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« Rewire Your Teenager | Main | Bail for Bale »

July 25, 2008

’Wallpaper Music’

Something about the commonality and community of all humanity makes even a bad song universally loved, or at least liked, maybe tolerated.

Is that the appeal of Daniel Powter's "Bad Day"? Or is it simply the power of marketing to create ubiquity? I mean, no doubt you have heard this song.

There are theories as to its appeal.

So what is it that propels this, [and] a handful of other songs, in the prosperous league of wallpaper music?

"It's got one of those three- or four-word lyrics that means something to everyone's everyday life," says Russell Hier of SonyBMG. "No-one wants a bad day, but everybody has one."

Well, I guess, there's something to that. It might also be, in addition to that, the listener hopes for someone like the singer to be in his/her life, commiserating with their "bad day," and offering an umbrella to ward off the rain. Or the universal acquiescence to this tune could be that we can't get away from it since it's in so many commercials and TV shows.

I don't know. I'm going to go pop in some Cash.

(HT Reveries)

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Comments

Paul

I would like to say, that as a non-TV watcher, I have never heard this song before. I guess you could say that I have never heard of a "Bad Day"? (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) Not only do I not watch TV, but I don't listen to the Radio, only my iPod on my commute. I would also add to that that I really don't like most music videos that I see. Bordering on hating most music videos.

With that caveat, I really enjoyed the song and the music video itself. I smiled at the end, and felt what might have been the beginnings of a tear in the corner of my eye.

Perhaps because I have never heard it and have therefore been immune from getting tired of hearing it, I was able to enjoy it.

I do however think that your assessment that "the listener hopes for someone like the singer to be in his/her life, commiserating with their "bad day," and offering an umbrella to ward off the rain." is right on the mark. The true reality is that we do have someone that we can rely on and run to when we have a bad day. That doesn't mean we still won't have bad days (as much as we might wish otherwise), is simply means that there is a safe person (Jesus) who knows us and loves us. And I think that is what the music video speaks to, that universally, we long to be known and loved.

Paul

Gina Dalfonzo

Paul, that was me with "My Heart Will Go On." Seriously. Somehow I kept missing that song when it was everywhere 24/7 -- I even went to the movie and didn't hear it (must have left before it was played). By the time Celine Dion sang it at the Oscars, when everyone else was going, "OHMYGOSH I'M SO SICK OF THAT SONG I CAN'T STAND IT ONE MORE TIME YUCK GO AWAY!!!" I was thinking, "Hmm, never heard that before. Kind of pretty for a pop ballad." :-)

Not that I didn't get tired of it myself before long -- it doesn't hold up too well to repeated listenings. But it just goes to show that one of the biggest problems with some of these songs isn't that they're outright horrible, just that they're overexposed.

CLH

First, kill all the marketers. ... I'm kidding!! I don't think this song is horrible either -- just mostly the ubiquity. (Paul, it's even at the mall, which I'm sure you also avoid. At least I do.) But other songs, mentioned in the article linked above the vid, have addressed the same issue more artistically, thoughtfully -- I'm thinking mainly "Everybody Hurts" by REM (not a word, Allen). Even "Bad Day's" author brushes off the lyrics:

"It's about phonics. It's about words that sing great. I was mumbling something, and those words came out."

Well, at least he's humble. I'm guessing that's the attitude behind his remarks above. ( :

Susannah

It's new to me, too.

(No tv)

Chris Clukey

I do dislike this song...but I liked the parody version "Band Aid" a lot.

"I caught a grenade...do you have a band aid?"

Kari

I admit I heard that song for the first time a few weeks ago, and I... really like it. The only thing on the local radio is bad hip-hop so it's not like I've been Bad-Day'd out. I deliberately seek the music video out and watch it when I feel down because the ending just makes me smile.

The songs I'm all sick of have virtually no redeeming value but get a lot of radio airtime in my city.

Sheri

I agree that it's the ubiquity that is cloying. Like ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. After a day or two (-: it's hard to take!

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