When I Grow Up (Garbage song)

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"When I Grow Up"
Single by Garbage
from the album Version 2.0
Released January 25, 1999
Format 12", 3" CD single,
CD maxi, cassette single
Recorded March 1997 – February 1998
Smart Studios,
Madison, Wisconsin
Genre Alternative rock,[1] power pop[2]
Length 3:24
Label Mushroom Records UK
Almo Sounds (North America)
Songwriter(s) Garbage
Producer(s) Garbage
Garbage singles chronology
"When I Grow Up"
"The Trick Is to Keep Breathing"
Alternative cover
UK CD2 cover-art
UK CD2 cover-art

"When I Grow Up" is a 1998 song written, recorded and produced by alternative rock band Garbage. The song was released as the fourth international single to be taken from the band's multi-platinum second album Version 2.0 over the course of the following year.

"When I Grow Up" served as a simultaneous single release with album cut "The Trick Is to Keep Breathing" which was released in its place in a few European territories such as Germany, Austria, Italy, Portugal and Greece.[3] "When I Grow Up" proved to be a Top Ten hit for the band in both United Kingdom[4] and Spain where the single charted very strongly.[5] In North America, after initially impacting the band's core alternative fanbase, "When I Grow Up" served as one of two songs released from the soundtrack to the comedy film Big Daddy (the other being Sheryl Crow's cover version of "Sweet Child O' Mine"). The song performed moderately well on the alternative[6] and dance charts.[7]

"When I Grow Up" was remastered in 2007 for Garbage's greatest hits album Absolute Garbage.[8]


"When I Grow Up" was written and recorded at Smart Studios during the 1997 sessions for Version 2.0. Bass on "When I Grow Up" was performed by Daniel Shulman.

Lyrically, Manson described "When I Grow Up" as being about "that delirious state of wishing and hoping and dreaming for things, not giving up. There's a great quote by Flaubert where he says, 'Sometimes the forces of the world hold us back for a while, but not for ever' ... ".[9] Manson stated that despite the song dealing with growing up, it actually questions whether adulthood brings maturity − "Even though you're sussed and you're smart and you've worked it all out, you haven't even got the remotest inkling of what it's all about. And you can never hope to"[10] − and mocks those who feel that way; "I'm constantly patronised by people who think they're really mature and have their life in order and are really together. That's so small minded."[11]

Single release[edit]

"When I Grow Up" was released to UK radio stations at the end of 1998 and was A-listed at Radio One, Atlantic 252, XFM and GLR, B-listed at Virgin and playlisted at a further sixty-eight regional radio stations. KISS FM also playlisted the Danny Tenaglia remix.[12] The music video was placed on heavy rotation by both MTV (who sponsored the upcoming tour) and The Box.[12] Import copies of "When I Grow Up" from Europe were sold in a few UK record stores, leading the single to chart early at No. 198 on the UK Singles Chart[13] as the band's arena tour kicked off in Ireland and then routed into the United Kingdom. Supported by the tour and airplay for the single, Version 2.0 climbed back into the top forty of the UK Album Chart.[14] Mushroom Records issued "When I Grow Up" on January 25 as a 2×CD single set and a cassette single. The first CD and the cassette was backed with "Can't Seem to Make You Mine"; the CD also included the Danny Tenaglia remix. The second CD single included "Tornado" and the Rickedy Raw version of "Special".[15] After a week on sale, "When I Grow Up" debuted at No. 28 on the Irish Singles Chart,[16] and officially debuted at No. 9 on the UK Singles Chart.[4] This was the band's fifth UK top ten hit.[17] At the end of January, Garbage performed "When I Grow Up" on Friday Night's All Wright, Top of The Pops and Pepsi Chart Show[12] The single received strong radio play, and peaked at No. 7 in Ireland[3] and at No. 17 in the UK.[18] On February 1, the fourth of a series of limited edition 3" CD Garbage singles, this edition for "When I Grow Up", was issued.[15] The same week, the resurgent Version 2.0 album hit #12.[19] "When I Grow Up" ultimately spent seven weeks in the Top 75.[17]

"When I Grow Up" was released in North America as Garbage were at the end of a two-month arena tour around the United States opening for Alanis Morissette.[20] A month prior, the Danny Tenaglia remixes had reached nightclubs around the country on import from Europe achieving Hot Dance Breakout status.[21] "When I Grow Up" subsequently debuted on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart at #47.[22] By the end of March, third Version 2.0 single "Special" had just taken off at Top 40 radio, and the song thereafter started climbing the Billboard Hot 100.[23] "Special" had already peaked on the alternative radio format at the end of January,[24] and was about to end its chart run after six months of alternative airplay.[25] On March 20, Garbage performed both "Special" and "When I Grow Up" on Saturday Night Live.[26] Almo Sounds serviced "When I Grow Up" to alternative rock radio in the United States on April 12.[27] The song debuted at No. 40 a week after "Special" left the alternative charts.[28]

"Special" peaked at Top 40 at the start of May[29] and on the Hot 100[30] and Hot 100 Airplay charts in mid-May.[31] The same week, "When I Grow Up" peaked at No. 4 on the Club Play chart;[7] and by the first week of June, reached a high of No. 23 in its sixth showing on the Modern Rock chart.[6] Around this time, "When I Grow Up" was licensed to the soundtrack of the upcoming Adam Sandler-vehicle Big Daddy. To help promote the movie release, Almo, in partnership with Sony's C2 Records, serviced two new pop radio edits of "When I Grow Up" to Top 40 radio on June 15.[32] A week later, as Almo released a 12" vinyl featuring the Danny Tenaglia mix of "When I Grow Up" and a Brothers In Rhythm mix of "Special" to record stores,[33] a new version of the music video featuring shots from the film premiered on MTV[34] and VH1.[35] Big Daddy opened in North America the weekend of June 25, and debuted at No. 1 with a box office take of almost $42 million.[36] After dropping for two weeks, "When I Grow Up" stabilized at No. 24 for a fortnight[37] before leaving the Modern Rock chart at the start of August.[38] "When I Grow Up" had spent a total of fifteen weeks on the alternative charts[38] and fourteen on the dance charts (where it exited at the end of June).[39]

"When I Grow Up" was released by Festival Mushroom in New Zealand in mid-July on CD (featuring "Can't Seem to Make You Mine", "Tornado" and the Danny tenaglia remix) and cassette single (featuring only the remix). The single debuted on the RIANZ Singles Chart as the second highest new entry at No. 27 at the end of the month.[40] "When I Grow Up" peaked at No. 24 two weeks later.[41] The single stayed on the charts for seven weeks before recharting at No. 42 at the end of September.[41] Version 2.0 charted in New Zealand for the first time since May on the RIANZ Album chart in mid-September, reaching #26,[42] the same week that Version 2.0 tour reached the country.[43]

In Australia, Festival Mushroom launched a two-week national advertising campaign on Channel Ten to promote the single and the planned limited edition album repackage (Version 2.0 Special Live Edition) which featured a bonus disc of four tracks recorded live at the Roskilde Festival.[44] "When I Grow Up" was released by Festival Mushroom as a CD single on August 2, and debuted the following week as the second highest new entry at No. 22 on the ARIA Charts. The same week, Version 2.0 re-entered the ARIA Albums Chart for the first time in a year.[45] Big Daddy was released to cinemas across Australia on September 16,[46] while Garbage visited the country to perform at Brisbane's Livid Festival and co-headline a tour with Alanis Morissette the following month.[47] On October 9, Garbage appeared on Hey Hey It's Saturday to perform the single.[32] "When I Grow Up" moved back up the charts to No. 25 by the end of the month,[48] while the Version 2.0 album surged up to #8.[45] "When I Grow Up" eventually dropped off the ARIA chart when Garbage released follow-up single "You Look So Fine" on December 6.[49] That single did not make the chart.[50] "When I Grow Up" reappeared at No. 47 at the end of the month and charted for a final time in mid-January 2000, having clocked up a total of twenty-one weeks.[48] "When I Grow Up" became Garbage's most successful single release in Australia at that point in their career.[49]

Following the success of Garbage's James Bond theme "The World Is Not Enough" in Germany (where it reached #38)[51] and across Europe, BMG Ariola followed up by issuing "When I Grow Up" as the sixth German single from Version 2.0 on March 6, 2000.[52]

Track listings[edit]

Music video[edit]

Vocalist Shirley Manson and bassist Daniel Shulman performing "When I Grow Up" onstage in the music video.

The original "When I Grow Up" music video documented the frenzy of a Version 2.0 tour concert. director Sophie Muller shot footage over the course of four Garbage shows over November 17–21, 1998 in Indianapolis, Indiana, St. Louis, Missouri, Kansas City, Kansas, and Madison, Wisconsin during the band's North American tour.[53] At all of the concerts, the band performed "When I Grow Up" twice, once in the main set and a second time as an encore, to provide enough footage for Muller to utilise.[54] Footage for the music video for "The Trick Is to Keep Breathing" was also filmed by Muller on the same nights. Unlike the special effects-laden videos for their previous three singles, "When I Grow Up" was intended to focus on the performance side of the band.[53] Both videos were ready to air by December 3, 1998 and was broadcast in support of the single releases in United Kingdom, Europe and Australia.

A remastered version of the "When I Grow Up" video was included on Garbage's 2007 greatest hits DVD Absolute Garbage.[8]

A second music video was directed by Muller in London at the start of June 1999.[55] It was filmed on a stage set backed by lighted replicas of the bands G, Version 2.0 globe and "When I Grow Up" thought balloon logos. Three sequences within the video featured Manson performing choreographed dance moves with two dancers. The second video was filmed to promote Big Daddy in North America; a second edit of the video incorporated footage from the movie. The video premiered on MTV's Total Request Live[34] and VH1 on June 21, 1999.[35]

The edit of "When I Grow Up" that incorporated footage from the movie was included as a bonus feature on the 2000 Big Daddy DVD.[56]

Alternate versions[edit]

Track title Length Remixer/Producer
"When I Grow Up" (Alt Pop mix) 3:22 Garbage
"When I Grow Up" (Pop mix main) 3:22
"When I Grow Up" (Danny Tenaglia's Club mix) 9:58 Danny Tenaglia
"When I Grow Up" (Danny Tenaglia's Club mix) 12" version 11:08
"When I Grow Up" (Danny Tenaglia's Club mix (radio edit)) 3:59
"When I Grow Up" (Danny Tenaglia's Golden Shower dub) 9:23
"When I Grow Up" (Shirlapella) 2:26

Critical reception[edit]

"When I Grow Up" experienced a mostly positive response from music journalists upon the impact of Version 2.0 and at its own single release. In reviews for Billboard, Chuck Taylor wrote that the song was "edgier, more daring, and lots more fun than the average pop hit",[57] and later described the Pop Mix as "an artful slice of bubblegum".[58] Michael Paolettea wrote of the Danny Tenaglia remixes, "with a rubbery bassline, squiggly synth patterns and "Plastic Dreams" inspired drum programming... the song now travels down a road less rocky, but no less energetic".[59]

Release history[edit]

Release date Territory Record label Format(s)
Jan 11, 1999 Europe BMG CD maxi, CD single
Jan 25, 1999 United Kingdom Mushroom Records UK 2×CD single set, cassette single
Feb 1, 1999 3" CD single
Apr 12, 1999 United States Almo Sounds Airplay: Modern rock
Jun 15, 1999 Almo Sounds / C2 Records Airplay: CHR/Top 40
June 22, 1999 Almo Sounds 12" vinyl
July 1999 New Zealand Festival Mushroom Records CD maxi, cassette single
Aug 2, 1998 Australia CD maxi
Mar 6, 2000 Germany BMG Ariola CD maxi

Comprehensive charts[edit]


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External links[edit]