Thursday, 15 January 2015

Ocean Colour Scene 'Better Day'

Chart Peak: 9
'Better Day'is due for release on November 10th... Following '100 Mile High City' and 'Travellers Tune' this could be their third big hit this year.
The prediction was right to the extent that this did indeed become their sixth (and last) consecutive Top 10 single, but its chart run was not a long one and the song is little-remembered today, even compared to their other hits of this era. 1997 was an odd time when they were still at the peak of their commercial success (this comes from Marchin' Already, their only Number One album) but their brief honeymoon of positive press was already over. At this point I was still unfashionably fond of them and indeed bought the album, though I was never a collect-all-the-singles type of fan.

I certainly didn't contemplate buying this post-album single because I was never keen on the song in the first place; it never struck me as a highlight of what is in all honesty a patchy album, and personally I never like it when the first three singles from an album are the first three tracks in the sequence. Worse still, the chorus uses the phrase "Get Blown Away", which is the title of a much superior track from the same album which they should have considered releasing instead. Possibly this track was picked out at the band's own insistence as it's lyrically self-referential, a history of their friendship, long road to success, struggles with their former record company etc. Sadly this isn't made especially interesting to even a sympathetic outsider and is set to music that is skillful but not distinctive or memorable. It sounded to me the way I know all OCS songs sounded to a lot of people. I think it was one of the tracks Bob Stanley had in mind when he described the second disc of Now 38 as "pop music crawling away to die".

This is probably an example of the tension between collecting the biggest and the newest hits onto the Now albums. Although this song was technically a current hit on the day Now 38 came out, it feels like one of those singles that comes out in November or December just to remind Christmas shoppers that the album exists. It would have been better to include the stomping 'Traveller's Tune' instead.

Also appearing on: Now 34, 35, 37
Available on: Marchin' Already (Deluxe)

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