Bad Day (Daniel Powter song)

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"Bad Day"
Single by Daniel Powter
from the album Daniel Powter
Released February 22, 2005
Format
Recorded 2002
Genre Pop rock
Length 3:54
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Daniel Powter
Producer(s)
Daniel Powter singles chronology
"Bad Day"
(2005)
"Free Loop"
(2005)

"Bad Day" is a song written and recorded by Canadian singer-songwriter Daniel Powter. Powter and producer Jeff Dawson recorded the song in 2002 but at first they cound not find a label to release it. The song was first used in a French Coca-Cola television advertisement at Christmas 2004 before its official release. A piano-infused pop rock power ballad, it was released by Warner Bros. Records as the lead single for his self-titled debut studio album in Europe in early 2005.[a]

Although "Bad Day" received generally mixed critical reviews, it was a commercial success. In 2005, it was the most played song on European radio, having topped the Irish Singles Chart and peaked at number two on the European Hot 100 Singles and on the UK Singles Chart. After its success in Europe, it was brought to the United States, where it topped Billboard‍ '​s Hot 100, Pop 100, Adult Top 40 and Adult Contemporary charts. It was the first song ever to sell 2 million digital copies in the U.S. and was certified three-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

The song's accompanying music video was directed by Marc Webb and was also successful, registering 10 million views in 2006. The song was often used for advertisements and for television programs, most prominently as the elimination song of American Idol. Different shows and artists covered and parodied "Bad Day", and Powter has performed the song on television and during his concert tours.

Background and writing[edit]

After leaving college, Powter moved to Vancouver; he initially played keyboards before he started composing songs. In 1997, he made a partnership with music producer Jeff Dawson and they recorded "Bad Day" in 2002.[1] For two weeks,[2] Powter had a melody that "wouldn't go away" in his mind.[1] Thinking of a lyric that would fit the melody, he thought an "up and poppy" lyric would make it "the cheesiest song of all time".[2] He then thought "bad day" would be a good choice for the chorus;[1] the lyrics Powter wrote were partly based on his life as a struggling musician.[2] Powter said of the song, "mostly it's about phonics. It's about words that sing great. I was mumbling something, and those words came out."[2] "Bad Day" was the last song to be composed for Daniel Powter;[3] Powter wrote it in an hour during a ferry journey between Victoria and Vancouver.[4]

Dawson and Powter included the song on a disc that was offered to record labels, which required Powter to perform in New York, but his lack of stage presence led to the label's refusal. Powter returned to Vancouver because he "got killed" and "decided to forget about it" because "once a record company says no, it's difficult to come around again".[1] After the failure, Powter's new representative, Gary Stamler, played Powter's demo tapes to Tom Whalley, a chairman of Warner Bros. Records. Whalley offered Powter a contract; Powter was reluctant to sign it because he considered himself mainly as a songwriter.[1] He accepted the offer in April 2003 and along with Dawson and producer Mitchell Froom, he began finishing his album in Los Angeles.[1] The album was originally recorded in Powter's Vancouver apartment; it was not modified because Froom wanted to keep its "original feel[ing]."[5]

Composition[edit]

Bitching and griping about nothing. My granddad [sic] used to say to me, 'There's better people who are worse off than you,' and I always remember that. It's a song about trying to make people feel better. I'm making fun of you, but at the same time making fun of myself.

Powter's comment about the song's subject [6]

"Bad Day" is a midtempo[7] pop rock[8] power ballad,[9][10][11] performed in a moderate groove and accompanied by a piano.[12][13] The song is composed in the key E♭ major, and uses syncopated 16th-note rhythms.[12] It features rock instrumentation[14] and drums; Powter dubbed the latter "aggressive".[3] David Browne of Entertainment Weekly said it "is addressed to anyone who's feeling depressed ... but its grand, panoramic arrangement wants to pump you up".[15] Simon Donohue of Manchester Evening News said its sound "seagues [sic] from boy band banality to Foo Fighters-style raucous rock".[16] According to Winston Kung of PopMatters, it is "in tune with the zeitgeist".[17]

The lyrics of "Bad Day" are about somebody who had a bad day. Alan Connor of BBC News Magazine said it has a universal appeal because it has "everyman breeziness" because the song's subject can be anyone.[18] Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic described it as "a loping, sunny tune that pretty much has the opposite sentiment of its title".[7] Although About.com's Bill Lamb described its lyrics as having a "reassuring, comforting" tone,[19] Powter said the song "mak[es] fun of self-absorbed and narcissistic people who bitch and gripe".[5] He also affirmed, "It's not literally about having a bad day, it's more about not taking yourself too seriously and complaining about trivial things".[20]

Release[edit]

"Bad Day" was first released to three French radio stations—RTL, NRJ, and Europe 2—in early 2005.[a] On February 8, Barnes & Noble released it on an exclusive extended play (EP).[22] In the United States it was digitally released on February 22, 2005.[23] In 2005, Warner Bros. Records released it as a CD single in Switzerland on March 4,[24] in France on March 22,[25] in Italy on May 18,[26] in Germany on May 30,[27] in Australia on June 27,[28] in the United Kingdom on July 25,[29] and in Canada on July 28.[30] A version recorded live by Austrian radio station Hitradio Ö3 was included on the 2005 EP "Free Loop".[31] "Bad Day" was also included on Powter's compilation albums B-Sides (2007) and Best of Me (2010).[32]

Critical reception[edit]

Billboard‍‍ '​‍s Chuck Taylor called the song "one of the great discoveries of the year".[33] In 2007, Pete Waterman writing for The Guardian said it was "[o]ne of [his] favourite songs of recent years".[34] Chris Lee of Los Angeles Times said the song is "baleful but soulful".[35] Eric R. Danton from Hartford Courant and Erlewine said it was the best track on the album,[7][36] and People said "'Bad Day' may be catchy enough to overcome its trite lyrics".[37] Alan Connor of BBC News Magazine said it is a typical sentimental song but that in "Bad Day"'s case "there's even less detail".[18] He said the song "is so low on the specifics, there are some couplets that feel like they've been translated from a foreign language, possibly by a computer".[18] Lamb said it "feels genuine" but "if you are looking for depth, this is not your song".[38] Kung said the song "pales in comparison to some of the truly strong songs" on the album Daniel Powter.[17] A writer for The Daily Edge called it "a song so sweet it gave you a toothache".[39] while a reviewer from The Scotsman called it a "horrible song".[40]

In 2006, "Bad Day" won the Tokio Hot 100 Award for Best Song,[41] and the Canadian Radio Music Award for Best New Group or Solo Artist—Mainstream AC.[42] In the following year, it won a BMI Pop Award.[43] The song was nominated for Hot 100 Single of the Year at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards but the winner was Nelly Furtado's "Promiscuous".[44][45] At the APRA Music Awards of 2006, it was nominated for Most Performed Foreign Work but lost to Rob Thomas's "Lonely No More".[46][47] In 2007, it was nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards but "Waiting on the World to Change" by John Mayer won the award.[48] It received a nomination for Best Song at the 2007 Kids' Choice Awards but lost to Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable".[49]

Chart performance[edit]

"Bad Day" topped Nielsen Music Control's Pan European Airplay 100 to be the most played song on European radio stations in 2005.[50][51] It was also the third most downloaded song that year in Europe.[52] On Billboard‍ '​s European Hot 100 Singles it peaked at number 2 for the weekly chart, while it placed seventh on its year-end chart.[53][54] In France, the song peaked at number 2 on the airplay chart,[55] and was the most played song on French radio in 2005.[56] It peaked at number 3 on the French Singles Chart,[57] and sold 143,600 copies to be certified silver by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP).[25][58] It peaked at number 17 on the German Singles Chart,[57] topped the German Airplay Chart, and was the most played song on the chart in 2005.[50][59] In Germany, it was certified gold by the Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI) for shipment of over 150,000 copies.[60] It peaked at number 5 on the Danish singles chart,[57] and was certified gold by the IFPI Denmark for shipment of over 20,000 copies.[61] It peaked at number one in Czech Republic,[62] and reached the top 10 on the singles chart for the Belgian territories Flanders and Wallonia,[63] in Italy, in the Netherlands, Norway,[57] Poland,[64] Portugal,[65] Sweden, Switzerland,[57] and the top 20 in Austria.[57]

The song debuted on the UK Singles Chart on the issue dated August 6, 2005,[66] at number 2, its peak position, and spent 38 weeks on the chart.[57] "Bad Day" was the eleventh-best-selling single of 2005;[67] it ranked 11th and 157th on the year-end UK Singles Charts of 2005 and 2006 respectively.[68][69] It topped the UK Singles Downloads Chart for five consecutive weeks, and was the third-most-downloaded song in the UK in 2005.[70] It was the most played song on UK radio during the period 2003–08.[71] The song debuted on Irish Singles Chart at number 13 on July 28, 2005,[72] and topped it for three weeks, spending 19 weeks on the chart.[57] It was ninth place on the Irish year-end chart.[73]

"Bad Day" debuted at number 55 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart issue dated February 25, 2006.[74] On March 23, 2006, the song reached the top of the Hot Digital Songs chart.[75] In the following weeks, it reached number one on the Pop 100,[76] the Adult Top 40,[77] and the Hot 100 charts.[76] "Bad Day" became the first song on the Warner Bros. label to top the Hot 100 since Cher's "Believe" in 1999,[77] and remained at number one for five consecutive weeks.[13] The feat also marked Warner's first solo male singer to top the chart since James Ingram's "I Don't Have the Heart" (1990) and the first Canadian act since Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" (2002).[77] It topped the Adult Top 40 for 12 weeks, the longest period in which a song by a lead male artist had spent on the chart.[78] It peaked at number one on the Adult Contemporary chart for 19 weeks, making it the song that spent the most time on the Adult Contemporary chart that year;[79] it equalled Phil Collins' "You'll Be in My Heart" as the longest-running number one song by a solo male artist to that date.[80]

In the US, "Bad Day" sold 1,690,814 copies by download, became the best-selling digital single in that country as of July 2006.[13] In December of the same year, it became the first song to sell 2 million digital copies in the United States,[81][82] and was the best-selling "digital track" and "digital song" for 2006.[81] "Bad Day" has received a three-times platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for digital sales of over 3 million.[23] It was the seventh most played song on the American radio in 2006,[81] and was the number one song of 2006 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[83] On other year-end charts, it ranked first on Hot Digital Songs,[84] second on Hot Adult Pop Songs,[85] third on Hot Adult Contemporary Songs,[86] fourth on Pop 100 Songs,[87] and twentieth on Hot 100 Airplay.[88]

In Japan, a ringtone version of the song was certified "million" by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for shipment of over one million copies,[89] and peaked at number 5 on the RIAJ Digital Track Chart.[90] Its "full-length ringtone" version was certified platinum for shipment of over 250,000 copies,[91] while its "Single Track" version was certified double platinum for shipment of over 500,000 copies.[92] It shared the Japan Gold Disc Award 2007 for the most downloaded international song with "You Raise Me Up" by Celtic Woman and "Dani California" by Red Hot Chili Peppers.[93]

In Canada, it was certified platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (now Music Canada) for selling 20,000 downloads.[94] "Bad Day" peaked at number seven on the Canadian Singles Chart and at number six on the Hot Canadian Digital Singles chart.[95] It won an award from the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada as one of six Canadian pop songs with the most radio airplay in 2005.[96] "Bad Day" was certified silver by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipment of over 70,000 copies.[97] The song debuted at number 21 on the ARIA Charts issue dated July 4, 2005,[98] peaked at number three on the issue dated August 15, 2005,[99] and spent 20 weeks on the chart.[57] It was the 18th top single of 2005 in the year-end ARIA Charts,[100] and was the second-most-played song in the country in 2006.[101] It peaked at number 7 in New Zealand and on the Venezuela's Pop Rock chart, appearing for 23 weeks on the former and 19 on the latter.[57][102]

Music video[edit]

Man (Jason Adelman) and woman (Samaire Armstrong) in split screen from the music video.

The music video accompanying "Bad Day" features a man (Jason Adelman) and a woman (Samaire Armstrong) waking and going about their daily schedules over a three-day period. Each day, the couple wear different clothes and separately paint on the same billboard, culminating in the completion of an image of a heart symbol. At the end of the video, the man offers the woman a red umbrella during a rain shower as a taxi cab stops for them. Parts of the video are shown in a split-screen. Throughout the video, Powter is shown playing a piano while wearing a tuque—a kind of knitted hat.

The music video was directed by Marc Webb; it premiered on Yahoo!'s website in early 2005.[b] As of August 2005, it had been streamed over a million times.[21] It was released on VH1.com on April 28, 2005,[104] and on iTunes Store for digital download on December 13, 2005.[105] It debuted on television channel VH1 on January 23, 2006,[106] reaching the Top 20 Countdown for two weeks in March.[107][108] It was subsequently put on "heavy rotation" in April 2006, when it was played more than 50 times a week.[109] As of May 2006, this number was reduced to 30 weekly exhibitions.[110] The video was the eighth-most-watched music video on the Internet, with over 9.8 million views in 2006.[81] Warner Bros. Records released the video on YouTube on October 26, 2009.[111]

Taylor said the video is "strikingly good" and "brings emotion and clarity to an artist that we are meeting for the first time".[33] In opposition, The Daily Edge called the video "drippy".[39] VH1 ranked it 17th on its Top 40 Videos of the Year in 2006.[112] At the 2006 MuchMusic Video Awards, it received a nomination for the MuchMoreMusic Award but lost to Michael Bublé's "Save the Last Dance for Me".[113] It was nominated for Best Male Video at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards Japan[114] but "Age Age Every Knight" by DJ Ozma was the winner.[115]

Usage in media, cover and parodies[edit]

"Bad Day" was much-used in media; Powter declared he felt "quite detached from th[e] song. It's more like it's everybody's song."[116] According to Connor, "turning off the radio isn't enough to escape the tune. It can be heard everywhere from in shops, on mobiles and especially on TV."[18] At Christmas 2004, the song was played on a two-week advertising campaign by Coca-Cola in France.[21][117] "Bad Day" was also used in a television advertisement for Right Guard deodorant in the United Kingdom.[18][34]

The fifth season of American Idol used "Bad Day" to underscore a montage showing a contestant being eliminated.[77][118] Although it was not his decision to have it on American Idol,[119] Powter said, "I need every opportunity that I can to get the music out there".[18] Media noted its exposure on the show was a major factor in it being a hit in the United States.[77][21][118] "Bad Day" was subsequently used in other shows, including the Brazilian series Malhação in 2005,[120] and TV Asahi's 2006 Japanese drama Regatta: Kimi to Ita Eien.[121] It was featured in Veronica Mars episode "The Bitch Is Back" in 2007,[122] and in a 2012 episode of the German show Danni Lowinski.[123] In 2014, the song was used as a ringtone for Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in an episode of Elementary titled "The One Percent Solution".[124] A FX promotional trailer for Fargo featured a muzak version of "Bad Day".[125]

"Weird Al" Yankovic wanted to parody the song in 2006 but Powter initially refused Yankovic's proposal.[126] Later, when Powter called to give Yankovic permission to record his parody, which would have been called "You Had a Bad Date", Yankovic told Powter that "the train had left the station", having recorded "White & Nerdy" the day before.[126][127] In April 2006, "Bad Day" was parodied during a montage on an episode of the television series Saturday Night Live, featuring a montage of former member of the United States House of Representatives Tom DeLay on the song.[2][128] The Daily Show used the song for an American Idol-based montage satirizing the June 2006 death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.[129][130] It was parodied by comedy group Moron Life titled "Overplayed" and was released on MySpace in August 2006.[18][131]

"Bad Day" was covered by Kidz Bop and included on its albuns Kidz Bop 10 (2006) and Kidz Bop Greatest Hits (2009).[132][133] In the following year, Paul Anka covered the song and included it on his album Classic Songs, My Way.[18][134] It was covered by the fictional music group Alvin and the Chipmunks for their 2007 film Alvin and the Chipmunks.[9] Their version made the charts in January 2008, peaking at number 67 on the Billboard Hot 100.[135] The Maccabeats, an all-male a cappella group based at Yeshiva University recorded an a cappella version of the song on their 2010 album, Voices from the Heights.[136] Canadian singer Garou also covered "Bad Day" in his 2012 album, Rhythm and Blues.[137]

Live performances[edit]

Powter at the MTV Asia Awards 2006 in Bangkok, where he performed it live

Powter performed "Bad Day" at the Live 8 concert in Berlin on July 2, 2005, at the Siegessäule.[21][138] He also performed the song at the MTV Asia Awards 2006 on May 6 at the Siam Paragon in Bangkok.[21][139] During the penultimate episode of American Idol on May 23, 2006, Powter performed "Bad Day" at Kodak Theatre.[140][141] On May 26, 2007, he performed the song at the Saitama Super Arena during the MTV Video Music Awards Japan.[142] Powter performed it in a duo with Japanese singer Ayaka on November 26, 2008, at Astro Hall in Harajuku, Japan.[143]

Powter has performed the song on several television shows, including Total Request Live,[21] The Today Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Live with Regis and Kelly, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Ellen DeGeneres Show,[13] and The CBS Early Show.[3] The song was included on the set lists for Powter's European tour,[21] in the United Kingdom,[144] and in the United States to promote its parent album.[145] In a performance in Chicago's Park West venue during the American tour, Andy Downing of Chicago Tribune called the song "a high point" of the show, and said it "was slower and prettier than on record, [with] the spartan arrangement nearly rescuing the tune from montage hell".[129]

Formats and track listings[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b The exactly date could not be precised but Billboard indicates that the song went to these radios after a 2004 Christmas advertisement "paved the way" to radios in "early 2005".[21]
  2. ^ The precise date could not be found, but the earliest archive available through Wayback Machine for Yahoo's Daniel Powter page is dated April 25, 2005. On this date, the music video for "Bad Day" was already accessible.[103]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]