Utopia (Kerli EP)
|EP by Kerli|
|Released||March 19, 2013|
|Label||Island Def Jam|
|Singles from Utopia|
Utopia is the second extended play (EP) by Estonian recording artist and songwriter Kerli. It was released on March 19, 2013 by The Island Def Jam Music Group. The album was produced in the five years following the release of Kerli's debut album Love Is Dead (2008) and was originally intended as Kerli's second studio album. The songs from the EP feature an overall positive message and a heavily electronic dance-influenced sound (a stark contrast from Love Is Dead) and feature production by Swedish production duo SeventyEight as well as English producer and DJ Switch.
Two songs that were written for the album, "Army of Love" and "Zero Gravity", were released as promotional singles in 2010 and 2012 respectively prior to release of the EP's lead single in 2013 titled "The Lucky Ones". Two other songs intended for the album (which were written by Kerli, Toby Gad, and Lindy Robbins) titled "I Feel Immortal" and "Skyscraper" were recorded by artists Tarja Turunen and Demi Lovato for their albums What Lies Beneath (2010) and Unbroken (2011) respectively, the latter song peaking at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100. Although Kerli's version of "Skyscraper" was never officially released, her version of "I Feel Immortal" titled "Immortal" was released on Frankenweenie Unleashed! in 2012 and the demo version of "Skyscraper" sung by Kerli leaked online the same year. "Zero Gravity", "Army of Love", and "The Lucky Ones" all charted in the top ten of Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs chart, the last two peaking at number one. Utopia peaked at number 196 on the Billboard 200 for the week of April 6.
In describing Utopia, Kerli said it was "about [her] search for love and happiness" and that she underwent a "huge transformation personally" while writing it. She also noted the contrast between Love Is Dead's darker, more rock-influenced sound and Utopia's more uplifting and electronic dance-influenced sound, which she analogized as "sweaty angels raving in the desert."
According to Kerli, the first track of the album, "Can't Control the Kids", is about "the power that kids these days have because of technology and internet" and that "everyone with a laptop can make something amazing and share it with the rest of the world. Everyone can have a voice" and that it was that "kind of rebellious and badass energy [she] was trying to channel." The following song, "The Lucky Ones", was written after a friend's cancer scarce after which she said they had been "given a second chance". Both of these tracks are electronic dance medleys produced by Svante Halldin and Jakob Hazell (SeventyEight), the following track, also produced by SeventyEight, is the piano-driven ballad "Love Me or Leave Me", which Kerli released as the iTunes Store's "countdown single" on March 5. The next track, "Sugar", is a simple electronic track with acoustic elements produced by English producer and DJ Switch characterized by breathy vocals and repeated moaning from Kerli. "Here and Now", the following track, is another EDM song produced by SeventyEight, and features a more progressive house influence. The album's final track, "Chemical", is a softer piano ballad written solely by Kerli and produced by Brian Ziff.
Promotion for Utopia was poor; it began with a club tour where the album's lead single "The Lucky Ones" and the previous promotional singles "Zero Gravity" and "Army of Love" were performed. Kerli made her American television debut on April 17, 2013 on Dancing with the Stars; Vibe called the performance a "major milestone in the [electronic dance music] world."
|1.||"Can't Control the Kids"||SeventyEight||3:08|
|2.||"The Lucky Ones"||
|3.||"Love Me or Leave Me"||
|5.||"Here and Now"||
|7.||"The Lucky Ones" (Syn Cole Remix)||
Upon release, Utopia received positive reviews from music critics. David Jeffries of AllMusic said perhaps the extra material would help explain the dance diva's evolution from gothic to grand dame, but she's just as persuasive here with this more positive material, especially during the you-only-live-once dance anthem "The Lucky Ones".
Awards and nominations
|2014||Utopia||Estonian Music Award for Best Female Album||Nominated|
|Estonian Music Award for Best Pop Album||Nominated|
Credits and personnel
Credits adapted from the Utopia liner notes.
- Kerli – background and lead vocals, songwriter (1,2,3,4,5,6), producer (6)
- Carl Bagge – string arranger (3)
- Claudia Bonfiglioli – strings (3)
- Erik Holm – strings (3)
- Tomas Lundström – strings (3)
- SeventyEight – drums, keyboards, songwriter, producer (1,2,3,5)
- Switch – mixer, producer, songwriter (4)
- Fredrik Syberg – strings (3)
- Phil Tan – mixer (1,2,3,5)
- Danny Taylor – songwriter (4)
- Brian Ziff – keyboards, producer (6)
|US Billboard 200||196|
|US Top Dance/Electronic Albums (Billboard)||9|
|US Top Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)||7|
- "Demi Lovato Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
- "Kerli Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
- LifeMinute.tv (January 27, 2013). "Kerli Discusses Her New EP Utopia". AOL On. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
- "Premiere: Listen to Kerli's "Can't Control the Kids"". PureVolume. Retrieved March 17, 2013.
- "Kerli Live Session and Chat". Livestream. January 18, 2013. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
- "Kerli "Utopia" | "Chemical" (Song Premiere)". Ultimate Music. March 11, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
- "Songwriter/Composer: Taylor David". Broadcast Music, Inc. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
- "Chemical (Legal Title)". Broadcast Music, Inc. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
- Shau, Natalie. "Utopia original artwork". DeviantArt. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
- Vibe. "Major Milestone in the #EDM world; @KerliMusic to be the 1st Electronic artist to perform on 'Dancing With The Stars'". Twitter. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
- "Utopia - Kerli: Songs, Reviews, Credits and Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
- "Estonian Music Awards' Winners - 2014" (in Estonian). Retrieved February 3, 2014.
- Utopia. The Island Def Jam Music Group. 2013.
- "Kerli – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Kerli. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Kerli – Chart history" Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums for Kerli. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Kerli – Chart history" Billboard Top Heatseekers Albums for Kerli. Retrieved 6 April 2013.