My Own Worst Enemy (song)

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"My Own Worst Enemy"
A young blonde woman wearing a short, gold dress poses against a blue background and a three-piece circle.
Single by Lit
from the album A Place in the Sun
B-side "Bitter"
Released March 2, 1999 (1999-03-02)
Format
Recorded 1998
Genre
Length 2:49
Label RCA
Writer(s)
  • A. Jay Popoff[1]
  • Jeremy Popoff[1]
Producer(s)
Lit singles chronology
"Bitter"
(1997)
"My Own Worst Enemy"
(1999)
"Zip-Lock"
(1999)

"My Own Worst Enemy" is a song by the American rock band Lit. It was released in March 1999 as the lead single from Lit's second album, A Place in the Sun, which was also released that year. The song was only moderately successful at first, reaching number 17 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart on February 27, 1999. It later achieved mainstream success, peaking at number 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number one on the Modern Rock Tracks (also known as Alternative Songs) chart. The song's success helped A Place in the Sun to be certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on October 27, 1999 for sales of 1,300,000 copies in the United States. At the 1999 Billboard Music Awards, "My Own Worst Enemy" won the Modern Rock Track of the Year award. Its music video was filmed by Gavin Bowden in a Las Vegas bowling alley.

Considered pop punk and power pop, "My Own Worst Enemy" is, according to Lit guitarist Jeremy Popoff, "the result of waking up and realizing you screwed up the night before". Vocalist A. Jay Popoff said that the song "was the combination of many, many incidents"; he has been in trouble with the law for public nudity, and sang "My Own Worst Enemy" nude in the studio. The singer described a New Year's when the band got drunk in Laughlin, Nevada; he stole a janitor's cart, and he "and five friends jumped onto the flatbed, rode down the sidewalk, and got chased by the cops".

Background and recording[edit]

According to Lit guitarist Jeremy Popoff, "My Own Worst Enemy" "is the result of waking up and realizing you screwed up the night before. The first verse is about screwing up with your chick. A. Jay's the king of having four ex-girlfriends show up to the same show. It's funny watching him try to juggle".[2] Vocalist A. Jay Popoff said that the song "was the combination of many, many incidents ... Sometimes I get in trouble when I get naked in public and have a girl there. It happens when I've been drinking Jagermeister. I actually sang "My Own Worst Enemy" naked in the studio".[2] The singer said that the song's second verse "is about the morning after, when you hear about all the lame shit you did ... The last time it happened was when we got really drunk in Laughlin, Nevada, for New Year's. I stole a janitor cart, and me and five friends jumped onto the flatbed, rode down the sidewalk, and got chased by the cops. The next day, I found a couple of my friends were taken in by security, who were searching for me all night. I was tucked away in my hotel room, oblivious."[2] A. Jay said that "My Own Worst Enemy" "isn't based on any one of our particular personal experiences. It's just a jumble of times where someone went out and had too much to drink. You say things you shouldn't say and do things you shouldn't do and then the next day you realize how bad you fucked up. A lot of people comment on the lyrics, but the hooky guitar riff doesn't hurt either".[3]

Commercial performance[edit]

We're driving through the middle of nowhere in Kansas at three in the morning, and we hear our song come on right after Def Leppard. It's just a little surreal.

—Lit guitarist Jeremy Popoff, on the band's mainstream success[3]

On February 27, 1999, "My Own Worst Enemy" reached number 17 on the Modern Rock Tracks (also known as Alternative Songs) chart.[4] The song later achieved mainstream rock-radio success.[5] On April 10, "My Own Worst Enemy" topped the Modern Rock Tracks chart.[6] On May 29, the song peaked at number six on the Mainstream Rock chart.[7] On July 3, it peaked at number 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and at number 45 on the Radio Songs chart. The song was on both charts for 20 weeks.[8][9] On July 17, "My Own Worst Enemy" peaked at number 31 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart.[10] On August 21 the song peaked at number 30 on the Adult Pop Songs chart, spending 26 weeks there.[11] A Place in the Sun, its parent album, was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on June 21, 1999 and platinum on October 27[12] for sales of 1,300,000 copies in the United States.[13] The album was certified gold by Music Canada in December 1999.[14] Lit performed "My Own Worst Enemy" at Woodstock '99.[15] The song received the Modern Rock Track of the Year award at the 1999 Billboard Music Awards.[16] The song topped the Year-End Modern Rock Tracks chart and was number 18 on the Year-End Mainstream Rock chart. Lit was number four on the Year-End Hot Modern Rock Artists chart.[17]

Critical reception[edit]

James Oldham of NME called "My Own Worst Enemy" "totally loathsome, poisonous stuff, but quite addictive."[18] The song was a late inclusion on NME's "20 Essential Pop Punk Tracks Everyone Should Know" list.[19] It was featured on Fuse's "14 Best Pop-Punk One-Hit Wonders", and the channel called the song "self-deprecating and catchy".[20] "My Own Worst Enemy" appeared on the Phoenix New Times "10 Best Pop-Punk Songs of All Time" list.[21] Daniel J. Katz of The Tech criticized the song's parent album: "Recipe for a one-hit wonder: Start with Eve 6/Harvey Danger style power pop that’s already been done to death. Turn the guitars way up and turn the creativity way down. What you’re left with is a weak collection of songs that are listenable, but bland. This particular collection is from a band called Lit, and it’s called A Place In The Sun (RCA)." Katz continued, "The aforementioned one hit on the album is 'My Own Worst Enemy'".[22] A week earlier, Katz wrote that "My Own Worst Enemy" "is a great song because of its simplicity and short duration".[22] According to Liz Tracy of the New Times Broward-Palm Beach, "'My Own Worst Enemy' was so incredibly radio-friendly that it was hard not to get sucked into that punchy tune and sort of pathetic lyrics".[23]

Fuse said, "'My Own Worst Enemy' is self-deprecating and catchy, like all good sad boy band music. The opening line, 'Can we forget about the things I said when I was drunk? / I didn’t mean to call you that' might be the most pop-punk verse ever written".[24] Lit appeared on Fuse's "Spin 14 of Pop-Punk's Best One-Hit Wonders" list.[24] Consequence of Sound included Lit on its "100 Best Pop Punk Bands" list, calling "My Own Worst Enemy" the band's essential track. Zack Ruskin of Consequence of Sound called the song "an anthemic earworm".[25] Spectrum Culture placed "My Own Worst Enemy" sixth on its "Top 10 Pop Punk and Power Pop Songs of the Modern Era" list. According to Spectrum Culture, with "My Own Worst Enemy" Lit "demonstrates the adolescent fallouts [sic] that can occur from a post-high school life".[26] In CMJ New Music Report's review of A Place in the Sun, "My Own Worst Enemy" was on its recommended-tracks list.[27] Becky Kirsch of PopSugar called the song an "awesome '90s" hit.[28]

Composition, music video and popular culture[edit]

Considered a pop punk[19][20][29] and power pop[3][22] song, "My Own Worst Enemy" is composed in the key of E major with a tempo of 104 beats per minute. A. Jay's voice ranges from E3 to G#4.[30] "My Own Worst Enemy" has been incorrectly attributed to Blink-182, and its title misquoted as "Please Tell Me Why".[31] The song is known for its guitar riff.[22]

Its music video was filmed by Gavin Bowden in a Las Vegas bowling alley. According to A. Jay, the video is "[the film] Kingpin meets a gangster flick that takes place in the '50s". He continued, "We are the bowlers and the band playing inside the lounge. I think we can handle the stage, but we might need a few body doubles to roll some strikes".[3]

"My Own Worst Enemy" is heard in the 2012 film American Reunion,[28] although the song does not appear on its original soundtrack.[32] It was featured on Parks and Recreation, with some of the show's characters playing the song on Rock Band 2.[33] "My Own Worst Enemy" was used in the 2016 action comedy Central Intelligence.[33]

Track listing[edit]

  • European CD single:[34]
  1. "My Own Worst Enemy" (2:58)
  2. "Bitter" (3:30)
  • European CD maxi-single:[1]
  1. "My Own Worst Enemy" (2:58)
  2. "Money" (2:58)
  3. "Lovely Day"(4:06)
  • UK 7" vinyl:[35]
    • A-side: "My Own Worst Enemy" (2:58)
    • B-side: "Bitter" (3:30)

Charts[edit]

Preceded by
"Every Morning" by Sugar Ray
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
April 10 – June 19, 1999[47]
Succeeded by
"Scar Tissue" by Red Hot Chili Peppers

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Lit - My Own Worst Enemy (CD Maxi-single)". Discogs. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Drinking, a Love Story". SPIN. Vol. 15 no. 6. SPIN Media LLC. 1999. p. 42. ISSN 0886-3032. 
  3. ^ a b c d Hightower, Laura. "Lit Biography". Musicianguide.com. 
  4. ^ Bell, Carrie (February 27, 1999). "The Modern Age". Billboard. Vol. 111 no. 9. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 71. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  5. ^ Boehm, Mike (July 14, 1999). "Fun, Talent and Naked Ambition". Los Angeles Times. 
  6. ^ "Lit - Chart history". Billboard. 
  7. ^ "Lit - Chart history (Mainstream Rock Songs)". Billboard. 
  8. ^ "Lit - Chart history (The Hot 100)". Billboard. 
  9. ^ "Lit - Chart history (Radio Songs)". Billboard. 
  10. ^ "Lit - Chart history (Pop Songs)". Billboard. 
  11. ^ "Lit - Chart history (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. 
  12. ^ "American album certifications – Lit – A Place in the Sun". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  13. ^ Lewis, Randy (January 11, 2001). "Lit Warms to Limelight". Los Angeles Times. 
  14. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Lit – A Place in the Sun". Music Canada. 
  15. ^ Kaufman, Gil (July 23, 1999). "Woodstock '99 Report #16: Lit Get Down, Buckcherry Get 'Lit Up'". MTV. 
  16. ^ Flick, Larry (December 18, 1999). "Billboard Awards Tap Youth". Billboard. Vol. 111 no. 51. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 94. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  17. ^ a b c "1999 The Year in Music". Billboard. Vol. 111 no. 52. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. December 25, 1999 – January 1, 2000. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  18. ^ "NME Reviews - Lit : My own worst enemy - NME.COM". NME. September 12, 2005. Retrieved January 25, 2015. 
  19. ^ a b "20 Essential Pop Punk Tracks Everyone Should Know". NME. Retrieved January 25, 2015. 
  20. ^ a b "14 Best Pop-Punk One-Hit Wonders". Fuse. Retrieved January 25, 2015. 
  21. ^ Chesler, Josh (August 31, 2015). "10 Best Pop-Punk Songs of All Time". Phoenix New Times. 
  22. ^ a b c d Katz, Daniel J. (April 16, 1999). "MUSIC REVIEW: Lit -- Just another generic rock album". The Tech. 119 (20). p. 7. 
  23. ^ Tracy, Liz (March 19, 2012). "Deliciously Cheesy 1990s: Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy" and Five Other Alt-Rock "Faves"". New Times Broward-Palm Beach. 
  24. ^ a b "Spin 14 of Pop-Punk's Best One-Hit Wonders". Fuse. September 25, 2015. 
  25. ^ "The 100 Best Pop Punk Bands". Consequence of Sound. September 30, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Top 10 Pop Punk and Power Pop Songs of the Modern Era". Spectrum Culture. March 3, 2016. 
  27. ^ Ciabattoni, Steve (March 29, 1999). "Reviews". CMJ New Music Report. Vol. 58 no. 611. CMJ Network, Inc. p. 25. ISSN 0890-0795. 
  28. ^ a b Kirsch, Becky (April 6, 2012). "American Reunion: A Yearbook of Bad Memories". PopSugar. 
  29. ^ "Woodstock '99 Report #16: Lit Get Down, Buckcherry Get 'Lit Up'". MTV. 
  30. ^ "My Own Worst Enemy". Musicnotes.com. 
  31. ^ "15 Songs You've Been Calling The Wrong Thing For Years". BuzzFeed. Retrieved October 24, 2015. 
  32. ^ "American Reunion - Original Soundtrack". AllMusic. 
  33. ^ a b "My Own Worst Enemy by Lit". Songfacts. 
  34. ^ "Lit - My Own Worst Enemy (CD)". Discogs. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Lit - My Own Worst Enemy (Vinyl)". Discogs. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  36. ^ "RPM Rock Report". RPM. 
  37. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Lit – My Own Worst Enemy" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  38. ^ "Archive Chart: June 20, 1999". Scottish Singles Top 40. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  39. ^ "LIT". Official Charts Company. 
  40. ^ "Lit – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Lit. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  41. ^ "Lit – Chart history" Billboard Pop Songs for Lit. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  42. ^ "Lit – Chart history" Billboard Alternative Songs for Lit. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  43. ^ "Lit – Chart history" Billboard Adult Pop Songs for Lit. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  44. ^ "Lit – Chart history" Billboard Radio Songs for Lit. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  45. ^ "Lit – Chart history" Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs for Lit. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  46. ^ "Lit - Chart history (Rock Digital Songs)". Billboard. 
  47. ^ "Alternative Songs - 1999 Archive". Billboard. 

External links[edit]