North (Something Corporate album)

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North
Something Corporate-North.jpg
Studio album by Something Corporate
Released October 21, 2003
Recorded May–June 2003
Studio Robert Lang Studios/TMF, Seattle, Washington;
4th Street Recording, Santa Monica, California
Genre Pop punk
Length 41:31
Label Geffen, Drive-Thru
Producer Jim Wirt
Something Corporate chronology
Songs for Silent Movies
(2003)
North
(2003)
Live at the Ventura Theater
(2004)
Singles from North
  1. "Space"
    Released: September 8, 2003
  2. "Ruthless"
    Released: January 2004

North is the third studio album by American rock band Something Corporate. Near the beginning of the writing process for the album, vocalist/pianist Andrew McMahon and guitarist Josh Partington wanted it to "sound like a winter album", in contrast to their debut album Leaving Through the Window (2002) which they viewed as a "summer album".[1] After losing focus through constant touring, the group decided to record an album in Seattle, Washington. Recording took place at Robert Lang Studios in Seattle with producer Jim Wirt in May 2003. After relocating to Los Angeles, California, further tracking was done at 4th Street Recording in Santa Monica, California.

Following North's announcement in July 2003, the band went on tour supporting 311 and Good Charlotte. Preceded by the single "Space" in September, the album was released on October 21 through Geffen and Drive-Thru Records. The band subsequently went on a headlining US tour from October to December. In January 2004, "Ruthless" was released as a single. The following month, guitarist William Tell left the band and was replaced by Bobby Anderson of the band River City High. In March and April, the group co-headlined a US tour with Yellowcard.

North received a positive response from music critics, several reviewers noted the band's musical growth since their debut album. The album charted number 24 on the Billboard 200 chart, as well as number 154 in the UK. "Space" peaked at number 37 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. North sold 41,000 copies in the first week and would go on to sell 339,000 copies by June 2005. The album was released on vinyl for the first time in November 2013 to celebrate its tenth anniversary.

Background[edit]

After finalising their line-up, Something Corporate began performing at local venues, eventually gaining support slots for groups such as Better Than Ezra and Sugar Ray. Shortly afterwards, the band signed to independent label Drive-Thru Records.[2] Drive-Thru Records had a distribution deal with major label MCA Records,[3] which allowed the latter to upstream bands from the former.[4] The band's debut album Leaving Through the Window, released in early 2002,[2] was a joint release between Drive-Thru and MCA Records.[5] In mid-2003, MCA Records was absorbed by UMG label Geffen Records, which resulted in MCA's staff and roster being moved to Geffen.[6] At the time, guitarist Josh Partington said: "[You] can't worry about things that are out of your control ... I can't do anything about it so you just keep doing what you're doing."[1]

Composition[edit]

Early in the writing process, vocalist/pianist Andrew McMahon and Partington had discussions on what they wanted the album to sound like. They decided they wanted it to "sound like a winter album", in contrast to Leaving Through the Window which they felt sounded like a "summer album".[1] Partington elaborated: "We really wanted it to feel, not sad and somber really but just kind of have a broody feeling."[1] McMahon and Partington wrote songs separately. Partington had written six songs on the album before entering the studio. While touring Europe, the US went to war in Iraq.[1] According to Partington, the group did not "want to be playing a show when there's something so much more important going on."[7] As a result, the band cancelled the remainder of the tour,[7] and returned to the US. Partington recalled that he and McMahon did "a lot of writing" together, and were "really happy with the songs we had" going into the studio. [1]

"As You Sleep", "Down", "Me and the Moon", "Ruthless", "She Paints Me Blue", "Break Myself", "21 and Invincible", "Miss America" and "Watch the Sky" were credited to McMahon. "Space", "Only Ashes", "The Runaway" and "I Won't Make You" were credited to Partington. Paul Buckmaster arranged and played the cello, alongside Larry Corbett on "Me and the Moon" and "The Runaway".[8] Alternative Addiction wrote that the group mixed "piano melodies with rocking guitars creating the 'melodic punk' sound" that was also on their debut.[9]

Production[edit]

The group would typically record an album in their home state of California. However, after constant touring, the band lost focus as Partington explained: "When you're away for a year touring straight, whenever you're home whether you're working or not your mind is like 'yes I'm at home.'"[1] The group decided that to help them focus, they would record in Seattle, Washington.[1] On May 5, it was announced that the band was in the studio recording their next album[10] at Robert Lang Studios/TMF with producer Jim Wirt. Wirt and Phil Kaffel acted as engineers, with Justin Armstrong as a secondary engineer with assistance from Geoff Ott.[8] Two days of the recording process consisted of Partington in the live room, tracking one-take run-throughs of each song on guitar. With this approach, Partington improvised a lot of the parts, which yielded "lots of results."[1]

On June 23, the band announced they were close to finishing recording. On the same day, the group worked on rough mixes of "Space" and "21 and Invincible" with Kaffel. The following Sunday, the band went to Los Angeles, California for a week to make sure "everything [was] finished and that we didn't forget anything."[11] Further recording was done at 4th Street Recording in Santa Monica, California, with assistance from engineers Neil Couper, P.J. Smith and Jon Scholl. Smith also contributed additional background vocals. Kaffel and Wirt mixed the recordings at Interscope Studios in Santa Monica, with assistance from engineer Neal Ferrazzani. Further mixing was performed at Skip Saylor Recording in Los Angeles, with assistance from engineer James Mugshorn. Vlado Meller mastered the recordings at Sony Mastering in New York.[8]

Release[edit]

On July 12, 2003, North was announced for release.[12] From mid-July to early September, the band supported 311 on their tour of the US.[13] "Space" was released as a single on September 8,[14] and released to radio a day later.[15] A music video for the song was premiered by Fox Broadcasting Company on September 16.[16] The video, directed by Mike Piscitelli, was filmed in August during the band's tour with 311. It featured five pillars, all of them fitted with video monitors, placed in various locations within Los Angeles, such as in an alleyway or at a bus stop.[17] In September, the band supported Good Charlotte on their arena tour of the US.[18] North was released on October 21[19] through Geffen and Drive-Thru Records. The UK version of the album included "Watch the Sky" and a cover of Bjork's "Unravel" as bonus tracks.[20]

Around North's release, the band was featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, as well as appearing on MTV2 programmes New Faces of Rock and Advanced Warning.[21] From late October to early December 2004, the band went on a headlining tour across the US with support from Rx Bandits, Mae and Days Away.[22] In January 2004, "Ruthless" was released as a radio single.[23] On February 1, it was announced that guitarist William Tell had left the band to focus on his own music.[24] Bobby Anderson of River City High took over Tell's position. The group had previously toured with River City High and looked up to Anderson. Partington called him "a great player, [and] a really good singer."[1] The band performed a handful of shows later in the month.[25] In March and April, the band went on a co-headlining US tour with Yellowcard, with support from Steriogram and the Format.[26]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[27]
Alternative Addiction 5/5 stars[9]
Melodic 3.5/5 stars[28]
The Phoenix Favorable[29]
Punknews.org 2.5/5 stars[30]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[31]

Critical response[edit]

North received a positive reception from critics. AllMusic reviewer Andrew Leahey wrote that McMahon traded "shunning the drunk high school girls and classroom bullies" on their debut for "thoughtful ruminations on love, celebrity, and the steady approach of adulthood."[27] Leahey noted that while the album contained "some filler ... probably more than the band's debut," North showed that the group had the "maturity to move past the majority of their Warped Tour brethren."[27] Alternative Addiction wrote that upon hearing the first chord, fans would "immediately recognize" McMahon's growth as a songwriter.[9] Kaj Roth of Melodic wrote that, despite a year passing since the group's previous album, it was "enough to grow at least 10 years in life experience," noting that the album featured "smart/intelligent" Third Eye Blind-esque rock songs.[28] Roth pondered if McMahon listened to Vanessa Carlton, since he pushed the songs "one step further into an adorable trip of melodic euphoria."[28]

The Phoenix writer Sean Richardson wrote that with North, the band "continue to prove themselves one of the most tuneful outfits in modern rock."[29] Richardson noted that halfway into the album, when the songs' "middling tempos start to bleed together," the group sounds "as if they were striving for a level of maturity that’s not quite within reach."[29] Punknews.org reviewer Adam White called it "a more solemn and paced record," compared to their debut.[30] White noted that it featured "lots of contemplative ballads," all of which "showcas[e] Andrew MacMahon's characteristic piano and smooth vocals."[30] Kristin Roth of Rolling Stone wrote that album "delves into an entirely different world" with its lyrics "explor[ing] a darker place, but just what that place is, it's hard to say."[31]

Commercial performance and legacy[edit]

North charted at number 24 on the Billboard 200 chart,[32] selling 41,000 copies in its first week of release.[33] It also charted at number 152 in the UK.[34] "Space" charted at number 37 on the Alternative Songs chart.[35] By March 2004, the album had sold 222,000 copies.[36] By March 2005, the album had sold 330,000 copies in the US,[37] and by June, album sales stood at 339,000 copies.[38] Looking back in 2010, Partington said the group were "frustrated" with the album's lack of success: "We had put in all this hard work and we were doing everything we could, but it felt like certain parts of the whole machine weren’t necessarily working in our favor."[39] To celebrate the album's 10th anniversary, it was released on vinyl for the first time in November 2013[40] through independent label Enjoy the Ride Records.[41] What Culture ranked it at number 13 in their 15 Greatest Pop Punk Albums of the 2000s list.[42]

Track listing[edit]

Track listing per booklet.[8]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "As You Sleep" Andrew McMahon 3:09
2. "Space" Josh Partington 2:57
3. "Down" McMahon 3:28
4. "Only Ashes" Partington 3:28
5. "Me and the Moon" McMahon 4:07
6. "The Runaway" Partington 3:03
7. "Ruthless" McMahon 3:24
8. "She Paints Me Blue" McMahon 3:39
9. "Break Myself" McMahon 3:16
10. "I Won't Make You" Partington 3:50
11. "21 and Invincible" McMahon 3:19
12. "Miss America" McMahon 3:51
Total length: 41:31

Bonus tracks

Personnel[edit]

Personnel per booklet.[8]

References[edit]

Citations

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Heisel, Scott (April 7, 2004). "Interview: Something Corporate". Punknews.org. Aubin Paul. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Birchmeier, Jason. "Something Corporate | Biography & History". AllMusic. All Media Network, LLC. Archived from the original on March 12, 2017. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  3. ^ Crane, Matt (May 23, 2014). "29 songs that defined the Drive-Thru Records era". Alternative Press. Alternative Press Magazine, Inc. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  4. ^ Billboard 1999, p. 74
  5. ^ Henderson, Alex. "Leaving Through the Window - Something Corporate | Release Info". AllMusic. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  6. ^ Billboard (May 20, 2003). "MCA & Geffen Merger". ISM Sound Network. Archived from the original on December 26, 2005. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Kaufman, Gil (October 29, 2003). "CA Wildfires Trigger Cancellations, Concern". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c d e North (Booklet). Something Corporate. Geffen, Drive-Thru. 2003. 9861202. 
  9. ^ a b c "Album Review of North by Something Corporate". Alternative Addiction. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  10. ^ Wippsson, Johan (May 5, 2003). "Something Corporate in the studio". Melodic. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  11. ^ Wippsson, Johan (June 23, 2003). "Studio report from Something Corporate". Melodic. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  12. ^ Wippsson, Johan (July 12, 2003). "Something Corporate's new CD "North" out in October". Melodic. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  13. ^ "311 Loads 'Evolver' For Tour". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. June 19, 2003. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Space - Single by Something Corporate". iTunes. Apple Inc. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  15. ^ "FMQB Airplay Archive: Modern Rock". Friday Morning Quarterback Album Report, Incorporated. Retrieved October 30, 2016. 
  16. ^ MTV News Staff (September 15, 2003). "For The Record: Quick News On Jennifer Lopez, N.E.R.D., John Lennon, Interpol, Liz Phair, Something Corporate & More". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  17. ^ D'Angelo, Joe (September 26, 2003). "Something Corporate Head To 'Space' Via L.A., Plan Headlining Trek". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  18. ^ Ault 2003, p. 22
  19. ^ Leahey, Andrew. "North - Something Corporate | Release Info". AllMusic. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  20. ^ Leahey, Andrew. "North - Something Corporate | Release Info". AllMusic. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  21. ^ Mayfield 2003, p. 54
  22. ^ Heisel, Scott (August 29, 2003). "Something Corporate/Rx Bandits/Mae/Days Away". Punknews.org. Aubin Paul. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  23. ^ Wippsson, Johan (January 22, 2004). "Something Corporate goes "ruthless"". Melodic. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  24. ^ Heisel, Scott (February 1, 2004). "Something Corporate loses guitarist; guitarist gains respect". Punknews.org. Aubin Paul. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  25. ^ MTV News Staff (February 4, 2004). "For The Record: Quick News On Faith Evans, Jack Black, Eminem, Something Corporate, Justin Guarini, Amy Lee & More". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  26. ^ Heisel, Scott (March 7, 2004). "Yellowcard/Something Corporate co-headlining tour". Punknews.org. Aubin Paul. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  27. ^ a b c Leahey, Andrew. "North - Something Corporate | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  28. ^ a b c Roth, Kaj (2003). "Something Corporate - North". Melodic. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  29. ^ a b c Richardson, Sean (November 14–20, 2003). "Rock metaphysics . . . and laughs". The Phoenix. Phoenix Media/Communications Group. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  30. ^ a b c White, Adam (October 21, 2003). "Something Corporate - North". Punknews.org. Aubin Paul. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  31. ^ a b Roth, Kristin (October 20, 2003). "Something Corporate: North : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Archived from the original on April 5, 2009. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  32. ^ "Something Corporate - Chart history (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  33. ^ "Pop Idol Fends Off Rock Vets On Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. October 29, 2003. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  34. ^ Zywietz, Tobias. "Chart Log UK: DJ S - The System Of Life". Zobbel.de. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  35. ^ "Something Corporate - Chart history (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  36. ^ D'Angelo, Joe (March 18, 2004). "Something Corporate Take To The Road With 'Ruthless' Retribution Mantra". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  37. ^ Jeckell, Barry A. (March 23, 2005). "Billboard Bits: Rock Fantasy Camp, Locke, Something Corporate". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  38. ^ "Corporate, Mannequin Singer Diagnosed With Leukemia". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. June 3, 2005. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  39. ^ Gunasekaran, Divya (April 27, 2010). "Interview with Something Corporate: The Second Time Around". The Aquarian Weekly. Diane Casazza, Chris Farinas. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  40. ^ Wippsson, Johan (November 16, 2013). "Something Corporate to release "North" Vinyl". Melodic. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  41. ^ DiVincenzo, Alex (November 21, 2013). "Something Corporate "North" Vinyl Variant On...". AbsolutePunk. SpinMedia. Archived from the original on July 3, 2014. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  42. ^ Trowbridge, Jacob (April 21, 2016). "15 Greatest Pop Punk Albums Of The 2000s: 13. Something Corporate - North". WhatCulture. What Culture Ltd. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 

Sources