Scent of a Woman (song)

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"Scent of a Woman"
Cheap Trick Scent of a Woman Single Cover 2003.jpg
Single by Cheap Trick
from the album Special One
Released 2003
Format CD
Genre Rock, Power Pop
Length 3:54 (edit)
4:48 (album version)
Label Big3 Records
Cheap Trick Unlimited
Songwriter(s) Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander, Tom Petersson
Producer(s) Chris Shaw, Cheap Trick
Cheap Trick singles chronology
"That '70s Song"
"Scent of a Woman"
"My Obsession"
"That '70s Song"
"Scent of a Woman"
"My Obsession"
Alternative Cover
CDr cover of "Scent of a Woman"
CDr cover of "Scent of a Woman"

"Scent of a Woman" is a single by American rock band Cheap Trick, released as the lead single from their 2003 album Special One. It was the band's first single in four years, from their first studio album in six years.


Released as the band's first single for four years and the leading single from Special One, the promotional single aimed for radio station play only. Although it didn't chart on any Billboard Chart, it was the number one most added R&R mainstream rock track in America during the week of its release to radio.[1][2]

Continuing the band's independence after avoiding major record labels by establishing their own record company Cheap Trick Unlimited, the band's Special One album was released to both mixed and positive critical reception. However, "Scent of a Woman" was claimed to be Cheap Trick's best single since the 1978 power pop classic "Surrender".[3]

The song was written by Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander and Tom Petersson. It was produced by both the band and Chris Shaw. Including the rest of the Special One album, the song was recorded in March 2002, and was mastered at Masterdisk.[4]


The single was released in America only as a promotional CD single, where it aimed solely at radio station play. Two different CD singles were released in total.[5] The main CD single featured two tracks. An edit of "Scent of a Woman" was the featured track, whilst the full version (from the album) of the song was the second track.[6]

A second single was released on CDr - produced by Big3 prior to the distribution of the main promotional CD.[7] This release had a custom printed disc with a custom picture insert, and featured four tracks in total. A live version of "Scent of a Woman" was the first track, along with the LP version as the second, whilst a live version and the LP version of "My Obsession" were the third and fourth tracks. "My Obsession" would be the album's second single shortly after.[8] Although the single named the second track as the LP version of "Scent of a Woman", it was in fact the edited version.

Both releases featured artwork, with the main CD single using a similar design to the album cover, using a red spiraling background and a drawing of a woman and a man.[9] The CDr single featured artwork which highlighted a close-up of each band member in front of a circular black and white checkered background.[10]

Following the song's original release as a single and on the Special One album, the song was included on the 2004 compilation The Essential Cheap Trick and the 2010 compilation Essential 3.0. A live version of the track was included on the 2004 live DVD/CD set From Tokyo to You: Live in Japan and another version of the song was added to the 2005 extended play "Sessions@AOL".[11]


No music video was created for the single, although the song became part of the band's live set before and after the album's release, often as an encore.

On July 24, 2003, the band performed the song live on NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" program.[12] Since being uploaded unofficially on YouTube, the performance has gained approximately 8000 views since August 2009.[13]

On August 25, 2003, the band performed the song live on Seattle EMP TV, along with "I Want You to Want Me", "Too Much" and "Surrender".[14]

On August 21, 2003, the band performed a set of songs for the session at AOL. The band performed various songs, with at least six songs from the Special One album, including "Scent of a Woman".[15] On April 5, 2005, a five track extended play "Sessions@AOL" was released by the band, which included "Scent of a Woman". Aside from the track "Too Much", no other Special One album tracks were included.[16]

On July 1, 2003, the band played a short acoustic set at the new Apple store in Chicago as part of Apple's "Made on a Mac" series. The band played four songs - "Too Much", "I Want You To Want Me", "Scent of a Woman" and "Goodnight Now" which were recorded onto an Apple laptop using Pro Tools. Producer Harry Witz then took over to demonstrate editing and mixing the songs on the laptop.[17]

Track listing[edit]

CD Single (CTDPRO5603 - promo)
  1. "Scent of a Woman (Edit)" - 3:54
  2. "Scent of a Woman (Full)" - 4:48
CDr Single (CHPCRSC338305 - promo)
  1. "Scent of a Woman (Live)" - 4:23
  2. "Scent of a Woman (LP Version)" - 3:53
  3. "My Obsession (Live)" - 3:20
  4. "My Obsession (LP Version)" - 3:32

Critical reception[edit]

Before the album's release, on April 14, 2003, Chicago Tribune reviewed a Cheap Trick live concert and mentioned the song, stating "...And "Scent of a Woman" came on like gangbusters to open the encore, sexual politics turned into a blue-eyed soul rampage, underscored with bombastic Who-like power chords."[18][19]

In the official Billboard Magazine issue of July 19, 2003, a review of the album highlighted the song, stating "Fans and rock programmers will find plenty to love in such tracks as "Scent of a Woman," "My Obsession" and "If I Could." Cheap Trick's reliable tunefulness is in full force here; its music continues to be an irresistible confection."[20] In a Billboard Magazine article based on the band's new album from around the time of its release, the article highlighted four songs from the album, including "Scent of a Woman".[21]

On July 17, 2003, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reviewed the album and spoke of the song, stating "The very catchy "Scent of a Woman" evokes obscure influences like the Easybeats."[22] On July 18, 2003, a review of the album by Buffalo News spoke of the song, which noted the song's "Who-like power chording."[23]

On July 24, 2003, the Chicago Tribune negatively reviewed the Special One album and mentioned the single, describing it as "one saccharine, female-empowering anthem that'll make you cringe."[24] In the August 2003 issue of CMJ New Music Monthly, a review of the album stated "Scent of a Woman" finds Zander sounding like Bob Pollard trying to sound like Roger Daltrey, and the testosterone-fueled emoting is at odds with the feminist message."[25]

On August 01, 2003, The State reviewed Special One and spoke of "Scent of a Woman", stating "There are a lot fewer rockers here than Cheap Trick is usually known for, "Scent of a Woman" and "Sorry Boy" notwithstanding."[26] On August 29, 2003, The Washington Post spoke of the song in a review of the album, stating "Tom Petersson, Robin Zander and Rick Nielsen are credited as co-writers on all 11 songs, and they're still coming up with ingenious variations on mid-'60s British Invasion rock 'n' roll. For example, the first single, "Scent of a Woman," is more than just an expert imitation of the Who; it's a classic piece of power pop in its own right. The arresting guitar figure at first expresses bewilderment at female assurance, but it soon links up with a rumbling drum figure to become a giddy, galloping tribute to women."[27]

On September 10, 2004, Asbury Park Press spoke of the album and the song, stating "It boasts several first-rate tunes, the most notable of which is "Scent of a Woman," a rousing rocker with a killer melody and a walloping beat."[28] On November 07, 2003, Dallas Morning News spoke of the song, stating "...the sugary single "Scent of a Woman" is one of the lamest."[29]

On January 01, 2004, Sun Herald reviewed the album and spoke of the song, stating "...Several of these songs fall into that category, like "Scent Of A Woman," which spells out some important lessons."[30] On January 02, 2004, Palm Beach Post spoke of the song, stating "...And those elements are present on Special One, right from the opening track, "Scent of a Woman", a high-powered rocker."[31]

On June 20, 2004, Worcester Telegram Gazette spoke of the album and the song, stating "The album is pure Cheap Trick, from the big-gun blast of "Scent of a Woman"..."[32] On December 23, 2004, Star-News released an article based on the band and spoke of the song, stating "Songs on Special One include "Scent of a Woman" - a soulful rock number that some critics claim is the band's best single since 1978's "Surrender".[3]

On June 21, 2004, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reviewed a concert of Aerosmith and Cheap Trick, where Ed Masley stated "Two new songs, "My Obsession" and "Scent of A Woman," held up surprisingly well, but they probably should have ended with "Surrender," not "Scent of A Woman" - unless, of course, they had another classic on reserve for the encore they clearly deserved but didn't get."[33]

In the Chicago Tribune of July 24, 2003, Blair R. Fischer stated "God bless Cheap Trick for still making music and keeping their original lineup intact after all these years. Too bad "Special One" is our only reward for their perseverance. Replete with worn, lumbering melodies (even one stolen from '70s soul group Three Degrees on "Too Much") and one saccharine, female-empowering anthem, "Scent of a Woman," that'll make you cringe, Cheap Trick's latest is special in the same way that 10-car pile-ups are interesting."[34]

Concert Shots writer Chris McKay reviewed the album, stating "Leadoff single "Scent of a Woman" sounds like AC/DC if they'd spent more time listening to The Move."[35] writer Frank Meyer reviewed the album upon release, stating "Whoever decided to open this album with "Scent of a Woman" should be shot. Not only is the title borrowed from a horrible, schmaltzy romantic comedy, but it is the worst track on the album and one of the worst they have ever recorded."[36]

Melodic Net reviewer Kaj Roth reviewed the album, stating "My personal faves are "Pop Drone" (just gotta be released as a single) and the opening rocker "Scent of a Woman" (a new Cheap Trick classic and a true live fave I think)."[37] On, reviewer Andrew J McNeice reviewed Special One track by track, and wrote "Scent Of A Woman is a cracking feel good rocker that goes right back to the heart of what makes Cheap Trick special. One of their best tracks ever in my opinion and a sure fire hit had it been released in any other decade. Might even be some hope for it in 2003!"[38]

Reviewer George Starostin reviewed the album for his site, where he spoke of the song, stating "On the other hand, the album opener, 'Scent Of A Woman', is sort of an unlucky number. Lyrically, its pseudo-PC "pro-woman" message works about as well as all these declarations like 'It's A Man's Man's World' or 'Only Women Bleed' that seem to think they're deifying Woman but instead can be ironically summarized as "the woman is a man's best friend" kind of songs, and this seriously detracts from the actual melody, which is no great shakes either."[39]


  • Robin Zander - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, producer
  • Rick Nielsen - lead guitar, backing vocals, producer
  • Tom Petersson - bass guitar, backing vocals, producer
  • Bun E. Carlos - drums, percussion, producer

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Kii Arens - Artwork on 2-track CD promo
  • Eric Tew - Digital Editing, Additional Engineer
  • Howie Weinberg - Mastering
  • Chris Shaw - Mixer, Producer
  • Writers of "Scent of a Woman" - Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander, Tom Petersson
  • Writers of "My Obsession" - Tom Petersson, Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander, Julian Raymond


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  2. ^ PR Newswire - Jul 21, 2003 ("was the #1 most-added mainstream rock track in America")
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  38. ^ "Interactive Melodic CD Reviews". Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  39. ^ "Cheap Trick". Retrieved 2012-11-25.