Things Can Only Get Better (D:Ream song)

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For the song by Howard Jones, see Things Can Only Get Better (Howard Jones song).
"Things Can Only Get Better"
Dream-things can only get better s.jpg
Single by D:Ream
from the album D:Ream On Volume 1
Released 10 January 1993
Recorded Aosis Studios
Genre Dance music
Pop music
Label Magnet Records
Writer(s) Peter Cunnah and Jamie Petrie
Producer(s) D:Ream and Tom Frederikse
D:Ream singles chronology
U R The Best Thing
Things Can Only Get Better
U R The Best Thing (Re-release)

"Things Can Only Get Better" is a song by Northern Irish musical group D:Ream. The Labour Party notably used it as a theme during the party's 1997 campaign.[1]

The song took several months to reach the top of the UK Singles Chart. Originally a club hit, pop success took much longer for the song – initially it reached only number 24 on the chart, in January 1993. Band member Al Mackenzie left later that year, and remaining member Peter Cunnah took the band in a more pop-friendly direction. "Things Can Only Get Better" was remixed and became a bigger hit, spending four weeks at number one in January 1994.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

As a campaign song[edit]

In 1997 the track was adopted by the UK Labour Party as their theme for the 1997 UK General Election (the title claiming that things "cannot get worse"), as Labour's campaign was that the United Kingdom was in a dire state after 18 years of Tory government under first Margaret Thatcher and then John Major, and the Labour Party said they could fix the problems of the country.

On the back of this use it returned to the chart reaching number 19 in May 1997, when Labour returned to power with Tony Blair as prime minister, replacing John Major's Conservative party as the party in government, with one of the biggest landslides in British political history.

John O'Farrell used the song title as the title of his book about Labour's 18 years in opposition. Later, lead singer Peter Cunnah admitted mixed feelings about the use of the song as part of the election campaign.


In 2013, the song was adopted as a chant by fans of Sunderland A.F.C. after the teams revival under manager Gus Poyet. Supporters of Sunderland launched a campaign to get the song back into the chart to coincide with their team's Capital One Cup Final on 2 March 2014 at Wembley Stadium. On 3 March 2014, the song re-entered in the UK Dance Chart at number 19.[3][4]

In an interview on the TV programme Charlie Brooker's 2016 Wipe, D:Ream's keyboard player Professor Brian Cox (who did not actually play on the track) reflected on the song, calling it "one of the most misleading and scientifically inaccurate pop songs that's ever been written".[5]


Chart (1993–94) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[6] 9
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[7] 23
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[8] 10
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[9] 2
Germany (Official German Charts)[10] 20
Ireland (IRMA) 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[11] 20
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[12] 46
Scottish Singles Chart[13] 4
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[14] 7
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[15] 11
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) 1
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 7
Preceded by
"Twist and Shout" by Chaka Demus & Pliers
UK Singles Chart number-one single
16 January 1994
Succeeded by
"Without You" by Mariah Carey


  1. ^ "Farewell to Cool Britannia". Daily Mail. 5 May 2007. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 562–3. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ "Campaign to get 1990s Sunderland anthem Things Can Only Get Better to No1". Sunderland Echo. 2014-02-24. Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  4. ^ David Boyle (2014-01-12). "Adam Johnson puts stunning Sunderland in D:Ream-land | Metro News". Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  5. ^ Cox, Brian (29 Dec 2016). "Charlie Brooker's 2016 Wipe" (Interview). Interview with Diane Morgan. BBC. 
  6. ^ " – D:Ream – Things Can Only Get Better". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  7. ^ " – D:Ream – Things Can Only Get Better" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  8. ^ " – D:Ream – Things Can Only Get Better" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  9. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5. 
  10. ^ " – D:Ream Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  11. ^ " – D:Ream – Things Can Only Get Better" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  12. ^ " – D:Ream – Things Can Only Get Better". Top 40 Singles.
  13. ^
  14. ^ " – D:Ream – Things Can Only Get Better". Singles Top 100.
  15. ^ " – D:Ream – Things Can Only Get Better". Swiss Singles Chart.