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Daniel Powter: Secret Goverment Weapon

July 24, 2008

It's a bad day when, as an arts and culture commentator, you read a headline like: "Bad Day by Daniel Powter has been the most played song in the UK over the past five years. What is it about this track and others that keep popping up everywhere we go?" and realize that you've neither heard of the song nor the artist in your life.

My discomfiture was palpable this morning when I came across the aforementioned BBC headline. Not living in the UK is hardly an excuse for not knowing the song. 'Bad Day' did very well in the U.S., soaring to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts within seven weeks of being released. "Urk," I thought to myself. "It really is time to renew that subscription to Entertainment Weekly and start listening to commercial radio again."

It was only when I visited Powter's website that I realized that although his name and the title of his song were completely unfamiliar to me, I had of course heard the catchy-mood melody thousands of times before -- at the gym, in stores, on the radio...In fact, I feel like I know the song so well that I can even sing most of the lyrics off by heart. This is kind of weird and just a bit scary considering that the melody has made an impression on my neural pathways completely unconsciously.

I hope Powter's song-writing powers don't fall into enemy hands. Imagine what unscrupulous warlords could do with songs as sticky as "Bad Day." The brain-washing potential is frightening frankly.

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