Bad Day (Daniel Powter song)

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"Bad Day"
Single by Daniel Powter
from the album Daniel Powter
Released 2005 (2005)[a]
Format
Recorded 2002
Genre Pop
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 pop song from Canadian singer Daniel Powter's self-titled debut studio album. It was written by Powter and produced by Jeff Dawson and Mitchell Froom. The former two recorded the song in 2002 but at first they could 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. Tom Whalley, a chairman of Warner Bros. Records, after hearing it in a demo tape offered a contract to Powter. This track, once without a home, ended up by being released as the lead single in Europe in early 2005.[a]

Although "Bad Day" received generally mixed critical reviews, with some music critiques finding a "universal appeal" and others claiming a lack of the depth in its lyrics, it was a commercial success. In 2005, the single charted inside the top five in more than ten countries worldwide, also becoming the most played song on European radio. 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. In 2006, It became the first song ever to sell 2 million digital copies in the U.S. and after other million was sold it was certified three-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2009. It was certified gold in the United Kingdom and Germany, and platinum in Australia and Canada, also receiving certifications in Japan, France and Denmark.

The song's accompanying music video was directed by Marc Webb and it was able to reach 9.8 million views in 2006. The video depicts two downcast people sharing a similar routine until they meet each other in the end of the video. The song was used for advertisements and television programs, most prominently as the elimination song of American Idol. Different shows and artists covered and parodied "Bad Day", including Saturday Night Live and Alvin and the Chipmunks. Powter has also performed the song on television shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Ellen DeGeneres Show and during his concert tours in North America and Europe. The success of the song made it a Powter's flagship that would be included on his later compilation albums B-Sides (2007) and Best of Me (2010).

Background and writing[edit]

After leaving college, Powter, at 20, moved to Vancouver, where he played keyboards before he started composing songs.[1][2] In 1997, he made a partnership with music producer Jeff Dawson and they recorded "Bad Day" in 2002.[1] For two weeks,[3] Powter had a melody that "wouldn't go away" from 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".[3] He then thought "bad day" would be a good choice for the chorus,[1] and wrote the lyrics partly based on his life as a struggling musician.[3] It was the last song to be composed for his album,[4] with Powter writing it in an hour during a ferry journey between Victoria and Vancouver.[5] Powter said it was not a lirically-elaborated song, but that "mostly it's about phonics. It's about words that sing great. I was mumbling something, and those words came out."[3]

Dawson and Powter included the song on a disc that was offered to record labels that requested Powter to perform in New York, but his lack of stage presence led to the label's refusal. Disappointed, he returned to Vancouver to move on because "once a record company says no, it's difficult to come around again".[1] After the failure, his new representative, Gary Stamler, played demo tapes to Tom Whalley, a chairman of Warner Bros. Records. Whalley offered a contract to Powter, who was reluctant to sign it because he considered himself mainly a songwriter.[1] He accepted the offer in April 2003 and along with Dawson and producer Mitchell Froom worked on his album and the song in Los Angeles.[1] The album was originally recorded in Powter's Vancouver apartment and Warner Bros. requested it to be rerecorded.[2] However, because Froom wanted to keep its "original feel[ing],"[6] it was just "touch[ed] up", in Powter's words.[2]

Composition[edit]

Bitching and griping about nothing. My granddad 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 [7]

"Bad Day" is a midtempo[8] pop 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] Powter's vocals range from the note of E♭4 and D♭6.[14] It features rock instrumentation[15] and "aggressive" drums, as Powter referred to it.[4] David Browne of Entertainment Weekly said it "is addressed to anyone who's feeling depressed ... but [in contrast] its grand, panoramic arrangement wants to pump you up".[16] Simon Donohue of Manchester Evening News commented its sound "seagues [sic] from boy band banality to Foo Fighters-style raucous rock".[17] According to Winston Kung of PopMatters, it is "in tune with the zeitgeist".[18]

A sample of "Bad Day", a pop rock power ballad that is accompained by a piano, drums and a rock instrumentation

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The lyrics of "Bad Day" were said to have a universal appeal by Alan Connor of BBC News Magazine as it has an "everyman breeziness" because the song's subject can be any person going through a bad daytime.[19] Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic described it as "a loping, sunny tune that pretty much has the opposite sentiment of its title".[8] Although About.com's Bill Lamb described its lyrics as having a "reassuring, comforting" tone,[20] Powter said the song "mak[es] fun of self-absorbed and narcissistic people who bitch and gripe".[6] 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".[21]

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), which also contained "Free Loop", "Lie to Me", and "Song 6".[24] In the United States it was digitally released on February 22, 2005.[25] In 2005, Warner Bros. Records released it as a CD single in Switzerland on March 4,[26] in France on March 22,[27] in Italy on May 18,[28] in Germany on May 30,[29] in Australia on June 27,[30] in the United Kingdom on July 25,[31] and in Canada on July 28.[32] Swiss and Canadian release also included "Stupid Like This", a non-album track,[26][32] while Italian, Germand and Australian versions included "Stupid Like This" and "Lost on The Stoop".[28][29][30] In France and the United Kingdom, both versions were released,[31][33][34][35] and the British release also contained the music video for "Bad Day".[35] A live-recorded version for Austrian radio station Hitradio Ö3 was included on the 2005 EP "Free Loop".[36] "Bad Day" was also included on Powter's compilation albums B-Sides (2007) and Best of Me (2010).[37]

Critical reception[edit]

The song received mixed reviews; it was praised for its composition, while reviewers felt the lyrics were not profound. Billboard's Chuck Taylor called the song "instantly memorable" and praised its instrumentation for being different "from the scores of adolescent thrust-rockers currently dominating the scene."[15] Dubbing it "elegant, timeless pop/rock",[15] Taylor qualified it as "one of the great discoveries of the year",[38] while Pete Waterman, writing for The Guardian in 2007, stated it was "one of [his] favourite songs of recent years".[39] Eric R. Danton from Hartford Courant and Erlewine classified it as the best track on the album.[8][40] In contrast, Kung said the song "pales in comparison to some of the truly strong songs" on the album Daniel Powter.[18] 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".[19] 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".[19] A writer for The Daily Edge called it "a song so sweet it gave you a toothache",[41] while a reviewer from The Scotsman called it a "horrible song".[42] Lamb said it "feels genuine" but "if you are looking for depth, this is not your song",[43] Chris Lee of Los Angeles Times said the song is "baleful but soulful",[44] and People commented "'Bad Day' may be catchy enough to overcome its trite lyrics".[45]

Accolades[edit]

"Bad Day" 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.[46] In 2006, it won the Tokio Hot 100 Award for Best Song,[47] and guaranteed Powter the Canadian Radio Music Award for Best New Group or Solo Artist—Mainstream AC.[48] In the following year, the song won a BMI Pop Award,[49] and shared the 2007 Japan Gold Disc Award for the most-downloaded international song with "You Raise Me Up" by Celtic Woman and "Dani California" by Red Hot Chili Peppers.[50] 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".[51][52] At the APRA Music Awards of 2006, it was nominated for Most Performed Foreign Work but lost to Rob Thomas's "Lonely No More".[53][54] 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.[55] It received a nomination for Best Song at the 2007 Kids' Choice Awards but lost to Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable".[56]

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.[57][58] It was also the third most downloaded song that year in Europe.[59] 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.[60][61] The song debuted on the UK Singles Chart on the issue dated August 6, 2005,[62] at number 2, its peak position, and spent 38 weeks on the chart.[63] "Bad Day" was the eleventh-best-selling single and the third-most-downloaded song in the UK in 2005.[64][65] It was the most played song on UK radio during the period 2003–08.[66] The song debuted on Irish Singles Chart at number 13 on July 28, 2005,[67] and topped it for three weeks, spending 19 weeks on the chart.[63] The song peaked at number 3 on the French Singles Chart,[63] and was the most played song on French radio in 2005.[68] It was the most played song on the German Airplay Chart in 2005.[57][69] It sold 143,600 copies to be certified silver in France,[27][70] and in Germany it was certified gold for shipment of over 150,000 copies.[71] It peaked at number one in Czech Republic,[72] at number 5 in Denmark,[63] and reached the top 10 on the singles chart in eight other European territories.[63][73][74][75]

"Bad Day" debuted at number 55 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart issue dated February 25, 2006.[76] On March 30, 2006, it reached the top spot of the chart.[77] A week before, the song had reached the top of the Hot Digital Songs chart.[78] In the following weeks, it reached number one on the Pop 100[77] and the Adult Top 40.[79] 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.[80] 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,[81] and tying to Phil Collins' "You'll Be in My Heart" as the longest-running number-one song by a solo male artist to that date.[82] "Bad Day" became the first song to sell two million digital copies in the United States in December 2006,[83][84] and was the best-selling "digital track" and "digital song" for 2006.[83] "Bad Day" has received a three-times platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for digital sales of over 3 million in September 2009.[25] It was the seventh most played song on the American radio in 2006,[83] and was the number-one song of 2006 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[85] It also performed well on other year-end charts, ranking first on Hot Digital Songs,[86] second on Hot Adult Pop Songs,[87] and third on Hot Adult Contemporary Songs.[88]

In the rest of the world, reaction to "Bad Day" was generally positive. In Canada, it was certified platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association for selling 20,000 downloads.[89] "Bad Day" peaked at number seven on the Canadian Singles Chart and at number six on the Hot Canadian Digital Singles chart.[90] In Japan, a ringtone version was certified by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for shipment of over one million copies.[91] Its "full-length ringtone" version was certified Platinum for shipment of over 250,000 copies,[92] while its "Single Track" version was certified double platinum for shipment of over 500,000 copies.[93] "Bad Day" was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipment of over 70,000 copies.[94] The song debuted at number 21 on the ARIA Charts issue dated July 4, 2005,[95] peaked at number three on the issue dated August 15, 2005,[96] and spent 20 weeks on the chart.[63] It was the 18th top single of 2005 in the year-end ARIA Charts,[97] and was the second-most-played song in the country in 2006.[98] 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.[63][99]

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) going on their daily schedules over a three-day period. Parts of the video are shown in a split-screen as they do exactly the same activity in different places. The central point of the video is when they separately paint on the same billboard, culminating in the completion of an image of a heart symbol. At the end of the video, they finally meet each other when the man offers the woman an umbrella during a rain shower as a taxi cab stops for them. 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 and premiered on Yahoo!'s website in early 2005.[b] As of August 2005, it had been streamed over a million times.[22] It was released on VH1.com on April 28, 2005,[101] and on iTunes Store for digital download on December 13, 2005.[102] It debuted on television channel VH1 on January 23 of the following year,[103] reaching the Top 20 Countdown for two weeks in March.[104][105] It was subsequently put on "heavy rotation" in April 2006, when it was played more than 50 times a week.[106] As of May 2006, this number was reduced to 30 weekly exhibitions.[107] The video was the eighth most-watched music video on the Internet, with over 9.8 million views in 2006.[83] Warner Bros. Records released the video on YouTube on October 26, 2009.[108]

Taylor said the video is "strikingly good" and "brings emotion and clarity to an artist that we are meeting for the first time".[38] In opposition, The Daily Edge called the video "drippy".[41] VH1 ranked it 17th on its Top 40 Videos of the Year in 2006.[109] 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".[110] It was nominated for Best Male Video at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards Japan[111] but "Age Age Every Knight" by DJ Ozma was the winner.[112]

Usage in other media[edit]

"Bad Day" was much-used in media to the point of Powter declaring he felt "quite detached from th[e] song. It's more like it's everybody's song."[113] 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."[19] At Christmas 2004, the song was played on a two-week advertising campaign by Coca-Cola in France.[22][114] "Bad Day" was also used in a television advertisement for Right Guard deodorant in the United Kingdom.[19][39]

The fifth season of American Idol used "Bad Day" to underscore a montage showing a contestant being eliminated.[79][115] Although it was not his decision to have it on the show,[116] Powter said, "I need every opportunity that I can to get the music out there".[19] Media considered its exposure on American Idol as a major factor in its success in the United States.[22][79][115] "Bad Day" was subsequently used in other shows, including the Brazilian series Malhação in 2005,[117] and TV Asahi's 2006 Japanese drama Regatta: Kimi to Ita Eien.[118] It was featured in Veronica Mars episode "The Bitch Is Back" in 2007,[119] and in a 2012 episode of the German show Danni Lowinski.[120] 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".[121] A FX promotional trailer for Fargo featured a muzak version of "Bad Day".[122]

"Weird Al" Yankovic wanted to parody the song in 2006 but Powter initially refused Yankovic's proposal.[123] 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.[123][124] In April 2006, "Bad Day" was parodied during a montage in 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.[3][125] 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.[126][127] It was parodied by comedy group Moron Life titled "Overplayed" and was released on MySpace in August 2006.[19][128] "Bad Day" was also 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.[129]

Live performances[edit]

Powter at the MTV Asia Awards 2006, where he performed the song live.

Powter performed "Bad Day" during the Live 8 concert in Berlin on July 2, 2005, at the Siegessäule.[22][130] He also performed the song at the MTV Asia Awards 2006 on May 6 at the Siam Paragon in Bangkok.[22][131] During the penultimate episode of American Idol on May 23, 2006, Powter performed "Bad Day" at Kodak Theatre.[132][133] On May 26, 2007, he performed the song at the Saitama Super Arena during the MTV Video Music Awards Japan.[134] Powter performed it in a duo with Japanese singer Ayaka on November 26, 2008, at Astro Hall in Harajuku, Japan.[135]

Powter has performed the song on several television shows,[13] including CD USA[136] in February 2006,[c] and Total Request Live on April 6, 2006.[22] On April 14, he sang it during the The Today Show at the Rockfeller Center in the morning,[2] and, at night, on the Late Night with Conan O'Brien.[138] He went to play it on Live with Regis and Kelly on April 18,[139] on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on April 24 and on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on April 27.[140] He performed again on Leno's and DeGeneres's shows on June 1[141] and on July 7[142] respectively, and appeared on The CBS Early Show to sing it on August 9.[4]

The song was included on the set lists for Powter's European tour,[22] in the United Kingdom,[143] and in the United States to promote its parent album.[144] 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 the slower version was prettier than the original record but that it was the "the spartan arrangement" that saved it from "montage hell.[126]

Formats and track listings[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[94] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[89] Platinum 20,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[177] Gold 4,000^
France (SNEP)[27] Silver 143,600[70]
Germany (BVMI)[71] Gold 150,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[91] Million 1,000,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[178] Gold 400,000^
United States (RIAA)[25] 3× Platinum 3,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
France Early 2005[a] Mainstream radio Warner Bros. Records
United States[24][25] February 8, 2005 Extended play
  • Warner Bros. Records
  • WEA
February 22, 2005 Digital download Warner Bros. Records
Switzerland[26] March 4, 2005 CD single Warner Music Switzerland
France[27] March 22, 2005 Warner Bros. Records
Italy[28] May 18, 2005 Maxi single
France[34] May 30, 2005 Mis
Germany[29] Warner Bros. Records
Australia[30] June 27, 2005
  • Warner Bros. Records
  • WEA
United Kingdom[31][35] July 25, 2005 CD single Warner Bros. Records
Maxi single
Canada[32] July 28, 2005 CD single WEA

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d The exactly date could not be precised but Billboard indicates that the song went to French radio after a 2004 Christmas advertisement "paved the way" to it in "early 2005".[22] Vernon Morning Star do not say where it was released but gives January 9, 2005 as its release date.[23]
  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.[100]
  3. ^ The program was recorded on February 9 and was aired on February 11.[137]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]