Utopia is the second EP by Kerli. It was released on March 19, 2013 by The Island Def Jam Music Group. Intended as Kerli's second studio album, some of the planned songs recorded leaked when it was streamed by Def Jam on a semi-private website in December 2012. Kerli replied to the leak through her Facebook by posting the following:
DOWNLOADING MUSIC ILLEGALLY IS A CRIME. If you believe in an artist, please skip your daily cup of starbucks and buy an album instead. Also, true fans don't spread unreleased music around cause they know how much it hurts the artist. And no, it is not about the money, it's about respect. Keep it real. k.
Kerli therefore pushed back the release of the album, and decided finally to release an EP in its place, with some of the songs leaked. Two songs that were written for the album, Army of Love and Zero Gravity, were released as promotional singles in 2010 and 2012 respectively prior to release of the EP's lead single in 2013 titled The Lucky Ones. Two other songs intended for the album (which were written by Kerli, Toby Gad, and Lindy Robbins) titled I Feel Immortal and Skyscraper were recorded by artists Tarja Turunen and Demi Lovato for their albums What Lies Beneath and Unbroken respectively, the latter song peaking at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100. Although Kerli's version of Skyscraper was never officially released (but leaked online in 2012), her version of I Feel Immortal titled Immortal was released on Frankenweenie Unleashed! in the same year.
Zero Gravity, Army of Love, and The Lucky Ones all charted in the top ten of Billboards Hot Dance Club Songs chart, the last two peaking at number one. Utopia peaked at number 196 on the Billboard 200 for the week of April 6.
The original title for the album was, at some point, I.Nimene, but the name was scrapped early in production. Regarding the title, Kerli explained that:
Inimene in Estonian means human. Nimene in Romanian means nobody. so I thought it would be cool to combine these two languages and make the album mean a "human" or I am nobody...
The album was also titled Weapons of Mass Creation at one point in production; however, that project was also scrapped. This incarnation of the album included the released single Army of Love, as well as many other unreleased songs with weaponry-related lyrics that have eventually surfaced onto the internet. A final track listing, however, was never revealed.
Kerli stated the album's name shared the title with one of the songs included in the project, and also that it began with an 'e'. However the final title, Utopia, does not end with an 'e' or share its name with one of the songs on the EP (or intended studio album), suggesting the album's name had changed several more times during production before the final title was chosen.
In describing Utopia, Kerli said it was "about [her] search for love and happiness" and that she underwent a "huge transformation personally" while writing it. She also noted the contrast between Love Is Deads darker, more rock-influenced sound and Utopia's more uplifting and electronic dance-influenced sound, which she analogized as "sweaty angels raving in the desert."
According to Kerli, the first track of the album, Can't Control the Kids, is about "the power that kids these days have because of technology and internet" and that "everyone with a laptop can make something amazing and share it with the rest of the world. Everyone can have a voice" and that it was that "kind of rebellious and badass energy [she] was trying to channel”. The following song, The Lucky Ones, was written after a friend's cancer scarce after which she said they had been "given a second chance". Both of these tracks are electronic dance medleys produced by Svante Halldin and Jakob Hazell (SeventyEight), the following track, also produced by SeventyEight, is the piano-driven ballad Love Me or Leave Me, which Kerli released as the iTunes Store's "countdown single" on March 5. The next track, Sugar, is a simple electronic track with acoustic elements produced by English producer and DJ Switch characterized by breathy vocals and repeated moaning from Kerli. Here and Now, the following track, is another EDM song produced by SeventyEight, and features a more progressive house influence. The album's final track, Chemical, is a softer piano ballad written solely by Kerli and produced by Vespertine.
The artwork for the EP was designed by photographer Brian Ziff and artist Natalia Shau, who designed the artwork for Kerli's debut studio album Love Is Dead. The buildings that can be seen in the background of some photos, are from Wat Rong Khun, better known as The White Temple, a contemporary, unconventional, privately owned, art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand. The structure is almost completely white and "filled with unbelievable detail, intricacy, mosaics of mirrors, and magical and bizarre statues".
- Army of Love was the first promotional single, released on April 12, 2011. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Songs Chart. The music video for the song was released on December 16, 2010.
- Zero Gravity was the second promotional single, released on March 20, 2012, with the music video. On January 20, 2012, Kerli announced via Facebook that she would be shooting the music video for the first single in 5 days, still keeping the long-awaited title of the single a secret. Production for the video started on 1/25/12, and the single was confirmed by many, to be Zero Gravity.
- The Lucky Ones the lead single from the EP. It was released on October 29, 2012.
In an interview with PopBytes on Vimeo, Kerli said that the other singles were supposed to be Love Me or Leave Me and Can't Control the Kids respectively, with their respective music videos, however the songs never became singles and no music videos were shots. Template:Hover
|1.||Can't Control the Kids||Kerli Kõiv, Svante Clas Halldin, Jakob Gustav Hazell||SeventyEight||3:08|
|2.||The Lucky Ones||Kõiv, Halldin, Hazell||SeventyEight||3:54|
|3.||Love Me or Leave Me||Kõiv, Halldin, Hazell||SeventyEight||4:10|
|4.||Sugar||Kõiv, David James Andrew Taylor||Switch||3:26|
|5.||Here and Now||Kõiv, Halldin, Hazell||SeventyEight||3:49|
|6.||Chemical||Kõiv||Kõiv, Brian Cameron Ziff||2:47|
|7.||The Lucky Ones (Syn Cole Vs. Kerli)||Kõiv, Halldin, Hazell||SeventyEight, Syn Cole||3:07|
Original track listing
|1.||The Lucky Ones||Kõiv, Halldin, Hazell||SeventyEight||3:54|
|2.||Can't Control the Kids||Kõiv, Halldin, Hazell||SeventyEight||3:08|
|4.||Kaleidoscope||Kõiv, Halldin, Hazell||SeventyEight||3:38|
|5.||Love Me or Leave Me||Kõiv, Halldin, Hazell||SeventyEight||4:10|
|6.||Zero Gravity||Kõiv, Halldin, Hazell||SeventyEight||3:51|
|7.||Speed Limit||Kõiv||Free School Music||2:53|
|8.||Made for Loving You||Kõiv, Halldin, Hazell||SeventyEight|
|9.||Last Breath||Kõiv, Jonas Jeberg||Jonas Jeberg||3:37|
|10.||Supergirl||Kõiv||Oliver Goldstein, Josh Abraham||4:07|
|11.||Chemical||Kõiv, Ziff||Kõiv, Ziff||2:47|
|12.||Here and Now||Kõiv, Halldin, Hazell||SeventyEight||3:49|
- Most of the songs intended to be included on the unreleased second album leaked in December 2012, including: Last Breath, Sugar, Chemical, Love Me or Leave Me, Kaleidoscope, Here and Now, and Can't Control the Kids. The album was then pushed back indefinitely and an EP released in its place, featuring some of the leaked songs.
- Made for Loving You remains currently unleaked.
Credits and personnel
- Main article: Utopia's credits and personnel
Credits adapted from the Utopia liner notes.
- Kerli – background and lead vocals, songwriter (1,2,3,4,5,6), producer (6)
- Carl Bagge – string arranger (3)
- Claudia Bonfiglioli – strings (3)
- Erik Holm – strings (3)
- Tomas Lundström – strings (3)
- SeventyEight – drums, keyboards, songwriter, producer (1,2,3,5)
- Switch – mixer, producer, songwriter (4)
- Fredrik Syberg – strings (3)
- Phil Tan – mixer (1,2,3,5)
- Danny Taylor – songwriter (4)
- Vespertine – keyboards, producer (6)
Upon release, Utopia received positive reviews from music critics. David Jeffries of AllMusic said perhaps the extra material would help explain the dance diva's evolution from gothic to grand dame, but she's just as persuasive here with this more positive material, especially during the you-only-live-once dance anthem The Lucky Ones.
- Main article: Utopia photoshoot by Brian Ziff
- Leak: Kerli – Skyscraper (Studio Demo). August 12, 2012. Pop On And On.
- Template:Cite formspring
- Template:Cite formspring
- Utopia on Earth: The White Temple. BubbleGothPrincess. March 20, 2014. Buzznet. (English).
- PopBytes Interviews Kerli on Vimeo. April 20, 2013.