Steal My Sunshine
|"Steal My Sunshine"|
|Single by Len|
|from the album You Can't Stop the Bum Rush|
|Released||22 July 1999|
|Studio||Four Ways Studio B|
|Length||4:25 (album version)
4:00 (edit with dialogue)
3:30 (radio edit)
|Producer(s)||Mumble C (Marc Costanzo)|
|Len singles chronology|
“Steal My Sunshine” is a song by Canadian band Len, jointly written and composed by band member Marc Costanzo and Gregg Diamond. It was released in July 1999 as the lead single from their third album You Can't Stop the Bum Rush.
The indie pop track became a sleeper hit when radio stations began playing it in March 1999, four months before Len planned to release their album. "Steal My Sunshine" had a commercial single release in July 1999. It received positive reviews from music critics, and its chart success caused Len to be considered a one-hit wonder. The song earned a nomination for "Best Single" at the Juno Awards of 2000.
The backdrop is based on a sample of a short instrumental portion of the "Andrea True Connection's" 1976 disco single "More, More, More," which Diamond wrote and composed specifically for the Connection's lead singer, former porn star Andrea True. Supposedly inspired by The Human League's 1981 synthpop hit "Don't You Want Me," the song's vocals alternate between Marc and Sharon Costanzo. Gregg Diamond, who was given songwriting credit as the original author-composer of "More, More, More," died three months before the album was released.
The song uses chords sampled from "More, More, More."
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Marc Costanzo went to a rave during a time when he and his sister Sharon had gone several months without speaking. While out, he was listening to old disco music with Brendan Canning, and heard the Andrea True Connection's "More, More, More." Marc decided to loop part of the song's bridge and wrote and composed "Steal My Sunshine" on that basis. When he returned home, he presented the song to Sharon. The two recorded it on an 8-track 1/2 inch recorder, and she threw the reel in a closet. Marc stated that "Steal My Sunshine" did not make much of an impression on him, so Len did not originally plan to include it on You Can't Stop the Bum Rush. The master recording was under his bed, so the group was almost unable to find the song.
When producing "Steal My Sunshine," Marc Costanzo wanted to make a song similar to The Human League's 1981 synthpop single "Don't You Want Me." As a result, the song's structure is characterized by alternating between male and female vocals from Marc and Sharon. Band member Marc Costanzo has stated that lyrics were about the aforementioned rave and the events that took place there, reflecting the extremes of an adolescent love affair.
Release and reception
"Steal My Sunshine" was included on the soundtrack to Go, which was released on March 30, 1999 by Sony Music Entertainment. It received heavy airplay as a result, causing Sony's subsidiary The WORK Group to push the album's release date from the middle of June 1999 to May 25, 1999. The song became Len's most successful, reaching the Top 10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in September 1999. It reached the top ten on the Adult Top 40, Modern Rock Tracks, Top 40 Mainstream, and Top 40 Tracks charts. At the 2000 Juno Awards, "Steal My Sunshine" was nominated for "Best Single" but lost to The Tragically Hip's "Bobcaygeon."
"Steal My Sunshine" received positive reviews from music critics.
- Rob Brunner of Entertainment Weekly rated it a B+, describing it as a 1990s "Don't You Want Me" with a "smiley groove and alternating male/ female vocals".
- For The Village Voice, Richard Riegel described the song's beat as "McCoy Tyner playing the Kraftwerk songbook, outlined in aural neon."
- In her review for Rolling Stone, Karen Schoemer compared Sharon Costanzo's vocals to Josie and the Pussycats. The publication listed "Steal My Sunshine" tenth on its list of the best singles of 1999.
- The single also garnered high praise from AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine: "Then, there's Len's 'Steal My Sunshine,' as perfect as songs get. This sun-kissed, sun-bleached blend of hip-hop, pop, disco, post-Beastie Boys cleverness and California culture is a priceless, timeless confection that instantly calls up sweltering, shimmering beaches the second the looped keyboard plays. It's a monumentally great single...put it this way, if 'Steal My Sunshine' was the last song I ever heard on this earth, I'd die happy — and it shows that mainstream pop can truly be transcendent."
- The song was listed third on the 1999 Pazz and Jop list, a survey of several hundred music critics conducted by Robert Christgau.
- In 2007, Stylus Magazine ranked the song thirteenth on its list of the top fifty one-hit wonders, stating that it "perfectly captured that warm, lazy feeling you get when late summer still seems like it could last forever."
- In 2013, Rolling Stone magazine placed "Steal My Sunshine" at number 33 in their list of the "Best Summer Songs of All Time".
The song's music video was jointly directed by Marc Costanzo and Bradley Walsh, under the respective stage names “The BurgerPimp” and “B-Rad.” When Len had signed to Work Records, one of its demands was to be able to direct its own videos. The group used a $100,000 budget to make the video. They flew to Daytona Beach, Florida with two dozen friends while the area was crowded with people on their spring vacations. They spent much of the budget on alcohol, buying so much that they broke their hotel's elevator trying to lift it. They shot the video in the afternoon so that they could recover from hangovers in the morning and drink in the evening. The scenes were shot without a script or storyboard. In the video, Len and its friends are shown relaxing together and riding on scooters, go-karts, and jet skis.
Motorrad, whose scooters were included in the music video, later held a promotion giving away scooters of the same model. At the 1999 MuchMusic Video Awards, "Steal My Sunshine" won awards for "Best Video," "Best Pop Video," and "Favourite Canadian Video."
The music video for “Steal My Sunshine” that Walsh and Costanzo had jointly directed was also included as a bonus feature on the special edition DVD release of the film Go.
|2014||The Xcerts||There Is Only You|
Formats and track listings
12" vinyl single
2014 Cassette single
CD maxi single
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- The Best of TRL Pop review AllMusic
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- Hay, Carla. "Work's Len 'Bum Rushes' charts." Billboard, volume 111, issue 31, page 9. July 31, 1999.
- Gibstone, Hariet. "Debunking the one-hit wonder: Len's Steal My Sunshine". Guardian. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
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