One Week (song)

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"One Week"
One Week BL.jpg
Single by Barenaked Ladies
from the album Stunt
ReleasedSeptember 22, 1998 (1998-09-22)
FormatCD, 7", 12", cassette
GenreAlternative rock, folk rock, rap rock
Songwriter(s)Ed Robertson
Producer(s)Barenaked Ladies,
David Leonard,
Susan Rogers
Barenaked Ladies singles chronology
"Brian Wilson (2000)"
"One Week"
"It's All Been Done"
Music video
"One Week" on YouTube

"One Week" is a song by the Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies, and is the first single from their 1998 album Stunt. It was written by Ed Robertson, who is featured on the lead vocal of the rapped verses. Steven Page sings lead on the song's chorus, while the two co-lead the prechoruses in harmony. The song is notable for its significant number of pop culture references, and remains the band's best known song in the United States. Coincidentally, the song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week.

"One Week" is the band's best-performing single on the charts in both the US and the UK, though it slightly under-performed several other singles in Canada. It was the band's only No. 1 single in the US on both the Hot 100 and the US Modern Rock Tracks (for five non-consecutive weeks). The song spent seven weeks at No. 3 on the Hot 100 Airplay and an additional four weeks at No. 2 behind the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris". The band has not equaled this level of US chart success since, though singles "It's All Been Done", from the same album, and "Pinch Me", the first single from their subsequent album Maroon, both broke the top 50 of the US Hot 100. Apple used the song at MacWorld 1999 for presenting Mac OS X Server on a wall of 50 iMacs.[1][2]

In 1999, American parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded a parody titled "Jerry Springer", a song about a man's strange obsession with The Jerry Springer Show, for his album Running with Scissors.

The song has been featured numerous times in other media, including the films Digimon: The Movie, American Pie, 10 Things I Hate About You, the band appear to perform it live in "College Kids", an early season 4 episode of The West Wing, the video game Alvin and the Chipmunks, and in the video game Rock Band Blitz.


Ed Robertson wrote the ideas for the non-rap "choruses" with the concept being the structure of a fight between a man and a woman where the protagonist knows he is wrong and is just trying to save face. Robertson wanted to come up with a rapped verse for the song but all attempts failed. Bandmate Steven Page suggested he simply improvise the rap, as the two did onstage every night. Robertson heeded the advice and set up a video camera. He improvised the song at a slower pace to make rhyming easier and arrived at about four minutes of rap. He sent it to Page, who told him not to change a word. Two minutes of the improvising was almost directly compiled (with very little, if any, tweaking) into the verses of the song. Due to its improvised nature, the rapped sections are not intended to have any direct relation to the plot of the sung sections. The lyrics in the liner notes from Stunt contain some additional lines of rap that did not make it into the recorded version.

Band members have stated that the first live run-through of "One Week" did not go well, and that it took some time to get the song to sound good live. The instrumental parts are played by band members, notably Ed Robertson and Steven Page on guitar, and Kevin Hearn sometimes on guitar and sometimes on keyboards; as well, while Hearn was away from touring shortly after the song's release, his place at shows was taken by one of two other musicians on keyboards who each added their own unique parts to the song, helping to shape its live sound early.

The song is rife with pop culture references, which includes the following: Aquaman, Swiss Chalet, LeAnn Rimes, Bert Kaempfert, The X-Files and its character, The Smoking Man, the film Frantic and its star Harrison Ford, Sting and tantric sex, Snickers, sushi and wasabi, golf clubs, the film Vertigo, Akira Kurosawa and his film Seven Samurai, Sailor Moon, A Tribe Called Quest's song "Scenario", Birchmount Stadium and its annual Robbie International Soccer Tournament.

The song is also featured on the third installment of the Big Shiny Tunes series, Big Shiny Tunes 3.

In performances starting in 2003, the band developed an acoustic, bluegrass version of the song. It is typically used in a new performance setting they developed on the Peepshow Tour that year, in which they play acoustically while they stand around and sing into one omni-directional microphone.

With the departure of Steven Page in early 2009, Kevin Hearn has taken over singing Page's lead vocals on almost all of the choruses (during the first few performances of this song without Page, all of the three choruses were sung by Ed Robertson, until Hearn took over performing the first two of them about a year later, in 2010). Often, Hearn sings the choruses together with drummer Tyler Stewart, who also performs the harmonies during the bridge. Both the third, last chorus and the following, ending part of the song are sung by Robertson, along with Stewart's harmonizing.

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by McG and begins with the band performing the song in a royal court, featuring a singing girl on a wind-up pedestal (portrayed by Kiva Dawson), similar to a scene from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. During the interlude they make an escape and sing while driving a lookalike of The General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard (using the numbers 07 instead of 01, minus the Confederate flag on the roof, and being from the 1968 model year as opposed to 1969) and Starsky & Hutch's Ford Gran Torino. The band drives into a suburb, where they perform a concert in front of a 1950s bus, with a female motorcyclist, dressed like Evel Knievel, performing stunts. The video ends with a shot of the cyclist stuck on a tree. The video features Carmit Bachar from the Pussycat Dolls, playing an angel.



"One Week" debuted at No. 3 on the US chart, climbing to No. 2 the following week and the top spot the week after. The song aptly spent one week at No. 1 on the chart.


  1. ^ "Mac OS X Server at Macworld SF '99".
  2. ^ "Macworld 1999 - all about Steve". January 7, 1999. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  3. ^ " – Barenaked Ladies – One Week". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  4. ^ " – Barenaked Ladies – One Week" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  5. ^ "Barenaked Ladies: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  6. ^ "The Hot 100 chart listing for the week of October 17, 1998". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. October 1998. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  7. ^ "RPM's Top 100 Hit Tracks of '98" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 63 no. 12. December 14, 1998. p. 20. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  8. ^ "Adult Contemporary – Volume 68, No. 12, December 14, 1998". RPM. Retrieved October 5, 2012.
  9. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1998". Retrieved August 28, 2010.

External links[edit]