Skinny Love

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"Skinny Love"
Bon-iver-skinny-love.jpg
Single by Bon Iver
from the album For Emma, Forever Ago
ReleasedApril 28, 2008 (2008-04-28)
RecordedNovember 2006 – February 2007
GenreIndie folk
Length3:58
Label
Songwriter(s)Justin Vernon
Bon Iver singles chronology
"Skinny Love"
(2008)
"For Emma"
(2008)

"Skinny Love" is a song written by American musician and songwriter Justin Vernon. It was originally released by indie folk band Bon Iver, of which Vernon is a member, in 2007. A cover version by the British vocalist Birdy was released in 2011. Both versions charted internationally and have been featured in multiple television and film soundtracks. The song has since become a popular tune for various singing competition shows around the anglophone world.[1]

Background[edit]

"Skinny Love" was the first single released from Bon Iver's 2007 debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, in the United States. The song was released as a single in the United Kingdom on April 28, 2008. While "Skinny Love" has been considered a reference to singer Justin Vernon's relationship with former girlfriend Christy Smith,[2] Vernon countered this as "not entirely accurate [...] it's about that time in a relationship that I was going through; you're in a relationship because you need help, but that's not necessarily why you should be in a relationship. And that's skinny."[3]

The song was used in the second episode of Grey's Anatomy's fifth season. The digital download track "Skinny Love" was selected to be iTunes (UK) single of the week and was available for free during that time, as well as being featured as the track of the day on National Public Radio. On October 6, 2008, "Skinny Love" was featured in the NBC series Chuck (season 2, episode 3).[4][5] On December 11, 2008, Bon Iver performed "Skinny Love" on the Late Show with David Letterman.[6] On January 26, 2009, "Skinny Love" was announced at #21 by the Australian national radio station Triple J in the annual Hottest 100 countdown of the previous year's best songs.[7] In July 2009, "Skinny Love" was announced at #92 in Triple J's Hottest 100 of All Time countdown.[8] In June 2013, "Skinny Love" was announced at #16 in Triple J's Hottest 100 of the Last 20 Years countdown.[9]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleLength
1."Skinny Love"3:59

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[13] Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[14] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Birdy version[edit]

"Skinny Love"
SkinnyLove.jpg
Single by Birdy
from the album Birdy
ReleasedJanuary 30, 2011 (2011-01-30)
Recorded2010
GenrePiano ballad
Length3:22
Label
Songwriter(s)Justin Vernon
Producer(s)Alex H. N. Gilbert
Birdy singles chronology
"Skinny Love"
(2011)
"Shelter"
(2011)

British musician Birdy released a cover version of the song in 2011 as her debut single. The single has been B-listed on Xfm and is a particular favourite with listeners of Shak's overnight show. The song was also chosen as "Record of The Week"[15] by UK radio DJ Fearne Cotton. This version was used in Season 2 Episode 21 of The Vampire Diaries and in Season 1 Episode 1 of Prisoners' Wives.

The song also skyrocketed in Australian popularity within the ARIA Charts' top ten, partly because of Bella Ferraro, an X Factor 2012 Top Four contestant who performed the song at the X Factor auditions aired in Australia in August 2012. The song reached number two on the ARIA Singles Chart in September, kept off the number-one spot by Guy Sebastian's song "Battle Scars" for three weeks.[16] A similar event took place in New Zealand in May 2013 after X Factor winner Jackie Thomas performed the song at her audition. The song entered the top 40 for the first time and reached number two on the RIANZ chart following the broadcast, behind Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines".[17]

In 2011, "Skinny Love" sold 259,000 copies in the UK, becoming the third biggest selling rock single of that year.[18] As of August 2016, the song had sold 744,502 copies in the UK.[19]

Birdy's version of the song was serviced to US contemporary hit radio on February 11, 2014.[20]

Music videos[edit]

There are three music videos for this single. The first music video for the song was uploaded to YouTube on April 1, 2011.[21] It features Birdy playing the piano of walking in a dark house. The second music video was shot in one take and framed on Birdy's face. The camera changes focus as she sings. It was uploaded on October 14, 2011.[22] The third music video was uploaded on January 15, 2014.[23]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleLength
1."Skinny Love"3:22

Charts[edit]

Decade-end charts[edit]

Chart (2010–2019) Position
Australia (ARIA)[58] 51

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[59] 7× Platinum 490,000double-dagger
Belgium (BEA)[60] Platinum 30,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[61] Gold 40,000*
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[62] Platinum 90,000double-dagger
France (SNEP)[63] Platinum 150,000*
Italy (FIMI)[64] Platinum 50,000double-dagger
New Zealand (RMNZ)[65] 2× Platinum 30,000*
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[66] Gold 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[67] 2× Platinum 744,502[19]
United States (RIAA)[68] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United Kingdom January 30, 2011[69] Digital download Atlantic Records

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Grayson Haver Currin (July 27, 2011). "Bon Iver's long wager". Indy Week. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  3. ^ Grayson Currin (June 13, 2011). "Interviews: Bon Iver". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  4. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1185873/soundtrack
  5. ^ "BON IVER: Anywhere From Here". Volume One magazine. December 4, 2009. Archived from the original on June 15, 2009.
  6. ^ Letterman, David; indiemusicfilter. "The Late Show Musical Guest Bon Iver 12/11/08 HQ Video". Vodpod.com. Late Show with David Letterman. Archived from the original (video) on August 4, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
  7. ^ "Kings of Leon top Triple J's Hottest 100". The Courier-Mail. January 25, 2009.
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  63. ^ "French single certifications – Birdy – Skinny Love" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
  64. ^ "Italian single certifications – Birdy – Skinny Love" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved May 17, 2017. Select "2017" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Skinny Love" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  65. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Birdy – Skinny Love". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  66. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Birdy; 'Skinny Love')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
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External links[edit]