Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Ten: non-anthemic songs about football

You'll have noticed there's a World Cup on the horizon, and with it the usual set of piss-poor 'anthems' called things like Do It For England by the sort of bands who refer to themselves as "real music" and are doubtless veterans of unsigned band national competitions. That sort of endeavour, coupled with the traditional bellowed squad song, has given the football-related record a bad name it doesn't always deserve. These ten include nothing very obvious - so no Three Lions, World In Motion, Back Home or (How Does It Feel to Be) On Top of the World?, except that last one was never getting in - nothing strictly club-specific and nothing remotely chantable. At least under their own terms.

Cornelius - Ball In Kick Off
It's got 'kickoff' in the title, of course it's first. Being Japanese maybe we can let Keigo Oyamada off for misinterpreting the sample of Brian Glover from Kes, though maybe someone could have had a word before he quoted it in the title.

The Fall - Kicker Conspiracy
Marble Millichip. Video partially filmed at Burnley's Turf Moor.

The Hitchers - Strachan
Alright, this is not just a tribute to "the tiny wee Scotsman with the copper-coloured hair" but to a specific Leeds side, but on a broader level it's also about the sitcom image war of the sexes of football against everything else on television. For further details, watch Points Of View during the World Cup.

Half Man Half Biscuit - Friday Night And The Gates Are Low
Any amount of HMHB could have gone in here, and in other lists might have done, but for quite a while this was their only song actually about football rather than referencing a small part of it, named in honour of how their Tranmere Rovers used to play home games on a Friday night.

Tackhead - The Game
Adrian Sherwood would go on to make the link more explicit with Barmy Army, but only one of his identities, the part-American industrial funk collective, got Brian Moore into the studio to do their calling. We'll come back to Sherwood later.

Billy Bragg - God’s Footballer
Bragg, like Sherwood, is a Hammer by favouritism but was fascinated by the story of Peter Knowles, the Wolves striker who was one of the country's most reliable scorers when he suddenly quit the game in September 1969 to devote his life to being a Jehovah's Witness

Los Campesinos! - Every Defeat A Divorce (Three Lions)
Gareth's lyrics have of late taken an deep dive into football symbolism - A Portrait Of The Trequartista As A Young Man, "Bela Guttman of love" - but this is their only song about football. Being late period Los Campesinos!, it's a song about watching England go out of major tournaments after the investment of regular personal belief, allied to depression, heartbreak and everything else their most maudlin songs reference.

Edmundo Ros - Football Football
Calypsoes about sport were common in the early days of the form's influx to Britain, most famously Lord Beginner's cricket odes, but football grabbed the bug too, most famously with Edric Connor's Manchester United Calypso, most infamously with the very white northern Leeds United Calypso, but originally with this from 1953 as the man credited with popularising Latin American music in the UK attempts to settle a pub argument about the nebulous concept of the "best team".

Saint Etienne - The Official Saint Etienne World Cup Theme
Most people are aware of The Official Colourbox World Cup Theme, which apart from the title doesn't actually reference football and was originally intended as a baseball theme, but oddly fewer of the B-side, named in its tribute, of the 12" of Only Love Can Break Your Heart, wherein Stanley and Wiggs conjure jittery synth house around Peter Jones samples.

Primal Scream, Irvine Welsh & On-U Sound - The Big Man And The Scream Team Meet The Barmy Army Uptown
And finally Sherwood returns with some friends for an unofficial Euro 96 anthem where dub, psych, big riffs and Screamadelica rips wend their way around a Welsh monologue of no little brooding sarcasm.

1 comment:

Chris Brown said...

Looks like there's an actual video for Cornelius song (I found it on Last.FM)