Top of the World (Dixie Chicks song)


Top of the World (Dixie Chicks song)

Infobox Song
Name = Top of the World


Border =
Caption =
Type =
Artist = Patty Griffin
alt Artist =
Album = Silver Bell" (unreleased)
Published =
Released =
track_no =
Recorded =
Genre = Contemporary folk, country
Language =
Length =
Writer = Patty Griffin
Composer =
Label = A&M
Producer =
Tracks =
prev =
prev_no =
next =
next_no =
Misc = Extra track listing
altAlbum = Impossible Dream
Type = studio
Length = 5:28
Label = ATO
prev_track = "Useless Desires"
prev_no = 5
this_track = "Top of the World"
track_no = 6
next_track = "Rowing Song"
next_no = 7

Audio sample? =
Infobox Single
Name = Top of the World


Cover size =
Border =
Caption =
Artist = Dixie Chicks
Album = Home
A-side =
B-side =
Released = 2003
Format =
Recorded =
Genre = Country
Length = 6:01
Label = Columbia
Writer =
Producer =
Audio sample? =
Certification =
Last single = "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)"
(2003)
This single = "Top of the World"
(2003)
Next single = "White Trash Wedding"
(2003)
Misc = Extra track listing
Album = Home
Type = studio
prev_track = "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)"
prev_no = 11
this_track = "Top of the World"
track_no = 12
next_track = "Landslide" (Sheryl Crow remix)
next_no = 13 – deluxe edition

"Top of the World" is a contemporary folk-country song written by Patty Griffin and most known as recorded and performed in Grammy Award-winning fashion by the Dixie Chicks.

Griffin wrote and recorded "Top of the World" for her would-be 2000 album "Silver Bell". But a dispute with her label A&M Records caused the album to go unreleased and Griffin to be dropped,cite web | url=http://www.pattygriffin.net/PattyBio.html | title=Patty Griffin: Bio | publisher=Pattygriffin.net | accessdate=2008-05-28] although copies of "Silver Bell" circulated and increased Griffin's reputation as a songwriter within the music industry. [cite news | url=http://web.archive.org/web/20010730134926/http://www.nashvillerage.com/music/features/053101-griffin/ | title= Will 'Silver Bell' Ever Ring | author=Lucas Hendrickson | publisher=Nashvillerage.com | date=2001-05-31 | accessdate=2008-05-29]

The Dixie Chicks, who had already treated other Griffin songs and had toured with Griffin on their 2000 Fly Tour, recorded "Top of the World" as the concluding track on their 2002 album "Home". Beginning quietly with "Home"'s mixture of acoustic stringed instruments, and with the vocal line shifting around among one-, two-, and three-part singing, the song begins by portraying an almost unbearable level of regretcite book | last=Willman | first=Chris | title=Rednecks & Bluenecks: The Politics of Country Music | publisher=New Press | year=2005 | isbn=1595580174 p. 23.] at things not done:cite news | url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C00E0DC123FF937A25756C0A9629C8B63 | title=Patty Griffin: Country Infused With Faith and Romance | author=Jon Pareles | publisher="The New York Times" | date=2004-05-14 | accessdate=2008-05-31]

:"I wished I was smarter,:"I wished I was stronger.:"I wished I loved Jesus:"The way my wife does ...:"I wish it had been easier

Tension is built up with pauses, then midway through a string section begins accompanying in an ominous fashion. The reason for the regret is fully unveiled:

:"I come home in the evening,:"Sit in my chair.:"One night they called me for supper:"But I never got up —:"I stayed right there, in my chair.

The strings then pick up in intensity during the instrumental coda, as Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines moans wordlessly and then repeats "To the top of the world" as a mantra over and over.

Dixie Chick Emily Robison said of "Top of the World" that it was "biggest departure on the album, but I'm so glad that we did it because I think it shows a whole other dimension."cite news | url=http://www.vh1.com/shows/dyn/vh1_all_access/68681/episode_about.jhtml | title=Spotlight: The Dixie Chicks | publisher=VH1 | date=2003 | accessdate=2008-05-31] During their 2002 concert film "An Evening with the Dixie Chicks", Maines attempted to explain the song's startingly unusual perspective:

It is written from the point of view of a man who has passed on, and he's sort of looking down wishing that he had been a different person, and having a lot of regrets and wishing he hadn't had the negative effect on the people in his life and err... I don't know what I just said...

Author Chris Willman wrote that this was "a song that could send a chill down even a seasoned spine after repeat listens." "Entertainment Weekly" stated that the Dixie Chicks' recording "lift [ed] the quality of [the song] in a way [its] author herself could not." [cite news | url=http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,338302,00.html | title=Home | author=Ken Tucker | publisher="Entertainment Weekly" | date=2002-08-19 | accessdate=2008-05-30] "The New York Times" said that "Top of the World" was an example of the Dixie Chicks turning to Griffin for their most ambitious material that at the same time led to the Chicks' commercial and critical success. [cite news | url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C03E1DD153FF937A2575BC0A9629C8B63 | title= After a Long Wait, Harvest of Success; Former Waitress Serves Up Songs To Dixie Chicks And Other Stars | author=Jane Gross | publisher="The New York Times" | date=2004-08-14 | accessdate=2008-05-31]

"Top of the World" was released as a single in mid-2003, together with a music video,cite news | url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B00E7DB143BF930A15755C0A9659C8B63 | title=Down-Home and Defiant Again | author=Jon Pareles | publisher="The New York Times" | date=2003-06-23 | accessdate=2008-05-30] but failed to chart. At six minutes the song was likely too long for radio, but by now the infamous controversy regarding Maines' criticism of U.S. President George W. Bush had broken out, and the Chicks had become a country radio anathema.

Maines would remark of the video, "We haven't been banned from television yet." Directed by Sophie Mullercite web | url=http://www.mvpa.com/mvpa_awards_nominees/nominees2004.htm | title=MVPA Award Nominees 2004 | publisher=Music Video Production Association | accessdate=2008-05-31] and filmed in London, it portrayed the three Chicks as three women in different stages of the protagonist's life. It was premiered on VH1 on September 22, 2003, [cite news | url=http://www.livedaily.com/news/5499.html | title=Briefly: John Mayer, Elvis Presley, Dixie Chicks, 'Acoustic Christmas,' Sheb Wooley | publisher=liveDaily.com | date=2003-09-17 | accessdate=2008-05-31] and it would later be nominated for MVPA Awards in the Adult Contemporary Video and Director of the Year categories.

Although not one of the Chicks' big hits, the song was prominent enough that the trio's 2003 Top of the World Tour was named after it, as were the subsequent ' album and ' DVD. Indeed "Top of the World" was one of the emotional centerpieces of the shows on the tour, and the live recording of the song would go on to win the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. [cite news | url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/02/14/in_depth_showbiz/main673822.shtml | title=2005 Grammy Award Winners | publisher=CBS News | date=2005-02-13 | accessdate=2008-05-28] The song remained one of the highlights of the group's 2006 Accidents & Accusations Tour, with violinist Martie Maguire moving from the front of the stage to join the band's violin and cello player for a dramatic, elongated string part during the coda.

Griffin's own re-recording of "Top of the World" would finally surface for good on her 2004 album "Impossible Dream". As the Dixie Chicks' version had been close in arrangement to Griffin's original, [cite news | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/21/arts/music/21grif.html | title=Good News for Sad Songs: Hits Don’t Need Happiness | author=Jon Pareles | publisher="The New York Times" | date=2007-04-21 | accessdate=2008-05-31] Griffin re-arranged it this time around.cite news | url=http://www.nucountry.com.au/articles/diary/march2006/010306_patty_griffin.htm | title=Dave's Diary — Patty Griffin | author=Dave Dawson | publisher=Nu Country TV | date=2006-03-01 | accessdate=2008-05-28] It featured the violin of Lisa Germano, and Allmusic described the recording's "quietly intense relationship meditation" as reaching an "aching climax".cite web | url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:gnfoxq9aldke | title=Impossible Dream: Patty Griffin | publisher=Allmusic | accessdate=2008-05-28] "The Washington Post" wrote that Griffin's recording would have "flooded the country airwaves" were it not for "music business realities". [cite news | url=http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost/access/636233371.html?dids=636233371:636233371&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=May+13%2C+2004&author=&pub=The+Washington+Post&edition=&startpage=C.08&desc=PERFORMING+ARTS | title=Performing Arts | publisher="The Washington Post" | date=2004-05-13 | page=C08]

"Top of the World" has been performed by others as well, notably Jessica Harp of The Wreckers [cite news | url=http://bostonmusicspotlight.com/article.php?id=156 | title=The Wreckers bring country to Axis | author=Rory Flynn | publisher=Bostonmusic.com | date=2006-09-15 | accessdate=2008-05-28] and Australian singer Kasey Chambers.

References


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