Sandcastles in the Sand (song)

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"Sandcastles in the Sand"
Robin Sparkles Sandcastles in the Sand.jpg
Single by Robin Sparkles
from the album How I Met Your Music
ReleasedApril 23, 2008 (2008-04-23)
FormatDigital download
Recorded2008
Genre
Length3:33
Label
Songwriter(s)
How I Met Your Mother singles chronology
"Let's Go to the Mall"
(2007)
"Sandcastles in the Sand"
(2008)
"Ted Mosby Is a Jerk"
(2008)

"Sandcastles in the Sand" is a song written by Craig Thomas and Carter Bays for the CBS television series How I Met Your Mother. The song was performed by Canadian actress Cobie Smulders in the role of Robin Scherbatsky, who has a secret past of being a teenage Canadian pop star and adopted the stage name Robin Sparkles during the time. A follow-up to "Let's Go to the Mall" (2006), "Sandcastles in the Sand" was inspired from many 80s pop ballad songs. The song was available for streaming on April 15, 2008 before appeared in an episode of the same name that aired on April 21. It was later released as a single on April 23, and appeared on the soundtrack album How I Met Your Music (2012).

Lyrically, "Sandcastles in the Sand" discusses teenage love. Its music video was shot at the Zuma Beach, California. The video featured Tiffany Darwish, Alan Thicke, and James Van Der Beek as her love interest. Television and music critics praised its humor and compared it to "Let's Go to the Mall". It has sold 1,000 digital downloads in the United States as of August 2008, and the music video attracted more than 70,000 views online after 3 days of release. Smulders later reprised the role as Robin Sparkles in "Glitter" (2010) and "P.S. I Love You" (2013). Thicke and Van Der Beek also returned in multiple episodes.

Background and recording[edit]

"Sandcastles in the Sand" was one of the three original songs written by the creators, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas (pictured), for season 3.

Cobie Smulders played Robin Scherbatsky, a devoted broadcast journalist who moves from Canada for a job in New York, in the CBS television series How I Met Your Mother.[1] In season 2's "Slap Bet" (2006), the character was revealed to be a Canadian pop star when she was a teenager, under the stage name Robin Sparkles.[2] Her song "Let's Go to the Mall" has sold 4,000 digital downloads in the United States as of August 2008,[3] while its music video received more than 300,000 viewers on MySpace and the CBS official website within the first 10 days after its TV premiere.[4] Smulders was happy about the favorable reception towards the song, calling it "hilarious".[5]

During the production of "Slap Bet", creators and executive producers Craig Thomas and Carter Bays had deliberated over the idea of bringing back Robin's musical past in a later season. Thomas revealed that the storyline would mention another song by her that "wasn't as big a hit".[6] Bays said that they had to "somehow build on [the storyline] or find a new dimension to it," and that the song would be "the perfect way to see another side of [Sparkles]".[7] Kourtney Kang, who previously wrote "Slap Bet", had been "pushing for another [Robin Sparkles episode]" and was excited when they got a chance to do it.[8]

In March 2008, Thomas confirmed about an episode featuring Robin Sparkles in season 3, which contains a B-side song to "Let's Go to the Mall".[9][10] Titled "Sandcastles in the Sand", it was one of the three original songs written by Thomas and Bays for season 3, along with "Ted Mosby is a Jerk" and "You Just Got Slapped."[11][12] They found the inspiration for "Sandcastles in the Sand" from many 80s pop ballad song, particularly Belinda Carlisle's "Circle in the Sand" (1988), Debbie Gibson's "Foolish Beat" (also in 1988), and Martika's "Toy Soldiers" (1989).[13][7] Smulders spent hours in the recording studio with Thomas,[14] where she recorded with normal vocals, before changing parts of the audio "bit by bit".[15] Thomas noticed her voice became "raspy" at nine in the morning.[16] John Swihart, one of the show's composers, advised her to eat a green apple to smoothen it.[16] Thomas and Smulders were pleased with the recording session and the final results.[17] Smulders improvised the line "I'm on the pill now!" and it was later added to the song.[18] "The technology that these studios now have is pretty amazing. Anyone can go in and come out sounding OK, so I have that on my side," Smulders said.[5]

In the episode, character Robin Scherbatsky reveals that "Sandcastles in the Sand" was an artistic follow-up to her minor hit "Let's Go To The Mall", but failed to match the same success.[19] The song was released on an album called Make It Sparkle by Dominant Records.[19] It was about her first boyfriend Simon, who leading a rock band and has a collection of Hard Rock Cafe T-shirts.[19] The couple met during the making the music video for the song.[19] They broke up behind his van after spending a week and a half together; Robin said their relationship lasts a "whole summer" in Canada, which she explains is only the last week of July.[19]

Composition[edit]

Written by Bays and Thomas,[20] it is a breakup ballad song with a runtime of 3:33.[21][22] Lyrically, "Sandcastles in the Sand" discusses teenage love.[23] The creators labeled it a "slow, mournful breakup song"; Smulders, on the other hand, called it a "pretty funny ... love ballad" about teenage heartbreak.[5][6] The song begins with the line, "Met you at the mall / Didn't know how far I would fall".[24] She recalls about "the greatest week and a half" of her life with her love interest: he taught her how "to French" while sitting on her favorite bench, and they were "gonna travel the globe / From Alberta to Ontario."[24] Lines such as "You're a fool!", "Shut up!", or "I'm on the pill now!" can be heard in the background.[25]

Kelly West of Cinema Blend thought that the song resembles "every other moany pop-ballad from the 80's".[26] PopSugar and Isabelle Carreau of TV Squad described it as a "wistful" and "touching" breakup ballad.[27][10] Whitney Pastorek of Entertainment Weekly felt that it is a "heartwrenching B-side" track,[22] and CBC.ca called it "campy".[28] Vlada Gelman of TVLine declared the song as a "temporary foray into semi-serious balladry".[29] Alyssa Fikse of Uproxx noted the similarities from the song to Gibson's power ballad "Only In My Dreams" (1986).[30] Fox News interpreted the recording as a "melodramatic torch song" that "near and dear to Robin's heart".[31]

Music video[edit]

The music video was filmed at the Zuma Beach, on the coast of Malibu, California.

Arcording to TV Squad, the show began to enlist more guest stars after the rating success of "Ten Sessions", in which Britney Spears appeared in cameo role.[32] Writer Greg Malins, who had worked with James Van Der Beek, offered him a role in the episode on the phone.[7] In March 2008, it was announced that he agreed to play Simon, Robin's love interest.[10][33] A week later, Tiffany Darwish and Alan Thicke confirmed their roles as Sparkles' girlfriend and father, respectively.[13] The creators asked Tiffany to join the show after studying her videos on YouTube, which she accepted.[34] Thicke was a friend with director Pamela Fryman and had worked with her on Hope & Gloria.[8]

The faux music video for "Sandcastles in the Sand", and the 60th episode as a whole, was directed by Fryman.[19] It was filmed at the Zuma Beach, on the coast of Malibu, California[22][35] a week and a half after its parent episode was shot at the 20th Century Fox soundstage.[7] The crew managed to film all the footage they needed before the sun set.[36] Bays wanted the video to show Sparkles' origin story and what she's going through, from the "one time she loved so fully and gave herself over to her heart and got burned real bad by it."[8]

The video begins with Sparkles, wearing a long white dress, walks along the beach.[25] She is then seen wearing her jean jacket from "Let's Go to the Mall" with no sleeves.[37] There is a scene sets on beach sand, where Sparkles is sitting in a desk and writing her diary, while her father is sitting in a reclining chair behind her, reading a Canadian newspaper and smoking a pipe.[7] He wears a sweater vest over a button down shirt, which was compared to Thicke's character appearance in Growing Pains by Eric Goldman of IGN.[8] Sparkles and her father are surrounded by three sandcastles, one of them have a small Canadian flag on top,[8] and many household items, including a spinning globe, an end table and a grandfather clock.[7][25] On screen, a map shows a van going from Alberta to Ontario, and later some handwritten text reads, "It was the greatest week and a half of my life...R+S 4EVA."[25] Many black-and-white interspersed scenes of Sparkles and Simon frolicking on the beach are shown.[10][25] Sparkles' girlfriends appear in schoolgirl outfits as a form of Greek chorus, mouthing to the lyrics and jumping ropes.[25] The robot from the "Let's Go to the Mall" video also shows up, carrying flowers to cheer up Sparkles.[25]

Release[edit]

"Sandcastles in the Sand" appeared in an episode of the same name that aired on April 21, 2008.[11][19] The song was fully available for streaming on April 15 on the official website of Variety.[11][27][38] On April 23, it was released as a digital single by 20th Century Fox Records and Fox Music.[21][11] The song later included in the compilation album How I Met Your Music (2012).[a]

The video premiered online on April 18;[41] its snippets were posted on MySpace three days earlier.[11][27][38] Similar to "Let's Go to the Mall", only portions of the video were showned in its parent episode. The full four-minute footage became available on MySpace and CBS.com after its TV premiere;[11][27][38] there was a tag at the end of the episode that encouraged viewers to watch the full video online.[25] It was also included in the show's season 3 DVD release.[42]

Reception[edit]

Thicke (left) and Van Der Beek's (right) performance received positive reviews. They later reprised their roles in multiple episodes.

"Sandcastles in the Sand" garnered generally positive reviews from both television and music critics. Fox News called it a "worthy follow-up" to "Let's Go to the Mall".[31] Gelman, on the other hand, compared the song unfavorably to "Let's Go to the Mall", but found that the pre-Funny or Die video was "more than make up" for the song. She also ranked it as number four in the show's "Best Song and Dance Moments" list.[29] Joel Keller of TV Squad said that it was "the funniest part" of a "full of eighties and nineties goodness" episode.[43] Ryan Keefer of DVD Talk thought that the video is "totally exploits Robin's Canadian heritage" and "one of the funniest things" from the show.[44] Mickey O'Connor of TV Guide felt that the song was "made of crack cocaine, and will be stuck in your head all day."[38]

Fikse found that the storyline solidified Sparkle's status as a "one-hit wonder" and the video "was just as hilarious" as "Let's Go to the Mall". She commended Thicke and Van Der Beek's appearances, which hilariously show "how absurdly behind Canada was with its pop culture".[30] Michelle Zoromski of IGN also praised their cameo performances, and cited the "splendid" song to be a highlight of the "notch up" episode.[45] PopSugar said that the video "have a great, dated vibe, with a dose of Heidi Montag beach video and an amazingly awkward Dawson-related make-out scene."[27] Writing about its online promotion, Liz Shannon Miller of Gigaom felt that it was "a great example of offline media understanding and incorporating online video."[41]

The "Sandcastles in the Sand" episode received a 3/8 Nielsen rating/share in the 18–49 demographic and attracted 8.45 million American viewers.[46] According to Nielsen SoundScan, the song has sold 1,000 digital downloads in the United States as of August 2008.[3] Meanwhile, its music video garnered almost 70,000 views online over the first 3 days of release.[41]

Aftermath[edit]

An instrumental version of "Sandcastles in the Sand" can be heard when Robin walks down the aisle in season 9's "The End of the Aisle".[47][48] Smulders reprised her role as Robin Sparkles in two more episodes. She appeared on Canadian children's show Space Teens with her friend Jessica Glitter (Nicole Scherzinger) in season 6's "Glitter". Sparkles and Glitter sing a song called "The Beaver Song" together on the show.[49] She hit her breaking point in February 1996, when she changed her stage name to Robin Daggers and released a grunge-influenced track called "P.S. I Love You", which was revealed in a faux documentary that appeared in an episode of the same name in season 8.[50]

Thicke appeared in both episodes, while Van Der Beek reprised his role as Simon in "P.S. I Love You" and season 9's "Bedtime Stories".[51] An alternative version of "The Beaver Song"—titled "Two Beavers are Better Than One", performed by Smulders and Kamille Rudisill—was included in How I Met Your Music.[40] "P.S. I Love You" was released as a stand-alone single in 2013,[21][52] and later included in the Deluxe edition of How I Met Your Music in 2014.[53]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Various April 15, 2008 Streaming [11]
April 23, 2008 Digital download [21]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In How I Met Your Music, Smulders was credited as the song's artist instead of Robin Sparkles.[39][40]

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Bacle, Ariana (January 19, 2015). "Take note, Hollywood: 5 great portrayals of ethical female journalists". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on May 28, 2018. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  2. ^ Pamela Fryman (director), Kourtney Kang (writer), Gloria Calderon Kellett (executive story editor) (November 20, 2006). "Slap Bet". How I Met Your Mother. Season 2. Episode 9. CBS.
  3. ^ a b Caulfield, Keith (August 1, 2008). "Ask Billboard: Robin Sparkles, Garbage, Alkaline Trio, Bayside". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 30, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  4. ^ Burns, Kelli S. (2009). "Primetime Social Media". Celeb 2.0: How Social Media Foster Our Fascination with Popular Culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 171. ISBN 0313356882.
  5. ^ a b c Walsh-Boyle, Megan (April 21, 2008). "Cobie Smulders Makes How I Met Your Mother Sparkle". TV Guide. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on November 12, 2017. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Goldman, Eric (November 11, 2006). "How I Met Your Mother Goes '80s". IGN. News Corporation. Archived from the original on April 16, 2015. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Goldman 2008, p. 1
  8. ^ a b c d e Goldman 2008, p. 2
  9. ^ Pastorek, Whitney (March 2008). "Spring TV Preview: The Scoop on 26 Returning Shows – 'How I Met Your Mother' Returned March 17 · 8:30 PM · CBS". Entertainment Weekly (Photo gallery). Archived from the original on March 24, 2008. Retrieved August 14, 2008.
  10. ^ a b c d Carreau, Isabelle (March 21, 2008). "Van Der Beek to guest star on How I Met Your Mother". TV Squad. Weblogs, Inc. Archived from the original on September 21, 2009. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Adalian, Josef (April 15, 2008). "CBS bringing back viral hit Sparkles". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on August 17, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  12. ^ Pamela Fryman (director), Matt Kuhn (writer), Joe Kelly (story editor) (November 19, 2007). "Slapsgiving". How I Met Your Mother. Season 3. Episode 9. CBS.
  13. ^ a b "Tiffany, Alan Thicke Add Sparkle to April 21 Mother". TV Guide. CBS Interactive. April 9, 2008. Archived from the original on April 11, 2008. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  14. ^ 20th Century Fox 2008, 01:16
  15. ^ 20th Century Fox 2008, 01:21
  16. ^ a b Thomas et al. 2008, 19:09
  17. ^ Thomas et al. 2008, 19:00
  18. ^ Thomas et al. 2008, 21:02
  19. ^ a b c d e f g Pamela Fryman (director), Kourtney Kang (writer), Joe Kelly (executive story editor) (April 21, 2008). "Sandcastles in the Sand". How I Met Your Mother. Season 3. Episode 16. CBS.
  20. ^ Sandcastles in the Sand (Media notes). Robin Sparkles. 20th Century Fox / Fox Music. 2008.
  21. ^ a b c d "Sandcastles In the Sand (From "How I Met Your Mother") – Single by Robin Sparkles". United States: iTunes Store. Archived from the original on July 26, 2018. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  22. ^ a b c Pastorek, Whitney (September 14, 2009). "'How I Met Your Mother': 15 Best Episodes – 'Sandcastles in the Sand' (Season 3, 2008)". Entertainment Weekly (Photo gallery). Archived from the original on October 20, 2017. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  23. ^ 20th Century Fox 2008, 00:33
  24. ^ a b "Robin Sparkles – Sandcastles in the Sand". MetroLyrics. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on August 30, 2018. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h Omar G 2008, p. 7
  26. ^ West, Kelly (April 21, 2008). "TV Recap: How I Met Your Mother - Revertigo". Cinema Blend. Gateaway Blend. Archived from the original on September 4, 2012. Retrieved April 21, 2008.
  27. ^ a b c d e "First Look: Robin Sparkles, 'Sandcastles in the Sand'". PopSugar. April 17, 2008. Archived from the original on August 14, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  28. ^ "How I Met Your Mother salutes Canada with themed episode". CBC.ca. The Canadian Press. February 4, 2013. Archived from the original on July 24, 2018. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  29. ^ a b Gelman, Vlada (September 19, 2011). "How I Met Your Mother's Best Song and Dance Moments – From Robin Sparkles to Dirty Dancing". TVLine. Archived from the original on January 2, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  30. ^ a b Fikse, Alyssa (June 17, 2015). "Remembering Robin Sparkles' Evolution From The Mall To Grunge On 'How I Met Your Mother'". Uproxx. Uproxx Media Group. Archived from the original on December 14, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  31. ^ a b "'How I Met Your Mother's' 12 best musical moments". Fox News. March 27, 2014. Archived from the original on May 15, 2017. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  32. ^ Waldman, Allison (April 10, 2008). "Coming soon on How I Met Your Mother: More Robin Sparkles! – Video". TV Squad. Weblogs, Inc. Archived from the original on November 1, 2008. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
  33. ^ Ghosh, Korbi (March 31, 2008). "Exclusive: James Van Der Beek Gets In on the Robin Sparkles Action". E! Online. Comcast. Archived from the original on April 1, 2008. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  34. ^ Thomas et al. 2008, 19:26
  35. ^ Pastorek, Whitney (January 4, 2010). "'How I Met Your Mother': Stars Dish on 10 Favorite Moments! – Cobie Smulders: The 'Sandcastles in the Sand' Video Shoot (season 3, episode 16)". Entertainment Weekly (Photo gallery). Archived from the original on August 2, 2018. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  36. ^ Goldman 2008, p. 3
  37. ^ Freymiller, Sarah (March 10, 2014). "All the Robin Sparkles Videos You Need to Celebrate 'HIMYM's Greatest Character". Bustle. Archived from the original on August 23, 2018. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  38. ^ a b c d O'Connor, Mickey (April 16, 2008). "Robin Sparkles' Latest Hit 'Leaks' onto the Internet". TV Guide. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on August 23, 2018. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  39. ^ Grow, Kory (July 30, 2012). "'How I Met Your Mother' Soundtrack Will Finally Release Best of Robin Sparkles". Spin. Eldridge Industries. Archived from the original on July 22, 2018. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  40. ^ a b Gonzalez, Sandra (September 18, 2012). "'How I Met Your Mother' soundtrack: See the full listings! -- Exclusive". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on March 31, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  41. ^ a b c Miller, Liz Shannon (April 22, 2008). "Will It Spread? How I Met Your Mother: 'Sandcastles in the Sand'". Gigaom. Archived from the original on October 12, 2015. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  42. ^ Robinson, Jeffrey (October 23, 2008). "How I Met Your Mother – Season Three (FOX/Unrated)". DVD Talk. Internet Brands. Archived from the original on August 15, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  43. ^ Keller, Joel (April 21, 2008). "How I Met Your Mother: Sandcastles in the Sand – Videos". TV Squad. Weblogs, Inc. Archived from the original on February 16, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  44. ^ Keefer, Ryan (November 4, 2008). "How I Met Your Mother – Season Three (FOX/Unrated)". DVD Talk. Internet Brands. Archived from the original on November 1, 2016. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  45. ^ Zoromski, Michelle (April 22, 2008). "How I Met Your Mother: 'Sandcastles in the Sand' Review". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  46. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings (from 04/21/08 through 04/27/08)" (Press release). ABC Television Network. April 29, 2008. Archived from the original on April 17, 2014. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
  47. ^ O'Connell, Michael (March 31, 2014). "'How I Met Your Mother' Finale: 5 Loose Ends That Still Need Tying". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on June 10, 2018. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  48. ^ Thomas, Kaitlin (March 25, 2014). "How I Met Your Mother 'The End of the Aisle' Review: Love Makes You Do the Wacky". TV.com. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on April 12, 2016. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  49. ^ Canning, Robert (November 16, 2010). "How I Met Your Mother: 'Glitter' Review". IGN. News Corporation. Archived from the original on August 2, 2016. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  50. ^ Kornowski, Liat (February 4, 2013). "'How I Met Your Mother' Recap: We Get Robin Daggers (Née Sparkles), Ted Gets A Stalker". HuffPost. Archived from the original on September 9, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  51. ^ Nicholson, Max (November 25, 2013). "How I Met Your Mother: "Bedtime Stories" Review". IGN. News Corporation. Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  52. ^ "P.S. I Love You (From "How I Met Your Mother") – Single by Robin Daggers". United States: iTunes Store. Archived from the original on July 26, 2018. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  53. ^ How I Met Your Music: Deluxe (Media notes). Various. United States: 20th Century Fox. 2014.

Sources[edit]

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