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May 16

DANIEL BEDINGFIELD – “Gotta Get Thru This”

Popular22 comments • 3,147 views

#915, 8th December 2001

bedingfield Like disco and Philly soul before it, UK garage mixed upfront celebration with flashes of heartbreak, only lightly concealed. The carrier for 2-step’s bittersweet accents was often its string or harpsichord lines, set as counterpoint to the carefree lyrics. Sometimes songs were more open about their anomie: “I’m tired of love / And scared of no love” sighs the unhappy singer on Y Tribe’s beautiful “Enough Is Enough”. The opportunity was always there for a garage track which slipped further into the emotional dark, which took the skittering beats of 2-step not as champagne pops but as the prickly heat of nervous desire. Daniel Bedingfield took it.

Bedingfield is another early 00s star who racked up more hits than most remember: we’ll be seeing him twice more. But he’s an intriguingly awkward case – “Gotta Get Through This” promises something more agonised than the run of droopy-eared ballads that came later. The backing – his own bedroom production at heart, buffed up across many remixes – is angular, stabs of keyboard bouncing around Bedingfield’s pinched vocals, pushing them into contorted spaces. The plot of the song is a bait and switch – what starts as missing somebody (“Just another day and then I’ll hold you tight”) turns into unrequited fantasy: “I pretend that you’re already mine…”

He just can’t get you out of his head – but where Kylie makes obsession delicious, Bedingfield endures it as fever, a sickness forcing hopeless moans out from his wracked frame – “God…God…gotta help me get through this”. “God” could as easily be “Gone”. Or “Gollum”. And that’s my ultimate issue with the single, the thing that stops it at intriguing, not great. Bedingfield is just too pitiful, too abject, in his writhing need. My empathy for his plight – I’ve been there, after all; who hasn’t? – shifts gradually towards discomfort, even repulsion. That very mix of emotions – which you could also find at the emo end of rock – made him an initially interesting prospect. Follow up single “James Dean (I Wanna Know)” went even further into self-torturing spite. But Bedingfield, as we’ll find out, had other, more commercial skills. So “Gotta Get Through This” feels like a one-hit wonder even though it isn’t: an experiment in fusing the propulsion of dance music with infatuation’s gross trauma.

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Comments

  1. 1
    lonepilgrim on 1 Jun 2016 #

    neediness shades into nerdiness – the music and urgency of the vocals are compelling and dynamic but his nasal tone sounds like Frank Sidebottom. He’d have been better off producing this with a better singer IMO

  2. 2
    flahr on 1 Jun 2016 #

    I have ample room for both the “emo end of rock” and “infatuation’s gross trauma” – even when not combined in Pinkerton – and “Gotta Get Thru This” (“through”??) strikes me as a wonderful little trifle, self-contained, nervous, melodic and propulsive. I think we did the central keyboard riff incessantly in our school music lessons.

    Seems odd that someone so a priori uncool could have pulled this out of the bag. That might be where the droppy ballads come in.

    I bracket this in my head with J.T.’s bizarrely unbunnied “Cry Me A River” (we might have a better time to discuss it in future so I won’t go too much into detail). Perhaps it’s the similar neurotic repetitiveness, the similar sense of male romantic dejection. It’s not a comparison GGTT surmounts but it does survive.

  3. 3
    katstevens on 1 Jun 2016 #

    Way too low! At least +1 point for the ‘futuristic’ video shot on the DLR (copied wholesale by ENYA of all people). The chorus is a great kerfuffle of churning anxiety – DanBed’s nasality needles through it all like a splinter just under the thumbnail. Though I confess I only began to appreciate DanBed properly after his sister turned up a few years later…

  4. 4
    Auntie Beryl on 1 Jun 2016 #

    #2 This scurried to the top before anyone realised how a priori uncool Bedingfield was/was to become, I think.

    It come out on Relentless Records, which had previously given us Artful Dodger’s “Re-Rewind” and So Solid Crew’s “21 Seconds” (as well as a long-forgotten Monie Love comeback single), and was distributed by Ministry Of Sound’s label operation.

    It was sold to us retailers as having that level of 2-step credibility, blowing up from the club scene*, etc, and to some extent it must have done. It’s just that when the dust settled it turned out to be a garage-flecked bedroom recording by a Gary Barlow wannabe. Good business all round.

    * – I know how old that makes me sound…

  5. 5
    AMZ1981 on 1 Jun 2016 #

    Not only do we meet him twice more but we’ll also meet his sister in a few years time. It’s worth noting that Gotta Get Thru This was a two weeker (the first since Afroman) and returned to the top after the Christmas chart topper shot its bolt. It also blocked Sophie Ellis Bextor’s excellent Murder On The Dancefloor from the top.

    This might belong in the discussion of the third (and least remembered) bunny but it’s also worth noting that a serious car crash a few years down the line was the reason he was forced out of the limelight and the longer career everybody expected.

    Gotta Get Thru This is nothing grandstanding; it’s a good pop song with a strong artist back story to accompany it – for all that he would quickly move into their demographic he was briefly as different as he could be from Westlife, Blue and S Club. It’s also a reminder that – for my sins – I have both his albums.

  6. 6
    mapman132 on 1 Jun 2016 #

    The first of two Top 40 hits Bedingfield had in America, this peaked at #10. His sister’s been somewhat more successful over here.

  7. 7
    ThePensmith on 1 Jun 2016 #

    Aaah, Mr Bedingfield. My lasting memory of this single was the fact that, like a handful of other bunnies we’ve met from the 00s thus far (“Groovejet” being one of them) this got its initial exposure being heavily used on BBC TV trailers for Radio 1 some month and a bit before the single came out, thus it was destined for the top.

    “Gotta Get Thru This” is still one of the more clever UK garage hits to my ears, certainly as this was the point it had reached its commercial appeal and peak as a genre (Artful Dodger had parted company, So Solid Crew were becoming more notoriously known for their criminal activities than their chart ones by this point, and by the following year most of them had gone onto solo projects of varying degrees of success).

    It has a good topline melody and pop sensibility but had enough of an air of dancefloor sophistication about it. I personally don’t think he topped this but as has already been pointed out, we meet him twice more along the way so I’ll save my thoughts for those entries.

    #5 – LOVED “Murder on the Dancefloor”. Sophie’s biggest hit as a solo artist bar Spiller, her albums – with the possible exception of 2011’s “Make a Scene” which was pushed back continually over three years as she had babies/toured Russia and was a bit Sophie Ellis-Autopilot – have always been consistently good, in particular her third album “Trip the Light Fantastic” which turns 10 next year and had the delightful Cathy Dennis penned “Catch You” and a collaboration with Fred Schneider from the B-52s worth investigation.

  8. 8
    thefatgit on 1 Jun 2016 #

    I have a fair liking for GGTT. That nervousness that Tom identifies feels absolutely right for this. I feel those hunch-shouldered micro-movements in Bedingfield’s delivery, that seem counter-intuitive to the 2-step bravado of “21 Seconds” or the unbridled joy of “Flowers”. Yet, those “skittering beats” suggest suppressed urges fuelled by adrenalin. It’s claustrophobic and prickly, but in such a way that makes it enjoyable not to be in his shoes. I’d be inclined to believe his debut gets more airplay than his other 2 bunnies. We’ll find out when we get there, I guess. I’ll go as far as a 7.

  9. 9
    weej on 1 Jun 2016 #

    I could never work out whether I reluctantly liked this or reluctantly disliked it. Or DB himself for that matter. Is he a twat who’s struck gold or a genius with an Achilles heel on show? Lonepilgrim is right that this may have been better performed by another artist, as the sickliness that sets in after a couple of minutes looking at his face and listening to his voice would be avoided. The middle eight could be saved with a rap, or just cut out altogether… it’s just a shame that something genuinely great is here but it’s somehow not really enjoyable at all.

    In related items, here’s Pitman’s live radio 1 thingy where he lays down the beef with Daniel Bedingfield, Blue and some other Popular alumnni – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6X40gRiAmw

  10. 10
    Chelovek na lune on 1 Jun 2016 #

    Kind of authentic enough underground sound, vocals low in the mix – and no hint of what he was to come up with subsequently – not just the bland balladeering but also a quick (though not wildly adventurous) rush through a range of styles in successive singles (now mostly forgotten, and, largely, deservedly so), before seemingly majoring on a permanent kind of pity-me note, which was sometimes drawing of empathy, but sometimes was a bit much (to be discussed later). As for GGTT: Yeah, it’s alright, but not earthshatteringly so. Natasha, though – oh, she put out a few utterly stunning pop records – but we’ll cross the bridge to the spoiler bunny and what came after it later on.

    (6) seems about right. The low-key nature of the track, the way it sounds as though it’s come from a white label (to get anachronistic) made in an anonymous bedroom, is its ace in the pack.

  11. 11
    James BC on 2 Jun 2016 #

    Daniel was much more likeable in interviews than he is on record. Funny, individual and always dying to be asked to beatbox. This is the best song of his, for me, but mainly because of the production.

    I wonder if he’s looking at Craig David and thinking about a comeback. Could it happen?

  12. 12
    Scott on 2 Jun 2016 #

    He made an uncredited comeback on a 2014 bunny

  13. 13
    Phil on 2 Jun 2016 #

    I like this a lot more in retrospect than I did at the time – all I remember is the unexpected sight of a rather stocky & unprepossessing bloke pacing restlessly around the TOTP stage, for all the world as if his manager had said well, you can’t dance, but what you could do… As for the record, if you want a relentless but minimalistic banger with equally relentless vocals over the top – and who doesn’t at one time or another – this is a fairly classy example, and pretty impressive for a debut. But it is the kind of thing where you’d expect the named artist to be parked behind a couple of decks, with the vocals taken by someone whose name begins with ‘feat.’; Daniel B’s vocal ambitions, while he could certainly back them up, were always an awkward fit with the genre. Nice work, though; I’ll give it 7.

  14. 14
    ThePensmith on 5 Jun 2016 #

    Just casually browsing YouTube today and found the Radio 1 top 40 rundown with Mark Goodier (and phoner interview with Mr Bedingfield) as ‘Gotta Get Thru This’ made its debut at the top: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nj-ZV3CH7UM

    Some great new entries in that week’s top 40, in particular *NSYNC’s “Gone” at #24 and Alcazar’s “Crying at the Discotheque” at #13. The ‘Celebrity’ era of the former’s career was, with hindsight, limbering up for Justin’s solo ventures that’d be getting under way in a year from now, but it produced some of the best material of their career working with The Neptunes and BT amongst others. The latter was a four to the floor dance pop gem, heavily indebted to Shelia B Devotion’s “Spacer” for its backing.

    PPK’s “ResuRection” at #3 was another interesting one – this was briefly in my repertoire of dance/trance covers I did on keyboards in school. With hindsight it sounds like the world’s longest ringtone but it did sound great coming from a synthesizer. Hear’Say’s “Everybody”, also new in at #4 I quite liked at the time, even if it was a scene for scene rip off of Five’s “Keep on Movin”. Kym Marsh then upped sticks and left and launched that dreadful (and thankfully short lived) solo career of hers two years later before going into Coronation Street.

  15. 15
    AMZ1981 on 5 Jun 2016 #

    #14 Crying At The Discotheque is a terrific track and I’m amazed that it didn’t do better, particularly given the crap we’ve seen at the top in 2001. That said it probably got a bit lost at Christmas.

  16. 16
    Plainskube on 6 Jun 2016 #

    No, I’m sorry, when I heard this, it sounded bloody amazing. Garage, sure, but with a big powerful pop song tied to it. The key was just the speed – it feels like it’s at twice the pace of everything else on the market. If he had carried on with this pace (or tried to collaborate with Timbaland) rather than immediately tried to become Gary Barlow, he could have been huge forever. Eight bordering on nine. (Oh, and bonus points for the edgy-futuristic Docklands video.)

  17. 17
    JLucas on 6 Jun 2016 #

    Yeah, I’m pretty fond of this one. The radio edit clocks in at a snappy 2.42, meaning it never wears out its welcome. I love the edgy, twitchy production, perfectly matched by Bedingfield’s nervy, slightly hyperactive vocal. It really cut through the blandness at the time and felt like something quite new and exciting.

    As it turned out, Bedingfield never quite settled on a consistent musical persona, and his lack of focus arguably hurt his career. The subsequent bunnies are very different to this, but in between there were oddball electro-rock numbers like James Dean and Friday, which were less successful.

    I remember the lead single from his second album being very theatrical and overblown, a world away from this and a sizeable flop. After that a combination of poor sales and medical problems stemming from a nasty car crash in 2004 saw him drop off the radar almost completely. Apparently he recorded three full studio albums between 2004 and 2007, and none of them ever saw the light of day, which doesn’t exactly suggest keen commercial instincts were at play.

    7 for this. A nice curio in a very mixed year for chart toppers.

  18. 18
    AMZ1981 on 6 Jun 2016 #

    #16 Of course Gary Barlow was hardly a touchstone at this moment in time.

    I listened to the Gotta Get Thru This album last week for the first time in ages. Time hasn’t been overly kind to it, there is filler and as per the fashion of the time it was padded out with acoustic versions at the end but the singles still sound pretty nifty. Obviously we’ll get to the bunnies in due course but its interesting that the chart performance of the singles were 1-4-1-6-1-28. Three chart topping singles off a number one album isn’t a record but off the top of my head I can’t think of an album that managed three non consecutive chart toppers (and all in different calendar years to boot). Obviously it was hardly Bedingfield’s fault that the ballads did better.

    Interestingly it was single number four, the gently rocking I Can’t Read You, that stood out fourteen years on.

  19. 19
    JoeWiz on 7 Jun 2016 #

    Bit of a misnomer this, he never really released anything quite like this again. This was marketed, as i remember, as very much Craig David – esq and I’d wager that had something to do with its success, as David himself was hard at work on album number 2 at the time.
    This is decent enough, but i always quite liked the bunnies, so twill be interesting to see how they hold up when we get to them.

  20. 20
    flahr on 12 Jul 2016 #

    Thoughts on further listening: the length (of the radio/Now! edit, anyway) is perfectly pitched to be naggingly just TOO short so that you have to listen to the whole thing over again; the lyric is really quite deliciously crafted, I love for instance the “I gotta make, gotta make it, gotta make it through this” bit with the fragment getting longer at each step, and the different layers of paranoid chatter (I’m pretty sure I never, as a child who admittedly did not listen very carefully to songs, noticed the ‘(get through this)’ in the background after the ‘If only I could…’s).

    Points against: the fact that the second half is basically identical to the first. But since I’m listening to it on repeat /anyway/ that doesn’t matter so much.

  21. 21
    CriticSez on 28 Jul 2016 #

    I’m getting sick of waiting around for the next one.

    I understand that Tom is busy with many things, but I simply can’t believe that it’s taken a whole YEAR to almost complete 2001. I’ve been catching up!

  22. 22
    Billy Hicks on 29 Jul 2016 #

    The next #1 was the Christmas number 1 of 2001, so while we’re waiting here’s a BBC News article from the time detailing the contenders:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/1672355.stm

    Or for those who wish to stay on this page:

    * Gordon Haskell – How Wonderful You Are (old man singing gentle song, strong Radio 2 airplay, “underdog”)
    * The Tweenies – I Believe In Christmas (big kids TV hit of the era, and if Bob the Builder could fix it…)
    * Kate Winslet – What If (movie soundtrack, wintry power ballad, and it’s That Girl From Titanic – surely the winner?)
    * S Club 7 – Have You Ever (could rise back up to the top? Charity single)
    * Cliff Richard – Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World (it’s Cliff, and a MEDLEY – two 20th century standards in one song)
    * Michael Jackson – Cry (another one who’s done it before, but after ‘You Rock My World’ missed #1 could he be in for an upset? Spoiler – Yes)

    Oh, and the bunny.

    A few that aren’t on the page which also had a chance:

    Stereophonics – Handbags & Gladrags (theme from some new sitcom called The Office)
    DJ Otzi – X-Mas Time (an original song! You may laugh but it went top 10 in Austria)
    Hermes House Band – Country Roads (another Europop remake…this DID hit number 1 in Scotland, but after Christmas)

    And released far, far too late in its era to make any sort of meaningful impact, a song I had *no idea existed* until a few seconds ago…

    50 Grind feat. Pokemon Allstars – Gotta Catch ‘Em All.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxdKz4pc6Uk

    Really? Christmas 1999 and that would have beaten Westlife, but by ’01 the Pokéship had kinda sailed. In fact, Christmas 2016 might have its first contender…

    Singer later formed indie-rock group Rooster. Seriously.

    This is the first Xmas #1 battle I really followed at the time, and while it’s the bunny that mostly stayed as the hot favourite, ‘What If’ followed seriously close on its tail from what I remember – and Gordon Haskell’s odds as mentioned in the article narrowed considerably when it looked to do much, much better than initial predictions suggested. And then (S)i(mon) (Cowell) goes and spoils it all…

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