Teenage Dirtbag

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For the 2009 film, see Teenage Dirtbag (film).
"Teenage Dirtbag"
Single by Wheatus
from the album Wheatus
Released July 17, 2000
Format CD single
Recorded 2000
Genre Power pop, pop rock
Length 4:07
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Brendan B. Brown
Wheatus singles chronology
"Teenage Dirtbag"
(2000)
"A Little Respect"
(2001)
Music video
YouTube
Alternative cover
UK single cover

"Teenage Dirtbag" is a song and debut single by American pop rock group Wheatus. It was released in July 2000 as the lead single from their eponymous debut album. The song was written by lead singer Brendan B. Brown and was inspired by a childhood experience of his.

The song was massively successful in Australia, spending four weeks at number 1, being certified 3× Platinum and becoming the second best-selling single of the year. It also reached number 2 in Germany and the United Kingdom, where it was certified Platinum in 2013.[1] It has sold 5 million copies worldwide as of 2014.[2]

Background[edit]

"Teenage Dirtbag" is about a childhood experience that Wheatus frontman Brendan B. Brown had. In an interview with Tone Deaf, he said: "It came from the summer of 1984 on Long Island, when I was 10 years old. That summer in the woods behind my house, there was a Satanic, drug-induced ritual teen homicide that went down; and the kid who did it was called Ricky Kasso, and he was arrested wearing an AC/DC T-shirt. That made all the papers, and the television, obviously; and here I was, 10 years old, walking around with a case full of AC/DC and Iron Maiden and Metallica [songs] – and all the parents and the teachers and the cops thought I was some kind of Satan worshipper. So that's the backdrop for that song." Brown also added that the song's sing-a-long chorus remains an act of defiance: "so when I sing: 'I'm just a teenage dirtbag', I'm effectively saying: 'Yeah, fuck you if you don't like it. Just because I like AC/DC doesn't mean I'm a devil worshipper, and you're an idiot.' That's where it comes from."[3]

In the same interview, regarding on the possible reasons for its continued success, Brown recalled his father's words: "Every teenager has to go through that 'being an outsider' thing, at least a little bit. So that story is still the same for people, even if it's thirty years after I went through it."[3]

The song is performed by Brown, including the segment in a high pitched falsetto voice. When the group arranged a joint tour with MC Frontalot, MC Frontalot contributed a nerdcore rap verse to the song, as did MC Lars.

Critical reception[edit]

Ayhan Sahin of Billboard magazine reviewed the song favorably, calling it a "gritty, on-the-edge track " and saying that its "keen melody, inventive production, and cool lyric about those who have felt like underlings during high school will entice listeners who prefer hanging out behind the gym with a smoke to Latin club." He went on to say that it "stands strongly on its own as an emphatic anthem and a song many teens will be proud to push hard from their car speakers."[4]

In June 2013, Australian radio station Triple J ranked "Teenage Dirtbag" as number 82 on their "Twenty years of Triple J's hottest 100".[5]

The song was ranked number 69 on the "Top 100 Greatest Pop Songs of All Time" countdown by British music channel The Hits.[citation needed]

Chart performance[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the song peaked at number 2, staying there for two weeks and kept off the top spot by Atomic Kitten's "Whole Again". It spent four weeks at number one in Australia and also topped the charts in Austria and Flanders. Despite being a huge success in the UK, Europe and Australia, it failed to chart on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking only at number 7 on the Alternative Songs chart.

In March 2011, the song returned to the UK Singles Chart at number 43 and climbed to number 35 the following week,[6] nearly 11 years after its initial release. Bigtop40.com suggested that this was due to a promotion on iTunes.[7] In April 2012, it re-entered the UK Singles Chart again, this time peaking at number 36; and then once again in March 2013, where it entered at number 46.

It has sold 5 million copies worldwide as of 2014.[2]

Music video[edit]

The video reuses clips from the film Loser (2000), to tell a different story from the film, based instead on the song lyrics. Jason Biggs plays a nerdy character and Mena Suvari is the love interest who unexpectedly invites the protagonist to an Iron Maiden concert. In some versions of the music video a large glitter ball falls from the ceiling and strikes him on the head. He wakes up having fallen asleep while doing his homework, revealing his brief romance with Suvari to have been all a dream.

Track listing[edit]

US CD single
  1. "Teenage Dirtbag" (Clean Single Version) – 4:17
  2. "I'd Never Write A Song About You" – 3:38
  3. "Pretty Girl" – 4:29
European CD single
  1. "Teenage Dirtbag" (Explicit Album Version) – 4:01
  2. "I'd Never Write A Song About You" – 3:38
  3. "Sunshine" (Remix) – 2:52
French CD single
  1. "Teenage Dirtbag" (Explicit Album Version) – 4:01
  2. "I'd Never Write A Song About You" – 3:38
UK CD single
  1. "Teenage Dirtbag" (Explicit Album Version) - 4:01
  2. "I'd Never Write A Song About You" - 3:38
  3. "Hey Mr Brown" (With Club Audience) - 2:22
  4. "Teenage Dirtbag" (Video)

In popular culture[edit]

Alterations[edit]

The second verse of the song originally began with, "Her boyfriend's a dick/He brings a gun to school". Radio edits usually omitted the word "dick" or edit it so that it sounds like the less offensive "prick", but most modern versions of the song have the words "brings a gun to school" covered by scratching sounds. Some versions also edit the lines "And he'd simply kick/My ass if he knew the truth", to remove the word "ass".

When asked why "gun" is frequently censored, Brown stated that it is because the day he presented the song to the band's record label was around the time of the first anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre.[12]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2000–01) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[13] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[14] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[15] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[16] 3
Denmark (Tracklisten)[17] 6
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[18] 9
France (SNEP)[19] 62
Germany (Official German Charts)[20] 2
Ireland (IRMA)[21] 2
Italy (FIMI)[22] 38
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[23] 27
Norway (VG-lista)[24] 6
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[25] 2
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[26] 2
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[27] 3
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[28] 2
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[29] 7
Chart (2011) Peak
position
Ireland (IRMA) 35
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[30] 35
Chart (2012) Peak
position
Ireland (IRMA)[31] 29
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[32] 36
Chart (2013) position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[33] 46

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2000) Position
Australia (ARIA)[34] 2
Chart (2001) Position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[35] 9

Decade-end charts[edit]

Chart (2000–2009) Position
Australia (ARIA)[36] 17
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[37] 42

All-time charts[edit]

Chart Position
Australia (ARIA)[38] 36

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[39] 3× Platinum 210,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[40] Platinum 685,000[41]

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Preceded by
"Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)" by Spiller
Australian ARIA Singles Chart number-one single (first run)
November 19, 2000
Succeeded by
"Who Let the Dogs Out?" by Baha Men
Preceded by
"Who Let the Dogs Out?" by Baha Men
Australian ARIA Singles Chart number-one single (second run)
December 24, 2000 - January 7, 2001
Succeeded by
"Cruisin'" by Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis

References[edit]

  1. ^ "British single certifications – Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Teenage Dirtbag in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  2. ^ a b Ellis, Dawn (September 5, 2014). "INTERVIEW: Wheatus frontman Brendan B Brown talks tour news, One Direction and Teenage Dirtbag". Torquay Herald Express. Retrieved December 25, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Lin, Sharona (August 9, 2012). "Wheatus - Tone Deaf". Tone Deaf. Retrieved December 25, 2015. 
  4. ^ Billboard, July 8, 2000 - Vol. 112, No. 28, Page 22.
  5. ^ "Countdown | Twenty Years of triple j's Hottest 100 | triple j". Abc.net.au. 2013-04-18. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  6. ^ "Radio 1 - Charts - The Official UK Top 40 Singles Chart". BBC. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  7. ^ "Wheatus land in the iTunes chart". Big Top 40. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  8. ^ Modell, Josh (29 July 2014). "Tokyo Police Club covers Wheatus". The A.V. Club. Onion, Inc. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  9. ^ "One Direction Launch 'Take Me Home' World Tour With Two Sold-Out Shows In London". Capital FM. Global Radio. 24 February 2013. Archived from the original on 28 February 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  10. ^ One Direction: This Is Us. Dir. Morgan Spurlock. Perf. Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson. TriStar Pictures, 2013. Film.
  11. ^ http://www.tvadmusic.co.uk/2016/01/match-love-your-imperfections-2016/
  12. ^ ‹See TfD›"@vuIplx: why is gun blocked in teenage dirtbag & not ass @wheatus @god @jesus @barackobama" Columbine 1 yr anniv. the week I gave 2 Sony. Brendan B. Brown on Twitter. December 12, 2014. Retrieved December 25, 2015.
  13. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  14. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  15. ^ "Ultratop.be – Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  16. ^ "Ultratop.be – Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  17. ^ "Danishcharts.com – Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag". Tracklisten.
  18. ^ "Wheatus: Teenage Dirtbag" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  19. ^ "Lescharts.com – Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag" (in French). Les classement single.
  20. ^ "Musicline.de – Wheatus Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  21. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Teenage Dirtbag". Irish Singles Chart.
  22. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag". Top Digital Download.
  23. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag". Top 40 Singles.
  24. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag". VG-lista.
  25. ^ "Archive Chart: 2001-02-11". Scottish Singles Top 40.
  26. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag". Singles Top 100.
  27. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag". Swiss Singles Chart.
  28. ^ "Archive Chart: 2001-02-11" UK Singles Chart.
  29. ^ "Wheatus – Chart history" Billboard Alternative Songs for Wheatus.
  30. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". 
  31. ^ "Chart Track: Week 15, 2012". Irish Singles Chart.
  32. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". 
  33. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". 
  34. ^ "ARIA Charts – End of Year Charts – Top 100 Singles 2000". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved December 25, 2015. 
  35. ^ "2001 UK Singles Chart" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved May 26, 2015. 
  36. ^ "ARIA's End Of Decade Charts" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. 2010-01-07. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  37. ^ Radio 1 Official Chart of the Decade, as broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on December 29, 2009, presented by DJ Nihal
  38. ^ "BEST OF ALL TIME - SINGLES". Retrieved 2016-03-15. 
  39. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2001 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  40. ^ "British single certifications – Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Teenage Dirtbag in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  41. ^ "Kerrang - Biggest Selling Rock Hits of the 21st Century". Kerrang!. July 7, 2011. Retrieved December 25, 2015. 

External links[edit]