The Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda Files: Idlewild’s Attempt To Speak “American”

Nov 17th, 2006 // 5 Comments

a-english.jpgTime for another installment of the Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda Files, where we blow the dust off of a forgotten favorite and give its lack of chart success a once-over.

Artist: Idlewild
Song: “American English,” 2002
What happened: “American English” was on this Scottish band’s pretty decent fourth album, The Remote Part. The song peaked at No. 15 on the UK singles chart, but The Remote Part on the whole barely made a dent in the States, despite the band’s opening slot for Pearl Jam on the Riot Act tour.
Why it should have been a hit: The slow build, the chiming guitars, the lighter-worthy chorus–why was “American English” not pegged to score a climactic love scene on some WB show? We’re guessing that the allergy to British rock bands on this side of the pond got in the way of this song’s success–not to mention that its lyrics about “contracting the American dream” probably confused patriotically skittish radio programmers.

Idlewild – American English [MP3, link expired]
Idlewild [Official site]


  1. joe bananas

    i always thought this song would have been the perfect REM comeback single. in a good way.

  2. Slappy McJackass

    Yeah, 100 Broken Windows and The Remote Part were both back to back stellar albums. The band is bunch of seriously nice guys, too. Very polite – not an adjective frequently associated with Scotsmen. They even intervened and apologized when Brian Molko of Placebo very nearly tried to assualt me for reasons that are stilll quite mysterious to everyone present.

  3. hndinglove

    idlewild is by far one of the most underrated and under-appreciated bands going right now. the remote part is one of the best albums of this decade so far. roddy woomble’s recent solo disc is also fantastic.

  4. Roy

    The Remote Part is one of the most underrated discs of the decade. Just an absolutely amazing disc from a great band that never gets its due in the U.S.

  5. k8

    Definitely underrated — I continue to put American English and Blame It On Obvious Ways on mix CDs pretty regularly and everyone always raves. I think the theory about the allergy to Brit rock is a good one — Idlewild seems to have come just slightly late in the game to really steal the hearts of American audiences already sold out to Travis, Coldplay, etc. I love them though. How can you not dig a band who proudly takes their name from Anne of Green Gables? Come on…

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