Alone (12" vinyl record). United Kingdom: Positiva Records. 12TIVDJ113. 
  33. ^ DJ Jurgen Presents Alice Deejay (1999). Better Off Alone (Cassette). United Kingdom: Positiva Records. TCTIV-113. 
  34. ^ Alice Deejay (1999). Better Off Alone (Compact disc). Scandinavia: Jive Records; Violent Records. 0580292. 
  35. ^ Alice Deejay (1999). Better Off Alone (Compact disc). Australia; New Zealand: X-Over Recordings. XOVER017. 
  36. ^ Alice Deejay feat. DJ Jurgen (1999). Better Off Alone (Cassette). France: Hot Tracks; Violent Records. SHT 3468-1. 
  37. ^ Alice Deejay (1999). Better Off Alone (Compact disc). Italy: Time Records. TIME 151. 
  38. ^ Alice Deejay (1999). Better Off Alone (12" vinyl record). Italy: Time Records. TIME 151. 
  39. ^ Alice Deejay (1999). Better Off Alone (12" vinyl record). Spain: Vale Music. VLMX 0295. 
  40. ^ Alice Deejay (1999). Better Off Alone (CD maxi-single). Spain: Vale Music. VLMX 295. 
  41. ^ a b Alice Deejay (1999). Better Off Alone (CD maxi-single). Netherlands: Violent Music. 0523562. 
  42. ^ Alice Deejay (1999). Better Off Alone (12" vinyl pressing). Germany: Orbit Records. B927118-01. 
  43. ^ "Better Off Alone (Single)". iTunes. 2010. 
  44. ^ a b c d "BETTER OFF ALONE - LAIDBACK LUKE REMIX". Beatport. Violent Records. 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  45. ^ Alice Deejay, remixed by Laidback Luke (2011). Better Off Alone (Laidback Luke Remix) (CD maxi-single). Netherlands: Violent Music. 
  46. ^ "Better Off Alone (Laidback Luke remixes)". Juno Download. Central Station Australia. August 20, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  47. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  48. ^ "Brazil" (PDF). ABPD. October 6, 2001. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  49. ^ MacKenzie Wilson. "Alice Deejay - Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. 
  50. ^ "Alice Deejay: Better Off Alone" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  51. ^ "Lescharts.com – Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone" (in French). Les classement single.
  52. ^ "Musicline.de – Alice Deejay Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  53. ^ "Back In My Life by Alice Deejay Chart performance in Ireland". Irishcharts. Archived from the original on 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  54. ^ "Billboard". google.ca. 
  55. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – DJ Jurgen presents Alice Deejay search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  56. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone". Top 40 Singles.
  57. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone". VG-lista.
  58. ^ "Archive Chart: 1999-08-14". Scottish Singles Top 40.
  59. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone". Singles Top 100.
  60. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone". Swiss Singles Chart.
  61. ^ "Archive Chart: 1999-08-14" UK Singles Chart.
  62. ^ "Archive Chart: 1999-08-14" UK Dance Chart.
  63. ^ a b c "Better Off Alone by Alice Deejay Chart performance in America". AllMusic. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  64. ^ "Yearly Best Selling Singles" (PDF). British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 10 April 2017. 
  65. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 2000". Archived from the original on 2009-03-04. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  66. ^ "British single certifications – Alice DeeJay – Better Off Alone". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Better Off Alone in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search

External links[edit]