One Week

Album: Stunt (1998)
Charted: 5 1
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • The band has said that this song is about a big fight in a relationship. The lyrics are essentially meaningless, but wildly entertaining, showing off their clever wordplay in a rapid-fire interplay between their lead singers, Ed Robertson and Steven Page. Robertson wrote the song.
  • Fittingly, this spent one week at #1 in the US. "I maybe should have called it 'Fifty-Eight Weeks,'" BNL frontman Ed Robertson joked in a Songfacts interview. "But the title was more prophetic than I ever could have hoped."
  • This was the first big hit for Barenaked Ladies. They formed in 1988 and developed a large cult following, especially in their native Canada and among college students. They made inroads in America when their 1996 single "The Old Apartment" cracked the Hot 100, landing at #88 in May 1997. A live version of "Brian Wilson" was issued later that year, and in 1998, when "One Week" was released as the first single from Stunt, they pushed it hard, promoting the song by playing a series of radio station concerts. Most acts wouldn't do well playing to a handful of contest winners in Poughkeepsie, answering some dumb questions from a disc jockey, then doing it again the next day in Scranton, but Barenaked Ladies stayed remarkably gracious throughout the process. Humor and improvisation were always a big part of their repertoire, and that came in handy during the promotional cycle. Radio stations rewarded them by spinning the single and talking up the band.
  • The reason why many of the lyrics are just a hotchpotch of cultural references is that the song was written as a freestyle. Singer-guitarist Ed Robertson explained to Billboard magazine: "I wrote the chorus structure of the song, but I couldn't figure out the verses at all. I got together with Steve [Page] a bunch of times and said, 'I have this idea for a song, and I couldn't figure out where to go with it.' And finally Steve said to me at some point, 'Just freestyle it! Just do what you do onstage every night. It's gonna be great.'"

    "There were some extra verses and stuff," he added. "I just culled it down to what I thought were my favorite lines. But it was written as a freestyle."
  • The last words of the song are, "Birchmount Stadium, home of the Robbie." This refers to an annual soccer tournament held for charity at Birchmount Stadium in Scarborough, Ontario. Steven Page and Ed Robertson have said that these are are the hardest words to say in the song.

    The Robbie (officially The Robbie International Soccer Tournament), began in 1967 when some area soccer fans started a boys' tournament to raise money for 3-year-old Robbie Wimbs, who had Cystic Fibrosis. The tournament grew, and later became a benefit for Muscular Dystrophy research as well.
  • Weird Al Yankovic did a parody of this called "Jerry Springer" on his 1999 album Running With Scissors. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Nick - Paramus, NJ
  • The lyrics in the liner notes contain some extra lines (with Star Wars references), but these lyrics are not in any performed version of the song. Ed Robertson decided to include them with the album notes even though they were left off the song. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kelly - Portland, OR
  • Mitsubishi used this song in a 2002 commercial for their Lancer model. The spot shows groups of young people having fun while they singing along to the song on their drives.
  • The McG-directed music video starts with the guys performing in a royal court before speeding off to a carnival in cars modeled after the iconic General Lee and Ford Gran Torino from The Dukes of Hazzard and Starsky & Hutch, respectively. Carmit Bachar of The Pussycat Dolls cameos as an angel.

    McG directed a handful of hit videos in the '90s for The Offspring ("Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)"), Korn ("Got The Life"), and Sugar Ray ("Fly"). He became a TV producer (Supernatural, Chuck) and action movie director (Terminator Salvation).
  • The "Chickity China, the Chinese chicken" line is very similar to one of Busta Rhymes' lines in the 1992 Tribe Called Quest song "Scenario": "Chickity choco, the chocolate chicken."
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Comments: 24

  • David from Maplewood, NjThe "Chalet Swiss" in the second verse is Swiss Chalet, a Canadian casual dining chain. It's definitely not a place to get sushi.
  • Hannah from Gustavus, OhI think the part about "Sailor Moon has got the boom anime babes that make me think the wrong thing" is a reference to how the cartoon was originally banned in the United States because two of the characters were lesbians and how the episodes were re-written to make them cousins, but the overtones would still sometimes show up.
  • Daniel from Winchester, OhAnd it does a good job of entertaining the masses all in all its a decent song
  • Tannan from Hays, KsIn the third verse, after the reference to Akria Kurosawa, there is a reference to the anime Sailor Moon. "Gotta get in tune with sailor moon
    Cause that cartoon has got the boom anime babes". I'd heard the song several times but didn't pick up on that until last night.
  • Caroline from Happy, Txi love this song. its in ten things i hate about you...awesome teen movie
  • Landon from Winchester, OhThe lyrics are not meant to have meaning, they are meant to entertain. Good to know.
  • Lalah from Wasilla, AkRachael and Shannon: The song with the underwear reference is "Pinch Me". Like any improvisation; they probably change the rapping part each time they sing it. This is just the recorded version. I hear they're a scream in concert.
  • Matthew from CalgaryI've tried to learn this song all the way through. All I've got is random parts and the chorus. It's so fast-paced though. Hard to keep up even if you do know the words.
  • Josh from Conshohocken, PaDylan:
    I can sing every lyric from this song; can you? If not... why are you criticizing people who can't?
  • Dylan from Port Orange, FlLive raping?

    You are one sick bastard.

    LOL
  • Dylan from Port Orange, FlI have yet to meet someone who can sing this whole song.

    No offense people, but... it's not that hard.
  • Leah from Humboldt, Iafreaking awesome. know all the word. still smile eveytime i hear it.
  • Ashli from Indianapolis, In(chickity china the chinese chicken:you have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin)is my favorite bpart in this song..i have heard the song many of times..but i didnt know that was the words!-lol-
  • Daniel from Cincinnatti, Ornot their best
  • Danny from Los Angeles, CaIf you did not yet notice, the Ford Gran Torino from Starsky & Hutch and "General Lee" from the Dukes of Hazzard are featured in the last minute and half of the music video.
    - Danny, Whittier, CA
  • Shannon from Garland, Txthis isnt the one with the underwear.. thats by barenaked ladies tho
  • Aaron from Amelia, NeThere are two places in the song where the liner notes have lyrics that aren't actually sung. The first set of lyrics that aren't sung in the actual song (during the first verse that Ed sings) is "Like Andrew Lloyd I've got a big show/Mine's about a back-hoe/There'll be a big sound from the pavement", and the second set (from the second verse) is "Like Skywalker gotta big hunch/Hey that's my lunch/Yoda's a really really old guy".
  • Annabeth from Kutztown, Pathis is about a couple that has a fight. They both know they're wrong, but niether is willing to admit it. So they try distracting themselves with other things (chicken, anime, golf, etc.)
  • Belinda from Miami, FlThe meaningless lyrics were created when he was freestylin' in front of a camera one day. The band liked the concept and kept it.
  • Rachel from Waurika, OkI dont really like this song. Its somewhat funny though. If this is the right song they chicken and underwear in it and when i was young i laughed for hours and made ny mom listen to it.
  • Terri Lynn from Heart's Desire, Canadathis was their first big hit, no doubt it really got them a lot of attention with the media and mainstream pop. i still remember the days of "if i had a million dollars" though... :) aww.
  • Jordan from Sacramento, CaIf you look at the lyrics, you can tell that it is about an arguement that a couple had. Several of the lines not only talk about the fight, but they also explain when they happened. Trying to match wits and busting through... like she's holding him back, and he needs to be able to write/sing some of the crazy lyrics that are in the song. You can relate everything to something that you do when you breakup with someone... eat, listen to classical type music, try other activities, such as golf, or fantasize about others... even cartoon characters. The lyrics might be crazy, but they are anything but nonsense.
  • Dave from Edmonton, CanadaI really hope that the guy below meant to say "live RAPPING". As it is, the visual he projects is not a pleasant one.
  • John from Clinton, NjI think I remember from the Barenaked in America Documentry that One Week was a tour song or about touring. I also remember Ed saying how he loved to do his live raping and i think that probablly is one reason they did the song.
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