Jan 19, 2022

You wait for one Better Days and two arrive at once

Better Days artworks

I was tottering along the street a while ago when a black cat appeared from under a hedge to say hello. I always stop to fuss cats. They're cute and fun, and you never know if one will suddenly start talking French or lead you to an abandoned whelk mine.

The moment I stroked this friendly black cat, another black cat appeared. Same hedge, same appearance. I suddenly had two black cats greeting me. It was like being in The Matrix except without the pill popping and questionable spoons. 

Apart from the brief concern that I had developed a special power that duplicates whatever I stroke, a talent that could get very problematic very quickly, I handled the situation fine. Two very similar cats. Two very similar hands. The maths worked out: double petting commenced. 

Why am I telling you this? Because at the moment there are two songs in the UK singles chart called Better Days. This concerns me, because singles are less cute than cats and I don't like having two of them. 

One of the Better Days is by Neiked, Mae Muller and Polo G. It's a sunny slice of Tik Tok-famous retro pop in which US rapper Polo G asks "can I get an amen" so politely, it sounds like he's ordering afternoon tea. 

The other Better Days is a yearning torch song by Irish singer Dermot Kennedy. In the video, he falls into a puddle and stays there for a bit. It's pretty wet physically and musically, but Snow Patrol fans will like it. 

Two Better Days in one chart? I thought this wasn't allowed. I thought you had to give songs different nicknames so you could tell them apart, in the same way we all have friends called Big Tony, French Tony, Naked Tony and Seven Years In Strangeways Tony. I thought songwriters had these things allocated to them, making them queue with a numbered ticket as if they were waiting for fancy cheese.

In the past, duplicated track titles were easily navigated. Adele and Lionel Richie both had a Hello, but the songs were decades apart and Adele didn't have a bonce made out of clay. Orbital and Boney M both had tracks called Belfast. Neither are likely to get confused, unless the Orbital brothers suddenly start coming up with disco dance moves. Mariah Carey and Big Bird both had different songs called All I Want for Christmas Is You, but only one of them was about a snuffleupagus. 

It gets more difficult the closer the songs get. In the mid-1980s, there were two number one ballads called The Power of Love courtesy of Jennifer Rush and Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Close in time, close in style. Meanwhile, Robert Plant, World Party and Erasure all had different hits called Ship Of Fools within 20 months of each other. It's such a colourful metaphor that, in my mind, all three songs have muddled into one vague image of a bunch of clowns on a pirate ship doing karaoke.

Whitesnake and Alison Moyet both had mid-1980s songs titled Is This Love. Go and look at the videos for the songs. Moyet and David Coverdale sport the exact same shaggy dog hairstyle. It's ridiculous. There have been 20 hit singles called Stay. It's such a bland track name, I could sing you the Shakespears Sister one but absolutely none of the others, despite the rest of the list featuring big hitters like Rihanna, Mica Paris and Simply flipping Red. Not helpful.

I demand that each Better Days song changes its name. The first one, the Tik Tok one, should be called Afternoon Tea. And the other one, the wet one, should be called Oh Look I'm In A Puddle, While I Think About It Whatever Happened To Snow Patrol. That should sort it. Who do I contact about this? Is it the Queen? Paul Gambaccini? Greg James?!

The other solution is to enact a new law in which every song is called Song. Every song ever written. All of them called Song. 

Hey, I've written a new track.

Brilliant, what's it called?


That's great, what's it about?


Sounds wonderful, here's a Grammy.

I wonder if the existence of two Better Days is a Matrix glitch caused by the appearance of two similar cats. I'd ask Keanu Reeves if this is possible, but he's done four films with the word 'Matrix' in, so I'm not going to take his advice on anything. There is no spoon? I've got loads of spoons, mate, all of them identical.

Further Fats: No-one wants songs about the moon these days (2017)

Further Fats: A little cat story (it's the story that's little, not the cat) (2018)

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