Elbow’s “One Day Like This” Lyrics Meaning

It’s like the lyrics of Elbow’s “One Day Like This” aren’t complicated, but they aren’t that simple either. However, there are two aspects of what’s being put forth that are obvious. One is that the vocalist seems to be engaged in some type of positivity thinking or, as we will get to later, celebration. Second is the addressee being a romantic interest whom he is smitten by.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Elbow's One Day Like This at Lyrics.org.

Guy Garvey has verified that the inspiration behind this piece was his relationship with one Emma Jane Unsworth, who he was dating at the time and did fall in love with. And concerning the revolving sentiment which highlights the first verse especially, this isn’t intended to be one of those types of songs where all forms of depression in the vocalist is experiencing disappear as a result of finding that special someone. Contrarily, the lyrics are meant to relay that by and large, life actually sucks for him.

But this particular day is an anomaly. The reason being, as relayed in the chorus, is that he’s waking up next to his sweetheart. So the general implication would be that this is the first time such is happening, and/or it is such that they are rarely afforded the opportunity to be like this. 

In other words, one of those would the logical reasons as to why Guy is claiming that just experiencing “one day like this” yearly would ‘see him right’. Or put otherwise, this isn’t about positivity thinking, as it may feel on the surface. Instead, it’s like this day has brought the vocalist an unusual and very-much appreciated fortune, which, as insinuated by the lyrics, would be quality time with that special someone.

Elbow's "One Day Like This" Lyrics

Facts about “One Day Like This”

This track is from “The Seldom Seen Kid”, i.e. Elbow’s fourth studio album. Elbow is a band of rockers from Manchester consisting of the musicians listed below.

  • Guy Garvey (vocalist)
  • Mark Potter (guitarist)
  • Craig Potter (keyboardist)
  • Pete Turner (bassist)

At the time this song was dropped on 17 March 2008, they were joined by drummer Richard Jupp. 

“One Day Like This” was a notable success, peaking at number four on the UK Singles Chart, in addition to going double platinum (as of 2021) in the United Kingdom and taking home an Ivor Novello Award (Best Song Musically and Lyrically) in 2009.

This song’s success appears to be partially attributable to Elbow performing it at the 2012 Summer Olympics (closing ceremony), which were held in London. And generally speaking, it seems that this track is so highly regarded by some and has been so widely used by others that there is not a comprehensive list of all of such incidences.

The composition of this piece dates back to a single line, “one day like this a year would see me right” that Guy held onto for some years.

The music video to “One Day Like This” was directed by the late Rigan Ledwidge (1971-2021).

Snow Patrol covered this song in 2009, and so did Sarah Brightman in 2013.

This track was put out by Fiction Records. It was actually added as the last song to “The Seldom Seen Kid”, chosen because the band wanted to include a tune that was both uplifting and positive as the result of having signed a new deal.

This song is reportedly a favorite of British actor Michael Caine. According to him, it is one of the song’s he couldn’t live without!

One Day Like This

The Seldom Seen Kid

“The Seldom Seen Kid” was released on the 17th of March 2008 as the 4th studio album of the English rock band, Elbow.

The album was recorded at the Blueprint Studios, a recording studio in Manchester. The band’s keyboardist, Craig Potter as well as the band itself, share credits for the album’s production. “The Seldom Seen Kid”, happens to be the first album to be solely produced by Elbow.

This album holds the distinction of being one of Elbow’s best performing albums. It landed on the charts at No. 5 in their home country, UK, a feat none of their previous albums achieved. Aside from the UK, the album ranked at No. 7 in Scotland and Belgium. It also peaked at No. 9 in Ireland.

“The Seldom Seen Kid” ranked positively on lists by music publications and received enviable accolades from music pundits. It was placed at No. 8 on Q Magazine’s 2008 list, “50 Best Albums of the Year”. In the same year, NME placed it at No. 17 on their list of 2008’s “Albums of the Year”. In the Netherlands, it was the 6th on the list, “50 Best Albums of the Year” by OOR, one of the country’s oldest music publications. In separate reviews by NME and the UK’s Planet Sound, the album was given a 9 out of 10 rating. It was featured in the 2005 music book, “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” by Robert Dimery.

By September of 2011, the album had sold almost a million copies. It has been certified 3x platinum by the United Kingdom’s BPI.

1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    You haven’t really dissected the lyrics here have you –
    he’s just rolled over after morning sex
    ( loaded gun) slightly apologetically – sex on waking isn’t always as clear cut consensually – he probably acted quickly without proper fore play – (what made me behave that way) so he’s feeling good after sex but slightly guilty – but remains positive about the relationship and feels that they may have a long future together ( kiss me when my lips are thin- lips thin as you age and a chamois is a creased up hard cloth) – to ‘see someone right in the north of England is to make sure they’re ok – and often includes financially so yes this one day once a year will give him succour and comfort for the other 364 days of every year.

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