Steal My Sunshine

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"Steal My Sunshine"
StealMySunshine.jpg
Single by Len
from the album You Can't Stop the Bum Rush
Released22 July 1999 (1999-07-22)[1]
Format
RecordedAugust 1998
StudioFour Ways Studio B
Genre
Length4:25 (album version)
4:00 (edit with dialogue)
3:30 (radio edit)
LabelWork
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Mumble C (Marc Costanzo)
Len singles chronology
"Trillion Daze"
(1997)
"Steal My Sunshine"
(1999)
"Feelin' Alright"
(1999)
"Trillion Daze"
(1997)
"Steal My Sunshine"
(1999)
"Feelin' Alright"
(1999)

"Steal My Sunshine" is a song by Canadian band Len, composed by band member Marc Costanzo with a writing credit to 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, eventually reaching number three in Canada, Australia, and Ireland, number eight on the UK Singles Chart, and number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100. 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.

Background[edit]

Marc Costanzo went to a rave during a time when he and his sister Sharon had gone several months without speaking.[4] While out, he was listening to old disco music with Brendan Canning,[5] and heard the Andrea True Connection's "More, More, More."[6] 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.[4] 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.[6]

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."[6] As a result, the song's structure is characterized by alternating between male and female vocals from Marc and Sharon.[7] Band member Marc Costanzo has stated that lyrics were about the aforementioned rave and the events that took place there,[8] reflecting the extremes of an adolescent love affair.[9]

Release and reception[edit]

Release[edit]

"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.[10] The song became Len's most successful, reaching the Top 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in September 1999.[11] It reached the top ten on the Adult Top 40, Modern Rock Tracks, Top 40 Mainstream, and Top 40 Tracks charts.[12] At the 2000 Juno Awards, "Steal My Sunshine" was nominated for "Best Single" but lost to The Tragically Hip's "Bobcaygeon."[13]

Reception[edit]

"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".[14]
  • For The Village Voice, Richard Riegel described the song's beat as "McCoy Tyner playing the Kraftwerk songbook, outlined in aural neon."[15]
  • In her review for Rolling Stone, Karen Schoemer compared Sharon Costanzo's vocals to Josie and the Pussycats.[16] The publication listed "Steal My Sunshine" tenth on its list of the best singles of 1999.[17]
  • 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."[2]
  • The song was listed third on the 1999 Pazz and Jop list, a survey of several hundred music critics conducted by Robert Christgau.[18]
  • In 2007, Stylus Magazine ranked the song 13th on its list of the top 50 one-hit wonders, stating that it "perfectly captured that warm, lazy feeling you get when late summer still seems like it could last forever."[19]
  • In 2013, Rolling Stone magazine placed "Steal My Sunshine" at number 33 in their list of the "Best Summer Songs of All Time".[20]

Music video[edit]

The song's music video was jointly directed by Marc Costanzo and Bradley Walsh, and was recorded at Senka park in Chicago, Illinois under the respective stage names "The Burger Pimp" and "B-Rad".[21] When Len had signed to Work Records, one of its demands was to be able to direct its own videos.[7] 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.[22]

Motorrad, whose scooters were included in the music video, later held a promotion giving away scooters of the same model.[7] At the 1999 MuchMusic Video Awards, "Steal My Sunshine" won awards for "Best Video", "Best Pop Video", and "Favourite Canadian Video".[23]

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.

Formats and track listings[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

Year Artist Album
2014 The Xcerts There Is Only You

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Harriet Gibsone. "Debunking the one-hit wonder: Len's Steal My Sunshine". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b The Best of TRL Pop review AllMusic
  3. ^ Bush, John. "You Can't Stop the Bum Rush". AllMusic.
  4. ^ a b "Let the Sunshine In". MTV News. July 1, 1999. Retrieved October 2, 2008.
  5. ^ Behind The Music: “Steal My Sunshine”, by Peter Helman, at Stereogum; published May 19, 2016; retrieved May 20, 2016
  6. ^ a b c Brunner, Rob. "'Steal' this hook". Entertainment Weekly, issue 501, page 69. September 3, 1999. Retrieved October 2, 2008.
  7. ^ a b c Hay, Carla. "Work's Len 'Bum Rushes' charts". Billboard, volume 111, issue 31, page 9. July 31, 1999.
  8. ^ Gibstone, Hariet. "Debunking the one-hit wonder: Len's Steal My Sunshine". Guardian. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  9. ^ Scherman, Tony. "Recordings; High-Quality Bubble Gum". The New York Times. August 8, 1999. Retrieved October 2, 2008.
  10. ^ Bell, Carrie. "LEN blends '80s hip-hop, sex-kitten vocals and sarcastic pop." Billboard, volume 111, issue 26, page W14. June 26, 1999.
  11. ^ Pietroluongo, Silvio. "Hot 100 spotlight". Billboard, volume 111, issue 51, page 101. December 18, 1999.
  12. ^ "LEN > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved October 2, 2008.
  13. ^ Nazareth, Errol. "McLachlan, Morissette, More Up For Junos". MTV News. February 3, 2000. Retrieved October 2, 2008.
  14. ^ Brunner, Rob. "Len: 'Steal My Sunshine'". Entertainment Weekly, issue 490, page 78. June 18, 1999.
  15. ^ Riegel, Richard. "Pretty fly as you feel". The Village Voice, volume 44, issue 31. August 10, 1999.
  16. ^ Schoemer, Karen. "Len". Rolling Stone, issue 820, page 110. September 2, 1999.
  17. ^ Sheffield, Rob. "The year in singles". Rolling Stone, issue 828/829, page 223. December 16–23, 1999.
  18. ^ "Pazz & Jop 1999". The Village Voice. Retrieved October 2, 2008.
  19. ^ Bradley, Jonathan. "Top 50 One Hit Wonders". Stylus Magazine. March 26, 2007. Retrieved from the Internet Archive October 2, 2008.
  20. ^ "Best Summer Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone.
  21. ^ "MTV's buzzworthy". Adweek, volume 40, issue 25. June 21, 1999.
  22. ^ Mason, Neil. "Canada Fly". Melody Maker, volume 76, issue 47, page 26. December 8, 1999.
  23. ^ Hay, Carla. "Canuck MuchMusic Video Awards honor hip-hoppers Len, Infinite". Billboard, volume 111, issue 41, page 94. October 9, 1999.
  24. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Len – Steal My Sunshine". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  25. ^ "Brazil" (PDF). ABPD. October 6, 2001. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  26. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 8352." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  27. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 8453." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  28. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Steal My Sunshine". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  29. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Interprete: L".
  30. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Len – Steal My Sunshine" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  31. ^ "Charts.nz – Len – Steal My Sunshine". Top 40 Singles.
  32. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  33. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Len – Steal My Sunshine". Singles Top 100.
  34. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  35. ^ "Len Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  36. ^ "Len Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  37. ^ "Len Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard.
  38. ^ "Len Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  39. ^ "RPM 1999 Top 100 Hit Tracks". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  40. ^ "RPM 1999 Top 100 Adult Contemporary". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  41. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1999". Retrieved 2010-08-28.
  42. ^ "ARIA Charts - End of Year Charts - Top 100 Singles 2000". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  43. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2000 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  44. ^ "British single certifications – Len – Steal My Sunshine". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 2, 2018. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Steal My Sunshine in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]