One of the struggles in life is to accept its inconstancy and caprice. On some days we feel like we’re merrily floating through our day, as light as our content mind. On other days, we feel like the heaviness in the air is slowly driving us into the ground.
In this way, life plays the role of an examiner; the more we submit to these bad days, the more bad days life will dish out. But if we choose to combat these bad days with strength and optimism, their effect on us will gradually wane.
David wrote the song while he was “working on relationships between family and friends”. Like many of us, David tried to keep a “positive mindset”, but started doubting himself on bad days, and even felt like his life was “deteriorating”.
This song, as he says, is about “recognizing there’s a tomorrow to move forward to, and just being grateful for all the good we have”.
This optimism is conveyed through “oohs” that play cyclically after the verses and chorus. David conveys the oppositional moods of the good and bad days in life through these alternating sequences.
“Bad Days” starts with some lovely fingerpicked acoustic guitar. David’s soft “oohs” then ring out gently.
If I pass out
from walking down this road
that I paved out
digging up my soul…
On some bad days, everything feels like an impossible task; getting yourself out of bed, forcing yourself out the door, and getting on with your daily work. David emphasizes this feeling of paralysis in his verse, where he can barely walk without the fear of collapsing.
Moreover, while his corporeal body is getting on with life, his soul has slowly crumbled under the weight of his heavy heart and mind.
Weak in my knees,
vision starts to fade.
I’ma keep moving on.
It’s a decision I’ve made.
It only gets worse, as his knees starts to buckle and his sight darkens. Life is slowly draining his body.
However, even at his lowest point, David chooses to “keep moving on”, to push through till his bad day ends.
On bad days it can seem like there’s no possible contentment within your grasp; that your bad day will lead to another bad day until they all blend into one long depressing blur.
I’m temporarily blind,
I won’t leave it all behind.
However, David looks upon his bad day as a “temporary” malady. One or a few bad days aren’t worth giving up everything you’ve worked for. Furthermore, as David suggests, these bad days tend to “hide” once you let them “slide”.
Just come on and let it slide.
They come and go and then they hide.
I’m talking ‘bout one of those
Indulging in self-pity will only lead to more “bad days”. Letting it “slide” means accepting that no matter who you are or how well you’re doing in life, you’re bound to have bad days, and that’s okay.
One fascinating part of “Bad Days” is the source of the flute-like sound that accompanies David’s “oohs”. In a behind-the-scenes video, David details how this high-pitched, piercing sound was actually the squeak of an old rusty chair he had been sitting on and swiveling in during recording.
This penetrating squeak melded with David’s creamy smooth “oohs” lifts the listener from his concrete, material world into the delicate clouds, leaving behind all our worries, troubles and pain.
If you’re having a bad day and need something to lift you out of your gloom, this song will certainly make you feel better, at least for a few minutes.
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