The Blog

Blue Monday - The Soundtrack to the Gloomiest Day of the Year

In my last blog I listed my top ten favourite albums. Its natural sequel, would be a discussion of the latest social media trend, which is to post seven songs over seven days. A list of tracks which provide the soundtrack to your life; putting a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

However, today is Blue Monday - an annual event, deemed to be the grimmest day of the year. It's cold, it's dark, the next bank holiday is several light years away and most of us haven't been paid since last year. So in-keeping with this national gloom-fest, I'm going to focus on my definitive list of seven of the most dismal songs.

Just to be clear, these aren't songs which have the ability to make you feel tearful, melancholy or sad. To do that they'd have to be powerful and emotive. Instead, my list focuses on songs which are prodigiously bland, monumentally dull and just plain ghastly. Ditties so bad that I couldn't dance to them, even at 3am with half a bottle of Prosecco down my neck. Songs which can't even claim the dubious accolade of 'so bad they're good' like Ace of Base or Roxette, Songs that offend my lugholes like nails down a blackboard and make every day feel like Blue Monday.

"Things Can Only Get Better"- D:Ream

Taken in isolation, this isn't too dreadful and there are far worse culprits from the era. My problem is that it became the soundtrack of 'New Labour', after Blair decided to use it as the soundtrack for his election campaign in 1997.

Things didn't really get better, they felt like they did for a bit, but then the nation's credit card bill dropped on our mats and we realised that we'd been living a champagne lifestyle on a Tizer income. I blame D:Ream, for getting our hopes up. The only person for whom things significantly improved, was band member Brian Cox, who enjoyed an unorthodox career trajectory from little-known keyboardist to the nation's favourite Astro-Physicist.

"Lifted" - Lighthouse Family

For me, this delivers the reverse of what its title promises and at about 30seconds in, I can feel my mood darken considerably. If I had to categorise it, I would probably file under Easy Listening, but in this case, it's a misnomer.

The vocalist sounds as if he's trying to pass a particularly stubborn stool, against an uninspiring and derivative nineties instrumental. It also has a whiff of the new-age about it, and I can imagine it being played on the pan-pipes while someone attempts to open my chakras - stuff of nightmares.

"Music Sounds Better with You" - Stardust

This one always makes me slightly sad, because it pinpoints the exact moment when nineties dance music and the accompanying club scene lost its heart. The track is boring, lazy and soulless and feels like it should be playing in a deserted Ritzy on a Wednesday night.

What upsets me most is that it was co-produced by Thomas Bangalter - one half of Daft Punk, who, the previous year, had produced the brilliant album, Homework. I'm hoping he recorded this just to make a quick buck and I'd never hold it against him, because what's to hate about a man who wears a crash helmet to The Grammys?

"Halo" - Beyoncé

This is controversial, given that Mrs Carter is the undisputed Empress of pop. So, let me preface this by saying that I'm straight on the dance floor, the second I hear Single Ladies or pretty much any Destiny's Child track.

However this one proves that she's no Mariah C when it comes to vocal range and ironically the one where her halo starts to slip. She struggles to hit both the top and bottom notes and as a result, there's a hint of the cats' chorus about it. There's also something about its musical arrangement that I find almost impossible to sing along to. Given that I like nothing more than murdering every song that comes on the radio, this one just isn't my jam.

David Guetta Featuring (insert contemporary R&B artist here)

Yep, I'm bending the rules here as this isn't one particular song. However, since I find it almost impossible to distinguish between Guetta's back catalogue, I'm going to have to play my wildcard. Mr G has a unique talent for taking a strong and distinctive R&B vocalist and making them sound as if they're auditioning for the latest Alvin and the Chipmunks soundtrack - pure aural offensiveness.

"Insomnia" - Faithless

It confuses me as to why this track has garnered so much acclaim over the years. For me, it is to electronic music what Dairy Lea Triangles are to cheese. It lacks a decent beat, is too overblown and 'anthemic' and topped by a fella mithering about his lack of sleep, makes it a total yawn-fest as far as I'm concerned.

"I Believe I can Fly" - Various Artists

As R&B inspo anthems go, R. Kelly's original rendition of this number is pretty inoffensive. Although not my cup of tea musically, I get that it's uplifting with a positive message and a strong vocal.

It's more about how this song has been corrupted by TV talent shows over the years. As soon as you hear the now famous intro, you know that you're about to be told how winning the competition is the contestant's 'last chance' (at life presumably), how hungry they are for 'it' and how they're doing this for (insert name of dead relative here). It's a no from me I'm afraid.