13 June 2010

While We Wait for Netherlands v Denmark: World Cup Music Videos

The heart of the World Cup is the game, of course: fußball, football, soccer, futbol, etc. The head, lungs, and wallet of the World Cup are something else entirely. You can't ignore the cultural, musical, and commercial tie-ins surrounding the cup. So while we wait for the next round, here's a mixture of amusing, inspiring, and appalling World Cup music videos. Watch them at your own peril; some of the catchy melodies may become embedded in your brain for the next month of the Cup.

Despite my aversion to the commercialization of World Cup music (I'm looking at you, Coke!), both of the official anthems of the 2010 World Cup have lodged bits of musical shrapnel in my brain. Those would be K'naan's "Waving Flag" and Shakira's "Waka Waka" (the latter made more palatable by the inclusion of South African pop group Freshlyground).

I'm not certain who issues the "official" credentials, but we also have the Official 2010 Song for Brazil, the Official Ghana Black Stars song complete with those most African instruments, synth and vocorder, and the Official Sony Africa World Cup Song "Mundo Via Afrika" featuring rollerskating girls in short shorts. 

But there are so many more attempts to cash in rally one's national team to victory. Super Junior sings "Victory Korea" while David Campos & Martin PK urge Africans to "Stand As One," though I'm not sure it will help the African players to "make like Michael Jackson" (he's still dead, right?). Ant & Dec's "We're on the Ball" tries to put on a good face, but they confess it's time to "send an SOS / our country's in need." Cheering for underdogs Honduras, My Brother Woody couldn't afford a video camera but still imbued his song "Carlos Dreams of World Cup Glory" with the memorable line "Not so long ago I couldn't hit a cows arse with a banjo."

Pa J tries to boost Ghana to additional victories with "Ghana Go Hear Wein." Some well-saturated Englishmen say "Let's Go Mental," which I'm sure will help with their goalkeeping issues. Some Ukrainians get animated, the UK's Dancing Rhino sings a ska-ful "World Cup Song of Gold," and fellow countrymen Embrace sing "World at Your Feet" (apparently the official England song for the 2006 World Cup). Natalie Buntting has a song that should be called "We're Gonna Shine," but apparently she ran out of creativity and simply calls it "World Cup Song 2010." Japan does a linguistic mashup on "Vamos Japan," and Delle's unofficial German World Cup song "Cry Out" that sounds anything but German!

CRISP clearly thinks that the repetition of the phrase "The Best in the World" will make it so, and the 3 Lions get another mix message in the "2010 England World Cup Song" which seems as intent on reliving past miseries as looking for future glory. If use of hair product was an indicator of World Cup success, a band possibly called 2AM would have the Cup in the bag with their "No. 1." Korea adds cheerleaders in Story Seller's song "Ole" and the Kara song "We're With You."

What else do we have in the grab bag... Let's see... Paj & Tolumide give Nigeria's Super Eagles specific instructions on scoring in "Goalaaaso (Inside the Net)." Big Rab Duvall and Wee Bilko Smiley's "A Tenner on Spain to Win" may prove the exception to the "if it's not Scottish, it's crap!" rule. And Australia, alas, showed as much creativity and originality on the pitch today against Germany as is evident in the paltry offering "Africa (Raise the Cup in)." In their song "Let's All Have a Disco," The Kubricks managed to create perhaps the only song here that has nothing to do with football, though they call it their World Cup song. How about a little effort here, boys?

If you're headed to the club to try out those new Ronaldo-inspired dance steps, you might ask the DJ to play DJ Pygme's "Fifa World Cup South Africa 2010" or Nneka's "Viva Africa," which seems to cheer for the continent rather than a specific nation. The Emmanuel song "Bam Bam Un Gol Por Ti" has a driving beat and evidence of human-giraffe cross-breeding. Akon enlists Keri Hilson on his song "Oh Africa." And remember that you can dance to the music even if you can't sing particularly well. Or if you prefer whiny-girl pop vocals and came for the parties as much as the football, the RumbarGirls wrote "Feel the Spirit" just for you.

Right, then. That should keep you occupied until tomorrow's game. Enjoy, cringe, dance, and embrace the broader cultural phenomenon that is the FIFA World Cup. Resistance is futile...

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