Sail (song)

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"Sail"
Single by Awolnation
from the album Megalithic Symphony
ReleasedJanuary 4, 2011 (2011-01-04)
Format
Recorded2010; Red Bull Recording Studio (Los Angeles)
GenreAlternative rock, electronic rock
Length4:19
LabelRed Bull
Writer(s)Aaron Bruno
Producer(s)Aaron Bruno
Awolnation singles chronology
  • "Sail"
  • (2011)
 
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"Sail"
Single by Awolnation
from the album Megalithic Symphony
ReleasedJanuary 4, 2011 (2011-01-04)
Format
Recorded2010; Red Bull Recording Studio (Los Angeles)
GenreAlternative rock, electronic rock
Length4:19
LabelRed Bull
Writer(s)Aaron Bruno
Producer(s)Aaron Bruno
Awolnation singles chronology
  • "Sail"
  • (2011)

"Sail" is a song by American electronic rock band Awolnation. It was written and produced in Venice, California by group member Aaron Bruno, with Kenny Carkeet performing the audio engineering. The song was first featured on the band's debut extended play Back from Earth (2010) and was later featured on their debut album Megalithic Symphony (2011).

Released as a single on January 4, 2011, "Sail" is the band's most commercially successful song to date. It debuted at number 89 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart in September 2011, spending 20 weeks on the chart before dropping out. The single re-entered the Hot 100 a year later, becoming a massive sleeper hit and reaching a new peak of number 17. It has spent the second longest time inside the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with 79 weeks, only surpassed by Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive".

Composition[edit]

"Sail" is an alternative rock and electronic rock song that blends the styles of punk blues, trip hop and indie rock. The handclaps and synth/horn stabs are reminiscent of heavy funk. It is written in the key of E minor with a tempo of 119 BPM.

Commercial performance[edit]

In July 2010, Austin DJ Toby Ryan premiered the song on KROX-FM and the response from the listeners was positive.[1]

"Sail" debuted at number 89 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 singles chart on the week of September 3, 2011.[2] The single spent twenty weeks on the chart before dropping out following the issue date of January 14, 2012.[3] It eventually re-entered in mid-2013;[4] its use in various television shows and advertisements exposed the song to a wider audience.[5] Following its appearance in a History trailer promoting Vikings, weekly downloads "more than tripled".[6] The song has since spent more than a year on the chart and peaked at number 17 on the Hot 100 in its 56th week on the chart, two years after its initial debut.[7] "Sail" was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in June 2013,[8] and by April 2014, it has sold over 5 million digital copies in the US.[9]

"Sail" also peaked at number five on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart in 2011. The song was featured in the introduction of the 2012 film Disconnect. Due to its extremely unusual longevity, it has become the only song in the history of the Hot 100 to spend a year on the chart without entering the top 20 first.

In Australia and New Zealand the song peaked in September 2013 reaching number 27 on the Australian Music Chart,[10] and number 33 on the New Zealand Music Chart.[11] In the United Kingdom the song peaked at number 17 on the UK Singles Chart in January 2014.[12]

Music video[edit]

The video for "Sail" opens with lead singer Aaron Bruno running to a house. He enters the house relieved to have escaped from the threat outside. He shuts the blinds. Bruno then finds a tape recorder, and starts singing into it. He enters a bathroom and looks into a mirror, still singing. A green strip of light enters the house and moves across it, scanning a spacesuit helmet and a military flight-suit. As the light climbs up the stairs towards him, Bruno hides inside a full bathtub. The beam scans him in the bath. Bruno is then depicted being pulled across the floor by an unknown force; he attempts to cling to a door-frame, but loses his grip. The scene is interspersed with shots of Bruno closing a door and playing the song's piano section. As the song's final chorus section begins, the house shakes. Lights and lamps turn on and off as gusts of wind blow. Bruno is pulled by the mysterious force outside the house, and he is subsequently levitated up into the sky as a set of floodlights flash on him. He drops the tape recorder.

While the official music video[13] has been viewed over 29 million times on the official AWOLNATION YouTube channel as well as 26 million times on AwolnationVevo, a second, fan-made video by Shawna Howson, better known by her working name Nanalew, has been viewed over 100 million times as of April 2014.[14]

Covers, remixes and media appearances[edit]

A remix of "Sail" featuring American rappers Kendrick Lamar and Ab-Soul was produced by Sounwave and mixed by Ali.

American singer Macy Gray covered the song on her album Covered (2012).[15]

Australian blues singer Ash Grunwald covered the song on their album Trouble's Door (2012)

Groove metal band DevilDriver have included a cover version of "Sail" on their album Winter Kills (2013).[16]

On The Voice, contestant Kat Robichaud performed "Sail" during week 2 of the live playoffs (2013).

It was covered by American singer Dev in 2013, and will appear on her upcoming album.

A remix of "Sail" by American rapper Machine Gun Kelly was released on April 22, 2014 along with a video uploaded onto YouTube.

"Sail" was used as the soundtrack for a YouTube video of proximity wingsuit flying "Grinding the Crack" by extreme athlete Jeb Corliss, uploaded in August 2011, which went viral receiving in excess of 25 million views.[6] The song was played in a November 2011 episode of The Good Wife.[17]

"Sail" was also featured in the 2012 film Disconnect. A So You Think You Can Dance contestant danced on it in May 2012.[18] The song was then used in a BMW commercial launched during the 2012 Summer Olympics.[6] In 2013, the song was used by TV channel History in a trailer for the show Vikings and in the trailer for The Counselor (2013).[6] It was also featured in an episode of The Vampire Diaries.[19]

Christie's Auction House used "Sail" in a video preview for their May 2014 sale. The video shows a professional skateboarder Chris Martin gliding through Christie's Rockefeller building storage and passing by the art of Richard Prince, Andy Warhol and On Kawara, among others.[20][21]

Formats and track listings[edit]

  1. "Sail" – 4:19
  2. "Sail" (Innerpartysystem Remix) – 5:26
  3. "Sail" (Dan the Automator Remix) – 4:34
  4. "Sail" (Unlimited Gravity Remix) - 5:49

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

RegionCertificationSales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[56]6× Platinum480,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[57]2× Platinum30,000*
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[58]Gold15,000x
United States (RIAA)[59]5× Platinum5,000,000[9]

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

Release history[edit]

CountryDateFormatLabel
United States[22][60][61]January 4, 2011Alternative radioRed Bull Records
June 6, 2011Active rock radio
June 13, 2011Digital download
Germany[62]September 23, 2011
United Kingdom[63]September 25, 2011
France[64]September 26, 2011
Spain[65]September 27, 2011
United States[66][67]October 29, 2012Hot AC radio
Contemporary hit radio

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100 – September 3, 2011". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 12, 2013. (subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100 – January 14, 2012". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 12, 2013. (subscription required (help)). 
  4. ^ Molanphy, Chris (June 29, 2013). "The Slow Hit Movement: Year-Old Songs On The Pop Charts". NPR. Retrieved June 30, 2013. 
  5. ^ Hooper, Ryan Patrick (March 28, 2012). "'Sail' by AWOLNATION Soars to Platinum Status". Red Bull. Retrieved June 30, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d Fekadu, Mesfin (April 28, 2014). "How 'Sail' sold: Story of Awolnation's Aaron Bruno". Businessweek. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "Awolnation Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Awolnation. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  8. ^ "AWOLNATION's Sail goes triple platinum". Red Bull. Retrieved June 30, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Grein, Paul (April 16, 2014). "Chart Watch: "Happy" tops 4M". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!. 
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  12. ^ "Top 40 Official Singles Chart UK (Week-ending 18th January 2014)". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  13. ^ "AWOLNATION - Sail (Official)". YouTube. Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  14. ^ Nanalew (October 2, 2011). "SAIL - AWOLNATION". YouTube. Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  15. ^ Bush, John. "Covered – Macy Gray". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  16. ^ Florino, Rick (July 31, 2013). "DevilDriver 'Winter Kills' Album Review — 5 out of 5 stars". Artistdirect. Rogue Digital. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  17. ^ Toepfer, Susan (November 21, 2011). "‘The Good Wife’ Season 3, Episode 9, ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’: TV Recap". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
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  19. ^ "The Vampire Diaries Songs: Music From Season 4, Episode 22". Wetpaint. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  20. ^ http://christiesauctions.tumblr.com/
  21. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWj5wYO8kkI
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  58. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Awolnation; 'Sail')". Hung Medien. 
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  60. ^ "Alternative". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on December 25, 2010. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
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  63. ^ "AWOLNATION". 7digital. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  64. ^ "AWOLNATION" (in French). 7digital (FRA). Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  65. ^ "AWOLNATION" (in Spanish). 7digital (SPA). Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  66. ^ "Going For Adds: Hot AC (Week Of: October 29, 2012)". Radio & Records. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  67. ^ "Going For Adds: CHR/Top 40 (Week Of: October 29, 2012)". Radio & Records. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 

External links[edit]