Waiting for a better day

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 September, 2008, 12:00am

Usually when the name Daniel Powter is mentioned, it's in the context of his mega-hit Bad Day.

The piano-led pop song was released in 2005 and topped almost every chart around the world. It was dubbed 'one of the great discoveries of the year' by Billboard magazine in 2006.

The BBC recently revealed that Bad Day was the most played song in Britain during 2003 to 2008, beating songs by far better known stars such as Oasis, U2 and Arctic Monkey.

The track's surprising success catapulted the 37-year-old singer-songwriter into the limelight. But the reluctant star feels distanced from the track that brought him fame.

'Bad Day is not my song anymore,' he says. 'It's getting so big that it's taking on its own life force now, and I feel disconnected from it.'

Three years after his last record, Powter has released his third album Under The Radar, trying to shake off the 'one-hit wonder' tag. But although he is responsible for the second best-selling digital single of all time, he feels no pressure to live up to other people's expectations.

'My only responsibility is to communicate and to connect with people with enticing melodies and lyrics that people can relate to,' he says.

Now he is well established, the Canadian artist no longer records vocal tracks in his parents' living room like he did for Bad Day. Instead, he invited star producer Linda Perry (Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani) to work with him. Famous for making records that reflect artists' personalities and feelings, Perry gave the album a touch of sensuality, romance and, according to Powter, 'a real focus'.

The album opens with soft piano ballad Best Of Me. Its sweet, romantic melody, combined with Powter's iconic falsetto, make it a contagious track. Next up is the jaunty, upbeat country-rock number Not Coming Back. It features energetic guitar and drums not usually heard in Powter's creations.

Beautifully orchestrated, with a powerful string section, Whole World Around is about being blessed and the guilt that comes along that feeling. Next Plane Home is a mid-tempo song with a catchy melody - Powter's vocals are hypnotic as he sings lines inspired by his daughter.

Other highlights include the Canto-pop-like Am I Still The One, Negative Fashion and Beauty Queen.

The songs are precisely crafted with better arrangements and wider instrumental diversity compared to Powter's previous works, meaning a satisfying overall experience. But nothing outshines Bad Day.

It looks like Powter will have to work even harder to make people forget the song that made him a household name.