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Bad Day (Daniel Powter) (Canada)
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The most successful singer in 2005 in the US. A great video. A very sad song full of hope.

Where is the moment when needed the most
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost
They tell me your blue skies fade to grey
They tell me your passion's gone away
And I don't need no carryin' on

You stand in the line just to hit a new low
You're faking a smile with the coffee you go
You tell me your life's been way off line
You're falling to pieces everytime
And I don't need no carryin' on

'Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work on a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down and you really don't mind
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

Well you need a blue sky holiday
The point is they laugh at what you say
And I don't need no carryin' on

You had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work on a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down and you really don't mind
You had a bad day

(Oh.. Holiday..)

Sometimes the system goes on the brink
And the whole thing turns out wrong
You might not make it back and you know
That you could be well all that strong
And I'm not wrong

So where is the passion when you need it the most
Oh you and I
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost

Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work on a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
You've seen what you like
And how does it feel for one more time
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

Had a bad day
Had a bad day

YOU KICK UP THE LEAVES AND THE MAGIC IS LOST= Children and happy people in general like kicking up the leaves off the ground (when there are lots of them together, in autumn). For some reason that gesture makes us feel happy, like there’s something magical about it. But she’s so depressed that she can’t find no magic in that anymore. Kicking the leaves is a metaphor for any of those little things that make life look good.

YOUR BLUE SKIES FADE TO GREY= When something fades, it slowly disappears or deteriorates. If a colour fades to black or to grey, it loses intensity until the tone disappears. A blue sky is a symbol of happiness and a grey (or gray) sky is covered with clouds, a symbol of sadness.

CARRY ON= This phrasal may mean “to continue”, but it also means “to behave in an excited, improper, or silly manner”, which is the sense here.

I DON’T NEED NO CARRYIN’ ON= I don’t want to suffer your stupid behaviour. She’s depressed but doing nothing to stop it, she’s just making things worse, doing depressing things to get worse (a very typical behaviour in depressed people). But with this expression he doesn’t really mean “I’m sick and tired of your silly behaviour”, what he means is “Please, stop being silly and react! Do something”.

TO HIT A NEW LOW= If you hit a new low you’re situation gets even worse, even when it seemed impossible to get worse.

YOU STAND IN THE LINE JUST TO HIT A NEW LOW= To stand in the line is to queue waiting to get something, so if you stand in the line to hit a new low, you have given up, you thing life is terrible and it will get worse for sure, you’re just waiting for it to get worse.

FAKE= If something is a fake, it is false. If you fake something, you try to make people believe that it’s true, but it’s not. So to fake a smile is to try to smile, but everybody can see that it’s not a real smile, you’re just pretending.

OFF LINE= Disconnected. We can use WAY to emphasize (like “really”), so WAY OFF LINE is very much disconnected.

FALL TO PIECES= When you fall to pieces you feel desperate and broken, you collapse emotionally, you break down.

YOU’RE TAKING ONE DOWN= To take one down usually means to drink an alcoholic drink. So her bad day is like a drink, she takes it and drinks it just as if it was a natural thing to do. I think.

YOU SING A SAD SONG JUST TO TURN IT AROUND= She insists on having a pessimistic view on life, so one of the things she does is signing sad songs, because that helps you feel sad. So when life is nice, she knows how to “turn it around”, how to transform it into the opposite.

YOU TELL ME DON’T LIE= You tell me: “Don’t lie”. He is trying to convince her that life is beautiful, but she doesn’t believe him.

YOU WORK ON A SMILE= She tries to smile, though it is difficult.

YOU GO FOR A RIDE= It’s like going for a walk, but in a car (a ride is a car trip). But you can also use this expression meaning just “to go for a walk”:

THE CAMERA DON’T LIE= This is objective, everybody can see that. Just in the same way as a camera takes a picture of reality just as it is, with no changes. It should be DOESN’T, because it’s 3rd person singular, but in colloquial English (esp. AmE) you often forget about that –S.

YOU’RE COMING BACK DOWN= To come down is to get depressed, so this sentence means “you’re getting depressed again”. The verb particle BACK often means that the action is repeated or reverts to its original state (you were down and now you’re coming down again).

THE POINT IS...= What happens is that...

THE SYSTEM GOES ON THE BRINK= If a machine is on the brink it is reaching the limit and it’s probably going to explode or break down dramatically.

THE WHOLE THING= All the thing, the complete thing.

TURNS OUT= If something turns out in a particular way, it has that result.

YOU MIGHT NOT MAKE IT BACK= Maybe you won’t recover.

YOU’VE SEEN WHAT YOU LIKE= This sentence may have two meanings, both are possible so you choose one:

1- Your perception is not real, you only see what you want to see. You see things through a dark filter and everything looks terrible (as oppose to the camera, that doesn’t lie).

2- Finally you have seen something that you really like, what you were looking for, so how about trying that again? (“how does it feel for one more time?”), that would be the beginning of the end to her depression, and we hope that thing she likes is his love for her.

Personally, I go for option 2. Not because it's the most probable (both are), but because it's the most beautiful, and it fits 100% with the video.

This video is so good that it’s difficult to think of the meaning of this song without considering the story on the video. A boy and a girl. The boy likes her but she’s so negative about life that she can’t see anything good in it. Nothing. She can’t even notice the boy because that would be something positive. But he insists on showing her that life is good. They express their opposing points of view through the underground poster drawings they make; he always trying to change her negative views and offering protection from the rain and the taxi splash. Finally he draws a question mark (will you let me be the one to protect you?) and she accepts by transforming it into a heart. So at the end of the video we have the boy sheltering her from the rain, and the story has a happy ending: she finally found out that life can bring you that magical moment that can light everything up and your bad days are over.

The song is not so positive, because there is no ending, but also tries to bring hope into the life of a hopelessly negative person who is deeply depressed. Like on the video, she can’t see anything positive in life, and he is trying to make her understand that life is beautiful, life is not the problem, she just had a bad day, but things can go better if she tries. It is not life, but her attitude to life what makes it all look so negative.

They’re not into a relationship, because he mostly knows about her true dark feelings through other people (“they tell me your blue skies fade to gray...”), but they know each other, because he is suffering her silly behaviour (“And I don’t need no carrying on”). So, like on the video, he’s probably trying to help her because he loves her and wants to be with her.

She doesn’t express her true feelings to anyone, she pretends everything’s fine (“You’re faking a smile”), but it shows (“The camera don’t lie”) and everybody notices because it’s so obvious (“The point is they laugh at what you say”). But she’s not making an effort to get out of this, quite on the contrary, she’s dragging herself down into a deeper depression (“You sing a sad song just to turn it around”, “You’re coming back down and you really don’t mind”). But now the situation is serious, if she goes on like that, she can really break down irreversibly (“Sometimes the system goes on the brink and the whole thing turns out wrong. You might not make it back.”).

She really needs to change her point of view (“You need a blue sky holiday”). And he’s there for her, he believes in her and tries to convince her that all that is nothing but just “a bad day”, something temporary she can move out of. But she needs to be strong and stand up again (“you know that you could be well all that strong and I'm not wrong”). What she needs is to bring passion back into her life (“Where is the passion when you need it the most?”), and he is ready to bring that passion for her (“Oh, you and I”).

So in my opinion, the video is more explicit and more happy-ending, but the message in the song is basically the same. The only difference is that the song leaves the situation open and the video resolves it at the end when she accepts his umbrella.

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