One Week (song)

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"One Week"
One Week BL.jpg
Single by Barenaked Ladies
from the album Stunt
B-side"When You Dream"
ReleasedAugust 3, 1998 (1998-08-03)[1]
GenreAlternative rock[2]
Songwriter(s)Ed Robertson
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 that was released as 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 it remains the band's best-known song in the United States. Coincidentally, when the song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, it remained in the top spot for one week.

"One Week" peaked at number three on the Canadian Singles Chart. Outside of Canada, "One Week" topped the charts in the United States, and peaked within the top ten of the charts in Iceland and the United Kingdom. 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.[3][4]

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 season 7 Oscar Special of On Cinema, an advertisement for Mitsubishi Motors, a season 2 episode of Schooled, a season 4 episode of The Cleveland Show, the video game Alvin and the Chipmunks, and in the video game Rock Band Blitz. The song also appears as a recurring element of the mashup album Mouth Moods by American musician Neil Cicierega.[5]

A more recent version of "One Week" by Barenaked Ladies and a cappella group the Persuasions appears on the 2017 album Ladies and Gentlemen: Barenaked Ladies and The Persuasions.


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, Busta Rhymes, 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. Because of the song's pop culture references and fast-paced, nearly rapped vocals, it is similar in style to "Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)" by the band Reunion.

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 January 2009, Kevin Hearn has assumed lead vocal duties on most choruses. Hearn often 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.

Critical reception[edit]

AllMusic's Liana Jonas called the song, "a well-crafted recording, which marries words that are funny and endearing with clever and bouncy music. Added kudos must be given to Robertson and co-frontman Steven Page for singing such a speedy mouthful without skipping a beat."[6]

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 a 1968 rather than 1969 model year) 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.

Track listings[edit]

American version

  1. "One Week" - 2:52
  2. "When You Dream" (home demo) - 4:22
    • Recorded at Steven's house in November 1997

European version

  1. "One Week"
  2. "When You Dream" (home demo)
  3. "Shoe Box" (live version) - 2:56
    • Recorded at Riviera Theatre, Chicago, IL on April 13, 1996
    • It was originally featured on promotional copies of Rock Spectacle album, but it was deleted.

Australian version

  1. "One Week"
  2. "The Old Apartment" - 3:30
  3. "Brian Wilson" - 4:47
    • From Rock Spectacle
    • Recorded at Riviera Theatre, Chicago, IL on April 13, 1996
  4. "Be My Yoko Ono" - 2:46
  5. "Alternative Girlfriend" - 4:22
    • Produced by Ben Mink


  1. "One Week" (Dave's Big Beat Remix) - 3:22
  2. "One Week" (Pull's Break Remix) - 3:21
  3. "One Week" (original radio remix) = 2:52
  4. "One Week" (Dave's Big Beat Extended Remix) - 6:22
    • Remix and additional production by Dave Audé


  • Ed Robertson – vocals, acoustic and electric guitars; co-production on "When You Dream" and "Shoe Box"
  • Steven Page – vocals; electric guitar on "Shoe Box", co-production on "When You Dream" and "Shoe Box"
  • Jim Creegganelectric upright bass; double bass and background vocals on "Shoe Box"
  • Kevin Hearn – electric guitar, keyboards; piano and harmony vocals on "Shoe Box
  • Tyler Stewart – drums

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ a b " – Barenaked Ladies – One Week". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  2. ^ "88 Best Alternative Rock Songs of 1998". SPIN. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  3. ^ "Mac OS X Server at Macworld SF '99".
  4. ^ "Macworld 1999 - all about Steve". January 7, 1999. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  5. ^ Rife, Katie (January 26, 2017). "Neil Cicierega is here to reclaim the internet with his new album Mouth Moods". A.V. Club. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  6. ^ Jonas, Liana. "Barenaked Ladies – One Week Review by Liana Jonas". AllMusic. Retrieved July 4, 2010.
  7. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 7044." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  8. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 7075." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  9. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 16 no. 9. February 27, 1999. p. 18. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  10. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (24.9–1.10. 1998)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). September 25, 1998. p. 10. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  11. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – One Week". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  12. ^ " – Barenaked Ladies – One Week" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  13. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  14. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  15. ^ "Barenaked Ladies Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  16. ^ "Barenaked Ladies Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  17. ^ "Barenaked Ladies Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  18. ^ "Barenaked Ladies Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  19. ^ "Barenaked Ladies Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  20. ^ "ARIA Top 100 Singles for 1998". ARIA. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  21. ^ "RPM's Top 100 Hit Tracks of '98" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 63 no. 12. December 14, 1998. p. 20. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  22. ^ "RPM's Top 100 Adult Contemporary Tracks of '98". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  23. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 100 – Vinsælustu Lögin '98". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). January 2, 1999. p. 34. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  24. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1998". Retrieved August 28, 2010.
  25. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1998 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on September 6, 2020. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  26. ^ "British single certifications – Barenaked Ladies – One Week". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved May 21, 2020.

External links[edit]