Better Off Alone (Alice Deejay song)

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"Better Off Alone"
Single by Alice Deejay
from the album Who Needs Guitars Anyway?
Released 1998
Format
Recorded 1997[2]
Genre
Length 3:34
Label
Writer(s)
  • Sebastian Molijn
  • Eelke Kalberg[3]
Producer(s) DJ Jurgen
Alice Deejay singles chronology
"Better Off Alone"
(1998)
"Back in My Life"
(1999)
DJ Jurgen cover
The original cover for "Better Off Alone".
Music sample
21 second excerpt where the song's primary line is featured.

"Better Off Alone" is a song by Dutch trance music group Alice Deejay. It was released on July 19, 1998 as the lead single from their debut album Who Needs Guitars Anyway?. The song had a key role in the creation of a more radio-friendly trance sound and has since been considered a modern classic.

Production and composition[edit]

"Better Off Alone" was initially an instrumental track created in 1997 by DJ Jurgen, Pronti (Sebastiaan Moljin), and Kalmani (Eelke Kahlberg).[3][2] Sebastiaan Molijn came up with 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. One simple line that said it all."[3] Judith Pronk served as singer for the album.[4]

"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–Gm—Dm–F, and the vocals span from B3 to G4.[5]

With the turn of the century, "Better Off Alone" was a major turning point in developing a more commercialized trance sound – a sound shared by songs such as "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" by Eiffel 65.[6] Jeffrey Sutorious of Dash Berlin (whose production partners Eelke Kalberg and Sebastiaan Molijn wrote the song) 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".[2] Entertainment Weekly described the song as "techno-pop" while Spin described it as a "trance-fueled Eurodance".[4][7]

Critical reception[edit]

Since its debut, the song has been included on numerous lists of acclaim. Vibe included the song at number 17 in their list of "30 Dance Tracks From The ’90s That Changed The Game", considering it "a timeless track".[8] Complex magazine included the song on their "10 Essential Eurodance Classics" list stating 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. It makes sense too as two of Alice Deejay's primary parts, Eelke Kalberg, and Sebastiaan Molijn are now two-thirds of mega trance project Dash Berlin."[9] Dash Berlin included the song in their top 5 greatest trance classics.[2] Despite much acclaim coming from modern popular culture, the song was initially received with passiveness by critics. Entertainment Weekly gave the song a B rating, describing the song as "waaaay lite" with "barely-there lyrics" referring to the song as having "catchy, throwaway results".[7]

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 the Vengaboys.[10][11] In the video, a man is travelling in a Jeep through the desert. His car stalls and he is forced to walk on foot. In parallel, a woman is sitting on a couch in a living room singing the lyrics. It ends with the man who can not bother walking any more but settles down and gets covered in sand. The second version was directed by Cousin Mike with 1711 Production Group. The second video was shot in Miami for Republic and Universal.[12] The second version is based on scenes from the original, yet interspersed with 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.

Track listing[edit]

iTunes single[13] (Violent Music BV)
  1. "Better Off Alone" (Hitradio Mix) – (3:36)
  2. "Better Off Alone" (Vocal Club RMX) – (6:36)
  3. "Better Off Alone" (Signum Remix) – (7:46)
  4. "Better Off Alone" (DJ Jam X & De Leon Dumonde RMX) – (6:44)
  5. "Better Off Alone" (Pronti & Kalmani Vocal RMX) – (7:04)
  6. "Better Off Alone" (Pronti & Kalmani Club Dub) – (6:46)
  7. "Better Off Alone" (Mark Van Dale with Enrico RMX) – (9:27)
  8. "Better Off Alone" (Instrumental) – (6:39)

Release and chart performance[edit]

The single was originally credited only to DJ Jurgen to give the single credibility, however later on it got re-released as "DJ Jurgen Presents Alice Deejay" and "Alice Deejay Featuring DJ Jurgen" in some countries. The single later came to be of just Alice Deejay.[14][15] Upon release there were only 500 vinyls pressed.[2] However, 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.[16] The song was in the top 100 best-selling singles in Australia for 2000 as compiled by the Australian Recording Industry Association.[17]

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.[36] In January 2008, Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa sampled the instrumental portion of the song for his single "Say Yeah".[37] The song is also sampled in David Guetta's 2013 song "Play Hard" featuring Ne-Yo and Akon from Nothing but the Beat.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Better Off Alone - Alice Deejay, DJ Alice, DJ Jurgen". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Nick Jarvis (January 23, 2014). "Dash Berlin’s top five trance classics". 
  3. ^ a b c DJ Ron Slomowicz. "Pronti & Kalmani Interview". Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "ALICE DEEJAY - "BETTER OFF ALONE" | SPIN | Animal Collective Centipedia". SPIN. 2012-09-05. Retrieved 2014-01-29. 
  5. ^ "Better Off Alone". www.musicnotes.com. Retrieved 2015-10-27. 
  6. ^ "A History of Trance". Ministry of Sound Australia. February 15, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Johnson, Beth (June 23, 2000). "Better Off Alone". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 3, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Before EDM: 30 Dance Tracks From The ’90s That Changed The Game". Vibe. July 22, 2013. 
  9. ^ "10 Essential Eurodance Classics". Complex. July 5, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Alice Deejay". Orbit Records. 2001. Archived from the original on February 1, 2001. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  11. ^ "Alice Deejay Video". Orbit Records. 2001. Archived from the original on February 1, 2001. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  12. ^ "Music Videos". 1711 Production Group. 
  13. ^ "Better Off Alone (Single)". iTunes. 2010. 
  14. ^ "Better Off Alone". Violent Records. 2001. Archived from the original on April 4, 2001. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  15. ^ "Alice Deejay". Hypergirl Entertainment Magazine. May 1, 2001. 
  16. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p398650/charts-awards/billboard-singles
  17. ^ "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 100 Singles 2000". Retrieved 2006-10-03. 
  18. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  19. ^ MacKenzie Wilson. "Alice Deejay - Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. 
  20. ^ "Alice Deejay: Better Off Alone" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  21. ^ "Lescharts.com – Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone" (in French). Les classement single.
  22. ^ "Musicline.de – Alice Deejay Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  23. ^ "Back In My Life by Alice Deejay Chart performance in Ireland". Irishcharts. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  24. ^ "Billboard". google.ca. 
  25. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – DJ Jurgen presents Alice Deejay search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  26. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone". Top 40 Singles.
  27. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone". VG-lista.
  28. ^ "Archive Chart: 1999-08-14". Scottish Singles Top 40.
  29. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone". Singles Top 100.
  30. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone". Swiss Singles Chart.
  31. ^ "Archive Chart: 1999-08-14" UK Singles Chart.
  32. ^ "Archive Chart: 1999-08-14" UK Dance Chart.
  33. ^ a b c "Better Off Alone by Alice Deejay Chart performance in America". AllMusic. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  34. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 2000". Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  35. ^ "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
  36. ^ "iTunes Store". Phobos.apple.com. Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  37. ^ "iTunes - Music - Say Yeah - Single by Wiz Khalifa". Phobos.apple.com. 2008-01-22. Retrieved 2012-10-05. 

External links[edit]