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"Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" is a song by the Canadian folk rock group Crash Test Dummies, It was released on October 1, 1993 as the lead single from their second album, God Shuffled His Feet. Despite receiving mostly negative reviews from critics, it was very successful around the world, peaking at number one in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart. It also became a top-five hit on both the UK Singles Chart and the all-genre US Billboard Hot 100, but in the band's native Canada, it stalled at number 14 on the RPM Top Singles chart.

"Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"
Mmm mmm singlecover.jpg
Single by Crash Test Dummies
from the album God Shuffled His Feet
ReleasedOctober 1, 1993
FormatCD single
Recorded1993 (Music Head Recording in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin)
GenreAlternative rock,[1] folk rock
Length3:55
LabelBMG/Arista
Songwriter(s)Brad Roberts
Producer(s)Jerry Harrison, Crash Test Dummies
Crash Test Dummies singles chronology
"The First Noel"
(1992)
"Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"
(1993)
"Swimming in Your Ocean"
(1994)
Audio sample
Crash Test Dummies – "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"

ContentEdit

Each verse describes the isolation and suffering of a child, two of whom have a physical abnormality. In the first verse, a boy is injured in a car accident and misses school for an extended period; when he returns to class, his hair has changed color from black to bright white. In the second verse, a girl refuses to change clothes in the presence of other girls due to the birthmarks that cover her body. The third child is a boy whose parents make him come directly home after school; during services at their church, they "shake and lurch" across the floor. During a 2010 live performance for the Dutch radio station Kink FM, Brad Roberts whispered "Pentecostal" during the third verse, suggesting this is the denomination of the church.[2]

An alternative version sometimes performed at live concerts replaced the third verse with one concerning a boy whose mother disposed of his tonsils after a tonsillectomy, thus depriving him of the possibility of bringing them to show and tell.[3]

Music videoEdit

The music video was directed by Dale Heslip and premiered in October 1993.[4] It sets the song's lyrics as the script for a series of one-act plays performed by schoolchildren. Throughout, the scenes of the performance are intercut with scenes of the Crash Test Dummies performing the song at stage side.

All three one-act plays included nicknames for their lead characters, to provide Heslip with easy references:

  1. The first featured a kid nicknamed "Whitey"
  2. The second pitted "Blotchy" against "Bratty Kids", whom Heslip thought lived up to their nickname; Blotchy's marks are covered with a long cape she wears throughout, whereas the "Bratty Kids" wear deerstalker hats and carry magnifying glasses
  3. The third had, as its focus, a "Reluctant Boy"

These nicknames were all revealed in an installment of Pop-Up Video.[episode needed] The same installment also revealed that Brad Roberts had decided to hum, rather than actually sing, the refrain of "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" because humming the refrain sounded more resigned to him and that he never wrote lyrics for it.

ReceptionEdit

Although highly successful when it was released, "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" has since been frequently included on lists of bad songs. The song was number 15 on VH1's 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever, named by Rolling Stone as the "15th Most Annoying Song",[5] and ranked at number 31 both on Blender's list of the "50 Worst Songs Ever."[6] Contrasting, VH1 named "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" as the 31st greatest one-hit wonder of the 1990s in 2011.[7]

In a 1994 essay in which he makes the case that modern life is better than life in the past, humorist P.J. O'Rourke writes, "Even the bad things are better than they used to be. Bad music, for instance, has gotten much briefer. Wagner's Ring Cycle takes four days to perform while 'Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm' by the Crash Test Dummies lasts little more than three minutes."[8]

The track received a nomination for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, which it lost to "I Swear" by All-4-One.[9]

In 1994, "Weird Al" Yankovic parodied the song as the lead-off single for his compilation box set Permanent Record: Al in the Box after his record label insisted he record a new song to promote it. The parody, titled "Headline News," combined the music of the original song with new lyrics about three popular news stories from the preceding months. He also produced and starred in a nearly frame-for-frame parody of the original song's music video, featuring several celebrities as actors.

Chart performanceEdit

Outside their home country of Canada, the single became the band's most successful song, reaching number four in the United States and number two in the United Kingdom—the group's biggest hit in both countries. It also reached number one on the Modern Rock Chart in the United States and in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

While the Crash Test Dummies had six singles reach the Canadian top ten, "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" was not one of them. In Canada, the single stalled at number 14.

Track listingsEdit

CD maxi

  1. "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" – 3:53
  2. "Here I Stand Before Me" – 3:07
  3. "Superman's Song" (live from the US public radio program Mountain Stage)

7" single

  1. "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" – 3:53
  2. "Here I Stand Before Me" – 3:07

US single

  1. "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" – 3:53
  2. "Superman's Song" (album version) – 4:31
  3. "How Does a Duck Know?" – 3:42

Cassette single Features cardboard picture liner

  1. "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"
  2. "Here I Stand Before Me"

ChartsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[49] Platinum 70,000^
Germany (BVMI)[50] Gold 250,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[51] Platinum 10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[52] Silver 200,000^
United States (RIAA)[54] Gold 700,000[53]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2013-05-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "The band did not receive much international recognition until the 1993 release of their second album, God Shuffled His Feet. Particularly instrumental in increasing the band's exposure in the American market was the appearance of a new type of radio format, adult album-oriented alternative rock (AAA). These stations put the first single "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" in high rotation and the song peaked at No. 4 in the US Hot 100."
  2. ^ KINK Radio (4 June 2010). "Crash Test Dummies - "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"". Archived from the original on 29 May 2016 – via YouTube.
  3. ^ Does Brad Roberts sometimes change the words to Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm? at the Crash Test Dummies FAQ Archived 2010-08-08 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Crash Test Dummies Mmm mmm mmm mmm Archived 2010-02-10 at the Wayback Machine mvdbase.com
  5. ^ "The 20 Most Annoying Songs : Rolling Stone". Archived from the original on 2014-03-31.
  6. ^ The 50 Worst Songs Ever! Watch, Listen and Cringe! from Blender.com (Retrieved May 3, 2008) Archived December 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "VH1's 40 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the '90s -". toponehitwonders.com. Archived from the original on 2016-11-15.
  8. ^ O'Rourke, P.J. (1994), All the trouble in the world. The lighter side of famine, pestilence, destruction and death. Sydney (Picador), 3–4
  9. ^ 37th Grammy Awards – 1995 from RockOnTheNet.com (Retrieved February 18, 2010) Archived December 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  11. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  12. ^ "Ultratop.be – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2326." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  14. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 2335." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  15. ^ "Hits of the World: Denmark (IFPI/Nielsen Marketing Research) 07/09/94". Billboard. 106 (28): 43. 9 July 1994. ISSN 0006-2510.
  16. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-951-31-2503-5.
  17. ^ "Lescharts.com – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (in French). Les classement single.
  18. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  19. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (28.04.1994 - 04.05.1994)" (PDF). Dagblaðið Vísir - Tónlist. Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  20. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  21. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 22, 1994" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
  22. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  23. ^ "Charts.nz – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". Top 40 Singles.
  24. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". VG-lista.
  25. ^ "Notowanie nr639" (in Polish). LP3. May 13, 1994. Retrieved February 26, 2019. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  26. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  27. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". Singles Top 100.
  28. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". Swiss Singles Chart.
  29. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  30. ^ "Crash Test Dummies Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  31. ^ "Crash Test Dummies Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  32. ^ "Crash Test Dummies Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  33. ^ "Crash Test Dummies Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  34. ^ "The RPM Top 100 A/C Tracks of 1993". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  35. ^ "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 50 Singles 1994". ARIA. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  36. ^ "Jahreshitparade Singles 1994" (in German). Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  37. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1994" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  38. ^ "RPM Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1994". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  39. ^ "RPM Top 100 AC Tracks of 1994". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  40. ^ "Classement Singles - année 1994" (in French). Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  41. ^ "Top 100 Singles - Jahrescharts 1994" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  42. ^ "Single top 100 over 1994" (pdf) (in Dutch). Top40. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 6, 2011. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  43. ^ "Jaaroverzichten - Single 1994" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  44. ^ "End Of Year Charts 1994". Recorded Music NZaccessdate=March 31, 2019.
  45. ^ "Årslista Singlar – År 1994" (in Swedish). Topplistan. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  46. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1994" (in German). Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  47. ^ "Top 100 Singles 1994". Music Week. January 14, 1995. p. 9.
  48. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1994". Archived from the original on March 1, 2009. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  49. ^ "1994 ARIA Singles Chart". ARIA. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  50. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Crash Test Dummies; 'Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  51. ^ "Norwegian single certifications – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway.
  52. ^ "British single certifications – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Mmm Mmm Mmm in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  53. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1994". Billboard. 107 (3): 57. January 21, 1995. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  54. ^ "American single certifications – Crash Test Dummies – Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External linksEdit