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"Early Winter"
Single by Gwen Stefani
from the album The Sweet Escape
Released October 1, 2007
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded 2006
Genre Pop rock
Length 4:44 (Album Version)
3:45 (Radio Edit)
Label Interscope
Writer(s) Gwen Stefani, Tim Rice-Oxley
Producer Nellee Hooper
Gwen Stefani singles chronology
"Now That You Got It"
(2007)
"Early Winter"
(2007)
Music video
"Early Winter" at YouTube

"Early Winter" is an 1980s-inspired pop rock ballad written by Gwen Stefani and Tim Rice-Oxley (pianist for the English band Keane) for Stefani's second studio album, The Sweet Escape (2006). The song received positive reviews from music critics, and its opening riffs were used in a Hewlett-Packard commercial featuring Stefani. It was released as the album's fifth and final single in several European countries. This is also the final single of Stefani's solo career for now.

Contents

Background and writing

Stefani called Rice-Oxley the night before she was to work with him in the studio and told him that she wanted a ballad in the vein of Billy Idol's "Eyes Without a Face", Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly with His Song", and Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time". Stefani, pleased with the song, avoided making changes to it after Rice-Oxley played it for her. She later rewrote part of it before recording the song. The song's lyrics describe lovers approaching the end of a relationship.[1]

Critical reception

"Early Winter" received positive reviews from music critics. Digital Spy praised the song, calling it "...the most affecting moment of Stefani's solo career to date."[2] Pitchfork Media stated that the song "...proves that Stefani still has the ability to elevate an otherwise ordinary rock song to another level..."[3] The Guardian referred to it as "stylish",[4] and The New York Times called it one of the album's most "tuneful" tracks.[5] PopMatters noted it as a highlight of the album and compared the song's vulnerability to No Doubt's "Don't Speak".[6] The NME characterized it as "...one of the few potential hits..." from The Sweet Escape.[7] Entertainment Weekly described it as a "majestic power ballad" on which Stefani's "Orange County-girl voice doesn't seem genuinely sad."[8] Slant Magazine compared "Early Winter" to the songs that Stefani wrote with No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal for the album. It was also stated that the track sounded "...less forced and much less self-conscious" than other songs.[9] John Murphy of MusicOMH called the song's lyrics "palatable".[10]

Chart performance

"Early Winter" had its early charting period restricted only to European countries. In Slovakia, it began its run at number ninety-five and then peaked at number six.[11] In the Czech Republic, the song peaked at number nineteen.[12] The song debuted and peaked at number twenty-six on the European Hot 100 Singles. The song entered the Finnish Singles Chart at number fifteen.[13] The song was the album's least successful single on the Romanian Top 100, peaking at only number forty.[14] The song debuted on the German Singles Chart at number six, the song's highest debut on a chart.[13]

Music video

Stefani in the music video for "Early Winter".

The music video premiered on LAUNCHcast on November 15, 2007 and on MTV's Total Request Live on December 18, 2007. It opens with a black-and-white scene of Stefani lying on the floor in a long white gown. In the next scene, Stefani is shown walking on the street under red street lights and then holds her love interest against the wall and talks to him. The scene then changes to Stefani walking on a street and then walks into the railway station. In the next scene, Stefani is seen singing under falling red-colored feathers in a huge palace-type hall. There are intercuts of Stefani staring at herself in the mirror with her hair up and snow/ash falling slowly down, with the lights turning on and off intermittently. Stefani is also seen sitting on the floor and singing while crying. Stefani is then seen on the railway station walking besides a moving train. The video ends with Stefani running out of the hall. During a few scenes towards the end of the video, Stefani wore a green Dolce & Gabbana gown,[15] as seen on the single cover.

Sophie Muller shot the video in three cities of the European Union: Milan, Italy; Budapest, Hungary; and Prague, Czech Republic, during the European leg of Stefani's The Sweet Escape Tour in October 2007. In Milan she shot some parts at a church and a hotel. In Hungary she chose one of the railway stations of Budapest, the Nyugati railway station.

Track listings

German CD single[16]
  1. "Early Winter" (Album Version) – 4:45
  2. "Early Winter" (Live) – 6:52
iTunes EP
  1. "Early Winter" (Album Version) – 4:45
  2. "Early Winter" (Live) – 6:52
  3. "Early Winter" (Instrumental) – 4:47
Promo CD single
  1. "Early Winter" (Radio Edit) – 3:45

Personnel

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Musicians

Production

Charts

Chart (2008) Peak
position
Austrian Singles Chart[13] 22
Czech Airplay Chart[12] 19
European Hot 100 Singles[17] 26
Finnish Singles Chart[13] 14
German Singles Chart[13] 6
Hungarian Airplay Chart[18] 17
Italian Singles Chart[19] 34
Romanian Top 100[14] 40
Russian Airplay Chart[20] 82
Slovak Airplay Chart[11] 6
Swiss Singles Chart[13] 12
Türkiye Top 20[21] 12

References

  1. ^ Vineyard, Jennifer. "Baby On Board! Gwen Stefani's Son Joins Her On LP, Spring Tour". MTV News. December 4, 2006. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  2. ^ Digital Spy review
  3. ^ Pytlik, Mark. "Gwen Stefani: The Sweet Escape". Pitchfork Media. December 7, 2006. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  4. ^ Sullivan, Caroline. "Gwen Stefani, The Sweet Escape". The Guardian. December 1, 2006. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  5. ^ Pareles, Jon. "Gwen Stefani: The Sweet Escape". The New York Times. December 4, 2006. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  6. ^ Huff, Quentin B. "Gwen Stefani: The Sweet Escape". PopMatters. December 14, 2006. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  7. ^ Miller, Alex. "Gwen Stefani: The Sweet Escape". NME. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  8. ^ Michel, Sia. "Sweet Escape | Music Review". Entertainment Weekly. December 1, 2006. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  9. ^ Cinquemani, Sal. "Music Review: Gwen Stefani: The Sweet Escape". Slant Magazine. 2006. Retrieved August 24, 2007.
  10. ^ MusicOMH.com Retrieved September 4, 2007
  11. ^ a b "RADIO TOP100 Oficiálna" (in Slovak). International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. http://www.ifpicr.cz/hitparadask/index.php?a=titul&hitparada=18&titul=144717&sec=c3217f899aeca9b002c0d840e31261ab. Retrieved November 17, 2007. 
  12. ^ a b "RADIO TOP100 Oficiální" (in Czech). International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. http://www.ifpicr.cz/hitparada/index.php?a=titul&hitparada=2&titul=145514&sec=0c2187f8e852a29a80c6c511ec9da832. Retrieved November 17, 2007. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f "Gwen Stefani – Early Winter – Music Charts". αCharts.us. http://acharts.us/song/28720. Retrieved January 5, 2008. 
  14. ^ a b "Romanian Top 100" (in Romanian). Vento Consultanta SRL. http://www.rt100.ro/top-100-edition.html?edition=618&go=Go. Retrieved February 13, 2008. 
  15. ^ Image of Gown Source stating the gown
  16. ^ Amazon.com: Early Winter (2-Track): Music: Gwen Stefani
  17. ^ "Gwen Stefani Album & Song Chart History – European Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.. http://www.billboard.com/#/artist/gwen-stefani/chart-history/239085?f=349&g=Singles. Retrieved January 6, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Rádiós Top 40 játszási lista – 2008. 18. hét" (in Hungarian). Mahasz. http://www.mahasz.hu/m/?menu=slagerlistak&menu2=archivum&lista=radios&ev=2008&het=18&submit_=Keresés. Retrieved February 27, 2008. 
  19. ^ March 8, 2008.
  20. ^ "Gwen Stefani – Early Winter – TopHit.ru". TopHit.ru. http://www.tophitru.com/cgi-bin/trackinfo.cgi?id=10960. Retrieved January 6, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Billboard Türkiye Top 20" (in Turkish). Billboard Türkiye. http://www.billboard.com.tr/pages/Turkiye_top20.aspx/. Retrieved April 11, 2008. 

External links


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