"What I Am" is a song written by Edie Brickell and Kenny Withrow and recorded by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians for their debut album, Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars (1988). The song is highlighted by a guitar solo that notably features an envelope filter. It peaked at number seven on the US Billboard Hot 100, topped the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart, and became a top-twenty hit in Australia and New Zealand. "What I Am" was ranked number 23 on VH1's list of the "100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s".[2]

"What I Am"
Edie Brickell - What I Am 7-inch.gif
Single by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
from the album Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars
B-side
ReleasedNovember 1988[1]
StudioRockfield (Wales, UK)
Length3:40
LabelGeffen
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Pat Moran
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians singles chronology
"What I Am"
(1988)
"Circle"
(1988)
Music video
"What I Am" on YouTube

English music duo Tin Tin Out collaborated with Spice Girl Emma Bunton to release a cover of "What I Am" in November 1999. This version became the more successful one in the UK, peaking at number two on the UK Singles Chart and receiving a Silver certification from the British Phonographic Industry.

CompositionEdit

"What I Am" is written in the key of B minor in 4
4
time
with a tempo of 89 beats per minute. The song follows a chord progression of Bsus2–Dsus2–Asus2, and the vocals span from G3 to B4.[3][4]

Critical receptionEdit

Betty Page from Record Mirror wrote, "Like so many other singles this week, this is pleasantly quirky but not terribly inspiring. Edie's yet another female singer/songstress who sings and strums a guitar in a rustic fashion which makes you forget what the song sounds like before it's finished."[5]

Formats and track listingsEdit

7-inch single / cassette single

Side A:

  1. "What I Am" – 4:56

Side B:

  1. "I Do" – 2:00

12-inch single / 3-inch CD single

  1. "What I Am" – 4:56
  2. "I Do" – 2:00
  3. "Walk on the Wild Side" – 5:52

ChartsEdit

Tin Tin Out and Emma Bunton versionEdit

"What I Am"
 
Single by Tin Tin Out and Emma Bunton
from the album Eleven to Fly
B-side"Weird (Save Yourself)"
ReleasedNovember 1, 1999 (1999-11-01)[19]
RecordedJune 1999
StudioSarm West (London)
Length3:54
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Tin Tin Out
Tin Tin Out singles chronology
"Eleven to Fly"
(1999)
"What I Am"
(1999)
"Anybody's Guess"
(2000)
Emma Bunton singles chronology
"What I Am"
(1999)
"What Took You So Long?"
(2001)
Audio sample
Music video
"What I Am" on YouTube

The song was covered by English electronic music duo Tin Tin Out and English singer Emma Bunton. It was released on November 1, 1999, as the second single from Tin Tin Out's second studio album, Eleven to Fly (1999). It also appeared on Bunton's debut solo album, A Girl Like Me (2001). Bunton recorded her vocals at London's Sarm West Studios in June 1999.[20]

Tin Tin Out and Bunton's version debuted and peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart, 29 places higher than the original version 10 years previously. It sold 106,300 copies during its first week of release and has sold over 234,000 copies in the UK.[21] "What I Am" was the UK's 88th-best-selling single of 1999.

Track listingsEdit

Standard CD single and UK cassette single[22][23]

  1. "What I Am" (radio version)
  2. "What I Am" (Gangstarr remix)
  3. "Weird (Save Yourself)" (featuring Wendy Page)

European CD single[24]

  1. "What I Am" (radio version)
  2. "What I Am" (Gangstarr remix)

PersonnelEdit

Credits are taken from the CD single liner notes.[22]

ChartsEdit

Certifications and salesEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[19] Silver 234,000[21]

SamplingEdit

In popular cultureEdit

Brickell's version of "What I Am" was featured in a 1989 episode of Miami Vice, an episode of Beavis and Butt-head, an episode of Girls, as well as an episode of Doogie Howser, M.D. and in the 1989 Patrick Dempsey film Loverboy.[37]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Strong, M. C. (1995). The Great Rock Discography. Edinburgh: Canongate Books Ltd. p. 90. ISBN 0-86241-385-0.
  2. ^ Ali, Rahsheeda (May 2, 2013). "100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the '80s". VH1. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  3. ^ Aly, Brandon. "Edie Brickell & New Bohemians "What I Am" Guitar Tab in D Major - Download & Print". Musicnotes.com. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  4. ^ "What I Am - Edie Brickell & New Bohemians - Spot On Track". www.spotontrack.com. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  5. ^ Page, Betty (January 28, 1989). "45". Record Mirror. p. 29. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  6. ^ "Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – What I Am". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  7. ^ "RPM 100 Singles – March 11, 1989" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 49 no. 19. March 11, 1989. p. 6. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  8. ^ "RPM 30 Retail Singles – March 11, 1989" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 49 no. 19. March 11, 1989. p. 14. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  9. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 6 no. 10. March 11, 1989. p. 25. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  10. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Edie Brickell". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  11. ^ "Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – What I Am". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  12. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  13. ^ "Edie Brickell Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  14. ^ "Edie Brickell Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  15. ^ "Edie Brickell Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  16. ^ "Edie Brickell Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  17. ^ "Top 100 Singles of '89". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  18. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1989". Billboardtop100of.com. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  19. ^ a b "British single certifications – Tin Tin Out ft Emma B – What I Am". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  20. ^ "News". Music Week. June 19, 1999. p. 3. Spice Girl Emma Bunton last week recorded vocals for a track by label-mates Tin Tin Out at Sarm West Studio.
  21. ^ a b White, Jack (January 21, 2020). "Emma Bunton's Official Top 10 biggest songs in the UK". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  22. ^ a b What I Am (UK, Australian, Malaysian & Taiwanese CD single liner notes). Tin Tin Out. VC Recordings, Virgin Records. 1999. VCRD53, 7243 8 96383 2 5.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  23. ^ What I Am (UK cassette single sleeve). Tin Tin Out. VC Recordings, Virgin Records. 1999. VCRC53, 7243 8 96383 4 9.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  24. ^ What I Am (European CD single liner notes). Tin Tin Out. VC Recordings, Virgin Records. 1999. VCRDE53, 7243 8 96393 2 2.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  25. ^ "ariaNET The Chart! Top 100 Singles – Week Commencing 24th January 2000". ARIA. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
  26. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 16 no. 47. November 20, 1999. p. 19. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  27. ^ "Tin Tin Out feat. Emma Bunton – What I Am" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  28. ^ "Tin Tin Out feat. Emma Bunton – What I Am" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  29. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 20 (23.12 – 13.12 1999)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). December 31, 1999. p. 10. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  30. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Tin Tin Out featuring Emma Bunton". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  31. ^ "Tin Tin Out feat. Emma Bunton – What I Am" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  32. ^ "Emma Bunton – What I Am". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  33. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  34. ^ "Tin Tin Out feat. Emma Bunton – What I Am". Singles Top 100. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  35. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  36. ^ "Best Sellers of 1999: Singles Top 100". Music Week. London, England: United Business Media. January 22, 2000. p. 27.
  37. ^ Edie Brickell at IMDb