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Saturday, June 9, 2012

SONGS AND STORIES: EURO 2012'S HIT-AND-MISS-LIST

A sure sign that a major tournament is approaching is when official team songs, and those from various artists which are less than official, start springing up all over the place. It should be pointed out that the official team song is a dying breed; rather, there is an increasing trend for national football associations to "sanction" a song as its official ditty for a particular tournament. There is always a huge variety of styles, of course, not to mention a huge variation in quality. Here is a list of some of the best - and worst - from this time around. Judge for yourself which is which, and be warned, you might not like what you hear..

Poland's official Euro 2012 song, "Koko Euro Spoko" ("Koko Euro OK"; the word "koko" is apparently not used as a slang word for cocaine in Poland, as was claimed in various articles, but in this case refers to the singers' home village of Kocudza), is sung by a group of eight women, aged between 33 and 82 years old, who call themselves Jarzebiny and hail from the south of the country, singing all the while dressed in traditional Polish garb. The song is based on a traditional Polish tune, and has apparently been used by a Polish pharmaceutical company in one of its adverts, taking advantage that traditional music is not covered under Polish copyright law.

Remixes of the song, which was chosen after a SMS poll, organised at the beginning of May by the Polish FA and various media organisations such as the state TV company TVP1, abound on the internet. Like it or not, you may well be hearing plenty of it during Euro 2012 - the song will be played as the Polish team walks on to the pitch before each game at the tournament - and the chorus is infernally catchy as well.

Germany's official song, "Für Nichts Auf Dieser Welt" ("For Nothing In This World"), was recorded by Roger Cicero, a Berlin-born jazz musician who was the German entry at the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest, and is featured on Cicero's latest album, "In Diesem Moment" ("At This Moment"). According to the German general team-manager, Oliver Bierhoff, the music resembles how the Nationalmannschaft plays, using "creativity, enthusiasm and boundless energy - these are the qualities that the team shows on the pitch, exactly like Roger Cicero and his band on stage." Judge for yourself:
http://www.em2012-infos.de/offizieller-em2012-song-von-roger-cicero-fuer-nichts-auf-dieser-welt/

The Football Association of Ireland, meanwhile, always, always produce a team song for a major championship, from the sublime "Put 'Em Under Pressure" from Italia '90 to the slightly less than memorable "Here Come The Good Times" from the 2002 World Cup. Plenty more songs are released by artistes (again, of varying quality) aiming to cash in on the excitement around a major tournament. This time round, the Boys In Green, together with The Dubliners, The Coronas, Bressie and Damien Dempsey, have recorded a song entitled "The Rocky Road To Poland."

The song, sung to the melody of the old folk-song "The Rocky Road To Dublin," comes with the lyrics chosen from the submissions of thousands of listeners to Ray D'Arcy's (remember him from, for example, the "The Christmas No. 1" hit, performed together with Zig & Zag?) programme on Today FM. This effort is, to be frank, a bit bland, but it is a football song, so lyrical perfection and an original score are not always to be expected. It's also for charity, so that is at least one good reason to buy the CD.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5aZjE15Ye0

Many artists try and put their work forward as being the "official" song of their particular country's association, and, just to reiterate, many an Irish artist has attempted to do the same. One song which in no way pretends to gain official recognition by the FAI is "We All Get Nil Together" by Il Trapps. Nothing wrong with a bit of humour/irony (or is that realism?), and when added to a decent melody, you end up with that thing of rarity: a real football song of rare quality.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpvZnWsvuUk
 

Meanwhile, Russia's official song, "This Is Our Game, features an orchestra, half-a-dozen kids, a septugenarian on the piano and three vocalists, Alexei Goman, Alexandr Marshall and Alexandr F. Sklar, and is what one could call a typically Russian song with a jaunty air which resembles a reworked version of any Latin American national anthem you like. Not only that, it has a catchy chorus (music-wise, of course), so, if you, dear reader, are anything like your correspondent, you will be humming it before you know it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuV0ZczFX-k

The Danish team were treated to a modest little bit of flash-mobbing, organised by Danske Opbakning (Danish Support) before they set off for Poland a couple of days ago, a supporters' group sponsored (at least) by one of Denmark's leading banks. The Landsholdet appear in the video - but do not sing, though Liverpool's Daniel Agger gets to show off his tattoos - for their official Euro 2012 effort, "Vi Vandt I Dag" ("We Won Today"), which was penned and performed by fellow countrymen Nik & Jay. The song is still hovering around the lower reaches of the Danish Top 20, having reached as high as number 5.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bijAZDGIb0

There was no song contest in Denmark to decide which song would be put forward as the official song of the Dansk Boldspil Union (DBU), though the DR television station programme Aftenshowet has organised a competition for the best unofficial song (the first two songs at least are available to view on the internet via good old YouTube) to compliment Nik & Jay's piece, and should you decide to improve your Danish, here's the link to the competition:

http://www.dr.dk/DR1/Aftenshowet/Artikler/2012/06/07150259.htm


England's official song, "Unbelievable!" is sung by ex-footballer Chris Kamara, with backing from Joe Public Utd, and the backdrop to the video looks like it was shot at an England Defence League meeting in a local pub in the depths of Kent. Apart from that, the song, a decent effort in itself, was recently officially "endorsed" by the FA, and was released in aid of the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity. Needless to say, there was a stampede of songs from artists claiming to have written the official number, but it was the song sung by Kamara, who - along with the new Liverpool manager, Brendan Rogers - climbed Kilimanjaro last year in aid of the MCCC charity, which won the FA's backing last month.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBs-VjRfiWg

Several members of the Spanish squad, who you will no doubt recognise so there's no need to name them here, took part in the video for the team's official song, and added a little bit of, erm, backing vocals as well. The song in question is "Showtime 2.0" from Estopa, and was released in conjunction with the RFEF (Real Federación Española de Fútbol) and the AFE (Asociación de Fútbolistas Españoles), the Spanish players' union. Monies raised by sales of the song will go towards several projects using football as a tool to help (re-)integrate those living on the margins of Spanish society, and it's a pretty good little number to boot.

http://www.heraldo.es/noticias/suplementos/eurocopa_2012/2012/06/04/estopa_estrena_showtime_cancion_oficial_apoyo_seleccion_190426_1161026.html

Holland does not have an official song this time round as such, but one which is being touted as such and features the national squad is actually an advert for a Dutch supermarket chain. The song, "Geef Oranje Vleugels" ("Give Oranje Wings"), sung to a familiar melody by Wouter Kroes and Ernst Daniël Smid, with a contribution from rapper Yes-R, and which features a large slice of Bert van Marwijk's team together with a cast of thousands in the advert,/video - delete according to preference - is probably the first semi-semi-official (for want of a better description) football song for a national team which features the word "shit." Now there's a word which would probably describe this song down to a tee.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=3oIq9ktJrY4&NR=1

Speaking of which, Wilfred Genee and Johan Derksen (accompanied by several Dutch pop "legends"), who now present the football chat-show Voetbal International on the Dutch commercial television station RTL7, have also released an album for Euro 2012 called "De Helden Van Oranje" ("The Heroes Of Oranje"). To get an idea of how the album sounds, have a go at one of the songs featured on same, "Nederland Is Helemaal Oranje" ("Holland Is Totally Oranje"). At least Dirksen, a former footballer, had the honesty to say that he despised the type of music they were singing; anyone who has ever been to anywhere outside Amsterdam on a Friday night will instantly know what he meant and, if they have any sense, dive for cover as soon as they hear this particular number..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAp55BMuq2M&feature=related

There is also, by the way, an official UEFA song for Euro 2012, and it follows in the wake of efforts by artists such as Shakira, Dario G, Toni Braxton and E-Type down the years for football tournaments from 1996 on. "Endless Summer" by German artiste Oceana was selected by UEFA. Reviews of the song have been mixed, but it is infinitely more preferable than the efforts of the more internationally-acclaimed artistes mentioned earlier in this paragraph. In light of the recent rumbles about racism in Poland and Ukraine, "Let your love shine all around" might not be such an apt one-liner to take from the song, however.. Even so, the 30-year-old's song is probably the best number to have been chosen as a tournament's official song since Nelly Furtado's "Força" was chosen as the sound of Euro 2004.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EVhiBGvVFc&feature=list_related&playnext=1&list=SPDC32FB9663A668A7

If you feel up to it, dear reader, you should be able to get through the above little musical meander between a couple of games in the group stages, safe in the knowledge that it represents only a tiny fraction of songs released by has-beens, never-weres, never-will-bes and those looking for a way into the "big time", all in "honour" of Euro 2012. Whether you like it or not, you will be hearing a lot more of "Endless Summer" during the tournament..and, who knows, maybe even a little bit of "Koko Euro OK" from time to time as well. It may also be a springboard to success for Oceana, who has enjoyed only moderate success in her musical career thus far. Have a listen to all of the above - if you dare - and enjoy the football..
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AUTHOR'S NOTE: Those fine websites Thee Bleacher Report and 101 Great Goals are in part responsible for the musical carnage that this article will create.
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FOOTBALL BLOGGING AWARDS 2012: In an act of unapologetic, not to mention unashamed, self-promotion, Pat's Football Blog has nominated itself in the Male category of this year's Football Blogging awards, which will take place in Manchester in July.

To vote via Facebook, kindly go to the Football Blogging Awards page. To vote via Twitter, tweet to @TheFBAs, with your username and #Male (category). There are several categories, and it's up to you who you vote for, of course, but a vote for Pat's Football Blog will always be very welcome. After all, it isn't your everyday blog..

For more information on the awards, please go to:

www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/

3 comments:

  1. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You definitely know what youre talking about, why throw
    away your intelligence on just posting videos to your site
    when you could be giving us something informative to read?
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    ReplyDelete
  2. Is this theme connected with your professional position or maybe is it more about your hobbies and free time?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pat's Football BlogJanuary 29, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    Maryanns Blog, I think that the article speaks for itself; there is no higher esoteric meaning behind it.

    ReplyDelete