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Just Jack - 'The Day I Died'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:27 UK time, Saturday, 15 August 2009

Just Jack

Should I start this review off with a spoiler warning? I don't want to get into trouble for revealing the plot, especially considering it's another example of Jack's finely-honed traditional performance poetry, with a proper story winding its way through the whole song. People hate finding out the end of a proper story before they start, don't they? And there's definitely a thing which happens in the song which you might want to enjoy in all its spontaneous glory, rather than sit and squirm and anticipate all the way through, with nothing but a feeling of oncoming dread for compan...

*checks the song title again*

Oh right. So, what, you already know? Bah!

(Here's the video. Ah, James Nesbitt...how good you are at smiling...)

"Ah," you may say. "But that's not the point of this song - the point is all of the things leading up to that point, the deft and profound tale being spun with lots of well-observed details about modern life that make you reflect on the life that was lost, yeah?"

I can't really get on board with that either, because I thought it was all rather trite and obvious, to be honest. Wife, kids, promotion, nip to the off licence - is this a life half-lived or a life half-lived in the 1970s?

The Ashes To Ashes/Life On Mars conundrum is not helped by the realisation that this song has already been written, by Jack's old friends Madness. They called it 'Cardiac Arrest' and took it to No.14 in 1981, so we're really looking for a devastating new modern emotional twist in the tale.

Replacing a stress-related heart-attack with a badly-driven taxi at a blissful moment isn't quite it, and ultimately I've felt more emotionally stirred by Noddy Goes To Toytown - Bumpy Dog gets such harsh treatment sometimes it just...no...I can't talk about it now...

Anyway, it does leave me wondering what the point of it all is. I admit that the tune is pleasant in a meandering sort of way, but there just doesn't seem to be anything beneath the surface of it all - which wouldn't be a problem if I didn't think that we were supposed to find this moving, or at the very least, effective. Unfortunately I was just bored.

Where's Gene Hunt when you need him?

Two starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: August 17th
BBC Music page

(Steve Perkins)


  • Comment number 1.


    I really like this song. I think it's better than Stars In Their Eyes which is kinda his flagship song.

    I'd give it 4 stars easy!

  • Comment number 2.

    This review reminds me of Calvin Harris having his famous rant about reviews on Twitter yesterday .

    He was basically saying that with his "Ready for the Weekend " album , he has lived and breathed his work for the last 2 years and put a lot of everything into it , and someone has given him a lazy review where he thinks they have just skipped through the tracks on his c.d and not given it the true time and perusal that he felt his hard work justified .

    There was a lot of colourful language used by Calvin , and I totally understand where he is coming from .
    As Gordon Smart says ;
    "Let the people do the talking when they send you up the charts . "

    So onto Just Jack who has shown with "Starz in their eyes " "Embers " and now "The day I died " , how brilliant he is with an incisive lyric full of insight . He also knows a tune .
    This song took a good 5 plays to grab me , I think I predicted it as a top 30 hit on Rybak about 3 weeks ago .
    The chorus refrain is very catchy and James Nesbitt does a great job in the video .

    Jack has been working really hard and his new album "ALL NIGHT CINEMA " is out on on August 24th.

    There are a lot of people liking this song .

    Like Dan , it's 4 stars from me . Like the effort made for doing something leftfield in the song and video .

    Good work Jack .

  • Comment number 3.

    It is a good song, well above standard of the recent attacks at the chart, and is continuing the improvement on his previous album. It doesn't really grab me emotionally like Fraser said, but as a song it's intelligent. Starz In Their Eyes was average in my opinion, and I wrote him off as a one-hit-wonder afterwards, but he's come back fighting and with three above par tracks (+ a tidy T.I. cover) he should have more success than last time. 4 stars from me.

  • Comment number 4.

    More importantly it is 2009 , but for those of us who want to look back , Madness took Cardiac Arrest to NUMBER 14 in 1982 , not 1981 .

    Must say though , Madness are a great band , who have released many great songs , and the Cardiac Arrest similarity is a good spot .

  • Comment number 5.

    This is deffo a 4* in my opinion! It's refreshingly brilliant... instantly likeable. Just Jack makes some awesome music :)

  • Comment number 6.

    yeah it's a good song but whatever happened to 'Doctor Doctor' ? i thought that was going to be the 2nd single from the album, there was a video for it and everything, but as far as i know it never got released! does anyone know why? i hope it gets released as the 3rd single instead, it's such a brilliant song, in my opinion it's way better than The Day I Died and Embers.

  • Comment number 7.

    I thought that, it was on in River Island the other day. Maybe it was one of those promo things that isn't an official single but has a video and possibly is, or was, a free download from the site. They seem popular these days. The Horrors did it with Sea Within A Sea. Total steal!

  • Comment number 8.

    i read ages ago that Doctor Doctor was scheduled for release at the start of June, but i never heard the song on radio or music channels. i'm sure it was never made available for free, it must of got cancelled, no idea why though, never heard any reason. i hope it gets another shot eventually, hopefully as the 3rd single, because i think it's one of Jack's best, and the kind of song that could (and should :) do well in the charts.

  • Comment number 9.

    Well EMBERS was the first single from the new album which if I remember got to number 17 .

    Doctor doctor was slated as the next single , and a very good video featuring Jack falling for a colleague in a supermarket was commissioned and made .

    I never heard or saw it on radio or t.v stations , and as far as I am aware The Day I died is the official second single released today , before the release of the album ALL NIGHT CINEMA next week .

    I guess we will see DOCTOR DOCTOR at a later time .

  • Comment number 10.

    Well , let's see how high this charts on Sunday ....

  • Comment number 11.

    radio is really getting behind this future hit and its climbing the tv airplay chart . This is seriously shaping up to be a big hit . Go jack .

  • Comment number 12.

    Doctor Doctor was on music channels. And shop radios too, if my ears were in sharp form. Top 20 hit you reckon?

  • Comment number 13.

    I think what makes this song special is the video, i saw it for the first time last week and i thought it was amazingly good. It would make a good study for my media studies coursework!

  • Comment number 14.

    Moz , this song sounds top 20 to me ....

  • Comment number 15.

    Yeah I agree, last time I checked it was top 20 on iTunes, so if you add that to other music sellers it should be. Just watched video, very good indeed. Is Jack the paramedic trying to revive him at the end? It looks like him.

  • Comment number 16.

    Just Jack - The DAY I DIED NUMBER 11 !

    Just one place off the top ten !

    Well played Sir !


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