Just Jack - 'The Day I Died'
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?