Life in Mono

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For the Emma Bunton album, see Life in Mono (album).
"Life in Mono"
Single by Mono
from the album Formica Blues
Released 1996
Format CD, 12-inch
Genre Trip hop
Length 3:34
Label Echo
Producer(s) Martin Virgo, Jim Abbiss
Mono singles chronology
"Life in Mono"

"Life in Mono" is a song by UK band Mono, which consisted of singer Siobhan de Maré and musician Martin Virgo. It was released on the band's first EP in 1996 which contained various remixes, most notably two by the Propellerheads. It was released again in 1997 on the band's only album, Formica Blues.

The song was used as the theme to the 1998 version of the movie Great Expectations (reportedly chosen by actor Robert De Niro),[1] appearing in the Daria episode "Monster", as well as being used for the launch television advert for the new Rover 25. It was covered by Emma Bunton in 2006 for her third album, also titled Life in Mono.

Billboard called the song's usage in Great Expectations an example of film music that "works", citing its "anguished" lyrics as complementary to Ethan Hawke's character's predicaments, and comparing de Maré's voice to those of Roberta Flack and Billie Holiday.[2]

The chorus consisted of "ingenue, I just don't know what to do" repeated, and was noted for using the American/British pronunciation (and not the French pronunciation) of "ingenue"; the word was a late addition in songwriting, to rhyme with "I just don't know what to do".[3]

In the U.S., Mercury Records marketed the single in a campaign aimed to "build awareness at both the radio and club levels", shipping promotional singles to modern rock-format radio stations on 10 February, and to nightclubs at about the same time.[4] Promotion to Top 40 stations followed later on.[5] The single's sales only allowed it to chart in the lower echelons of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 70 (though it did reach at least 19 on the Top Heatseekers chart),[6] but radio airplay and requests allowed it to reach 28 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.[7]

In 2006, British singer-songwriter Emma Bunton covered the song for her third album of the same name.


  1. ^ James, Martin (11 October 1997), "Mono double-edged, low-phat pop", Melody Maker, 74 (41), p. 12, ISSN 0025-9012 
  2. ^ Bell, Carrie (25 April 1998), "The modern age", Billboard, 110 (17), p. 77, ISSN 0006-2510 
  3. ^ Anderson, Jason (16 April 1998). "Getting Back to Mono". Eye Weekly. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  4. ^ Paoletta, Michael (28 February 1998), "Mercury's Mono evades pop stereotypes with 'Blues'", Billboard, 110 (9), pp. 36–37, ISSN 0006-2510 
  5. ^ "Mono - Restarting the UK Attack - And This Time Taking No Prisoners". Dotmusic. April 1998. Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. Retrieved 2007-01-27. 
  6. ^ "Latest News". Official Mono website. 1998. Archived from the original on 1999-10-10. Retrieved 2007-01-26. 
  7. ^ " - Artist Chart History - Mono". Retrieved 2006-10-08. 

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