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One Week (song)

"One Week (song)"
Single by Barenaked Ladies
from the album Stunt
Released September 22, 1998 (1998-09-22)
Format CD, 7", 12", cassette
Recorded 1998
Genre Alternative rock
Length 2:52
Label Reprise
Writer(s) Ed Robertson
Producer(s) Barenaked Ladies,
David Leonard,
Susan Rogers
Barenaked Ladies singles chronology
"Brian Wilson (2000)"
"One Week"
"It's All Been Done"
Music video
"One Week" on YouTube

"One Week" is a 1998 single by Barenaked Ladies, the first single from their 1998 album, Stunt. It was written by Ed Robertson, who is featured on the lead vocal of the rapped verses. Steven Page sings lead on the song's chorus, while the two co-lead the prechoruses in harmony. The song is notable for its significant number of pop culture references, and remains the band's best known song in the United States. The song hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and, fittingly, spent one week at the top.

"One Week" is the band's best-performing single on the charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom, though it slightly under-performed several other singles in the band's native Canada. It was the band's first and only number one single in the U.S. on both the Hot 100 (for one week) and the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks (for five non-consecutive weeks). The song spent seven weeks at number 3 on the Hot 100 Airplay and an additional four at number two land locked behind the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris". Both "The Old Apartment" and "Brian Wilson" barely broke the top 100 of the US chart. The band's US chart success has not been equaled, and was neared only by follow-up singles "It's All Been Done" and "Pinch Me", the first single from follow-up album Maroon; both broke the top 50 of the U.S. Hot 100. Apple used the song at MacWorld 1999 for presenting Mac OS X Server on a wall of 50 iMacs [1]

In 1999, American parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded a parody titled "Jerry Springer", about a man's strange obsession with The Jerry Springer Show, for his album Running with Scissors.

The song has been featured numerous times in other media, including the films Digimon: The Movie, American Pie, 10 Things I Hate About You, the band appear to perform it live in "College Kids", an early season 4 episode of The West Wing, the video game Alvin and the Chipmunks, and in the video game Rock Band Blitz, and in an ad for Mitsubishi Lancer, which featured teens trying to sing the song but being unable to keep up with the fast rapping at some points.


  • History 1
  • Music video 2
  • Charts 3
    • Peak positions 3.1
    • Year-end charts 3.2
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Ed Robertson wrote the ideas for the non-rap 'choruses' with the concept being the structure of a fight where the protagonist knows they are wrong and is just trying to save face. He wanted to come up with a rapping verse for the song but all attempts failed. Bandmate Steven Page suggested he simply improvises the rap as the two commonly did onstage every night. Robertson heeded the advice and set up a video camera. He improvised the song at a slower pace to make rhyming easier and arrived at about four minutes of rap. He sent it to Page who told him not to change a word. Two minutes of the improvising was almost directly compiled (with very little, if any, tweaking) into the verses of the song. As it is improvised, it is not intended to directly have any relation to the plot of the chorus sections. The lyrics in the liner notes from Stunt contain some additional lines that did not make it into the recorded version.

Band members have stated that the first live run-through of "One Week" did not go well, and that it took some time to get the song to sound good live. The instrumental parts are played by band members, notably Ed Robertson and Steven Page on guitar, and Kevin Hearn sometimes on guitar and sometimes on keyboards; as well, while Hearn was away from touring shortly after the song's release, his place at shows was taken by one of two other musicians on keyboards who each added their own unique parts to the song, helping to shape its live sound early.

The song is rife with pop culture references, which includes the following: Aquaman, Swiss Chalet, LeAnn Rimes, Bert Kaempfert, The X-Files and its character, The Smoking Man, Harrison Ford, Sting, Snickers, Akira Kurosawa and his film, Seven Samurai, Sailor Moon, A Tribe Called Quest ("Chickity China the Chinese chicken" mirrors a line from Busta Rhymes's verse on 1992's "Scenario") and Birchmount Stadium.

The song is also featured on the third installment of the Big Shiny Tunes series, Big Shiny Tunes 3.

In performances starting in 2003, the band developed an acoustic, bluegrass version of the song. It is typically used in a new performance setting they developed on the Peepshow Tour that year, in which they play acoustically while they stand around and sing into one omni-directional microphone.

With the departure of Steven Page in early 2009, Kevin Hearn has taken over singing Page's lead vocals on almost all of the choruses (during the first few performances of this song without Steven, all of the three choruses were sung by Ed Robertson, until Hearn took over performing the first two of them about a year later, in 2010). Often, Kevin sings the choruses together with drummer Tyler Stewart, who also performs Steven's harmonies during the bridge. Both the third, last chorus and the following, ending part of the song are sung by Robertson, along with Stewart's harmonizing.

Music video

The music video was directed by McG and begins with the band performing the song in a royal court, featuring a singing girl on a wind-up pedestal (portrayed by Kiva Dawson), similar to a scene from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. During the interlude they make an escape and sing while driving a lookalike of The General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard (using the numbers 07 instead of 01 and minus the Confederate flag on the roof) and Starsky & Hutch's Ford Gran Torino. The band drives into a suburb, where they perform a concert in front of a trailer, with a female motorcyclist, dressed like Evel Knievel, performing stunts. The video ends with a shot of the cyclist stuck on a tree. The video features Carmit Bachar from the Pussycat Dolls, playing an angel.


Preceded by
"The First Night" by Monica
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
October 17, 1998
Succeeded by
"The First Night" by Monica
Preceded by
"Inside Out" by Eve 6
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
August 22, 1998
September 5–26, 1998
Succeeded by
"Inside Out" by Eve 6


  1. ^ "Mac OS X Server at Macworld SF '99". 
  2. ^ " – Barenaked Ladies – One Week". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  3. ^ " – Barenaked Ladies – One Week" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  4. ^ "Barenaked Ladies: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company.
  5. ^ "Adult Contemporary - Volume 68, No. 12, December 14, 1998".  
  6. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1998". Retrieved 2010-08-28. 

External links

Preceded by
"Building a Mystery" by Sarah McLachlan
Juno Award for Best Single
Succeeded by
"Bobcaygeon" by The Tragically Hip
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