Wincing the Night Away, the Grammy nominated third album by indie rock group The Shins, was released by Sub Pop Records on January 23, 2007. It is the band's final album under their current contract. Recording for the album occurred in James Mercer’s basement studio, Phil Ek’s home in Seattle, and in Oregon City with veteran producer Joe Chicarelli (Beck, U2).
The title is a play on the name of a Sam Cooke song, "Twistin' the Night Away
". As reported in Rolling Stone
magazine, it is a reference to band member James Mercer
's "crippling insomnia
". "Sleeping Lessons", the title of the first track, also references insomnia and was considered as a possible album title.
Mercer confirmed Wincing the Night Away as the album title in an August 2006 interview with Billboard.
The full track listing was announced by Pitchfork Media
on October 16
. The first single, "Phantom Limb", was released on iTunes
on November 14
and reached physical retailers on November 21
. The new album was previewed in its entirety on the band's MySpace
The album was leaked from a promo copy on October 20, 2006. Sub Pop responded by hiring a UK company to track down the source of the leak.
On January 9, 2007, iTunes accidentally put the album on sale two weeks before its official release, then removed the option to purchase a day later. It is unknown how many people purchased the album within these two days.
Wincing the Night Away
debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200
chart, selling in excess of 100,000 copies. This is the highest chart position reached by not only The Shins, but the whole Sub Pop
label as well. During the same week, it also appeared as the top album in four other category charts: Top Digital Albums, Top Rock Albums, Tastemakers, and Top Independent Albums.
In the album's second week on the Billboard 200, it fell to number eight and sold about 53,000 copies. , the album has sold 492,901 copies.
Mercer stated that the band was "stretching out" on the new album, and that the extended recording period had given them more time to develop their ideas. He hoped to address more of the "human condition" on the third album, even though it is subdermally present in the previous two albums as well. Wincing the Night Away is The Shins' most musically diverse and experimental album yet, ranging from hip-hop loops to psychedelic to Hawaiian folk to New Wave and Post-punk elements.
All songs written by James Mercer
- "Sleeping Lessons" – 3:58
- "Australia" – 3:57
- "Pam Berry" – 0:57
- "Phantom Limb" – 4:48
- "Sea Legs" – 5:23
- "Red Rabbits" – 4:33
- "Turn on Me" – 3:41
- "Black Wave" – 3:19
- "Split Needles" – 3:46
- "Girl Sailor" – 3:44
- "A Comet Appears" – 3:49
The Japanese edition of the album contains two additional tracks, "Nothing at All" and "Spilt Needles" (alternate version), both taken from the "Phantom Limb" single. "Nothing at All" is also included on the album when purchased on iTunes.
- James Mercer – vocals, guitar, bass, synthesizers, ukelele, banjo, cat piano, percussion, beat and MIDI programming
- Marty Crandall – synthesizers, organ, bass, percussion
- Dave Hernandez – bass, lead guitar
- Jesse Sandoval – drums
- Chris Funk – lap steel on "Red Rabbits" and "A Comet Appears", hammered dulcimer and bouzouki on "A Comet Appears"
- Eric Johnson – backing vocals and piano on "Girl Sailor"
- Anita Robinson – backing vocals on "Phantom Limb" and "Turn On Me"
- Paloma Griffin – violin on "Red Rabbits"
- Niels Gallaway – French horn on "A Comet Appears"
- Additional assistance by Jason McGerr, Marisa Kula, Chris Jones, Bob Stark, Brian Lowe, Brian Vibberts, Kendra Lynn, Wes Johnson & Pete Tewes.
- Produced by James Mercer and Joe Chiccarelli
- Mixed by Joe Chiccarelli
- Additional production on "Australia", "Girl Sailor" and "Phantom Limb" by Phil Ek
- Recorded by Sean Flora, Hiro Ninagawa, Brian Deck and Lars Fox
- Recorded at Supernatural Sound, Oregon City, OR; The Aural Apothecary, Portland, OR; Avast! 2, Seattle, WA
- Mastered by Emily Lazar and Sarah Register at The Lodge, NYC
- Design and illustration by Robert Mercer
Notes and references