Thursday, May 06, 2004

IMAGINE THE WORST POSSIBLE THING YOU CAN. IT'LL PROVIDE YOU SOME COMFORT: However bad your worst imaginings are, they'll seem like your best friends compared to the plans for the unofficial England song for Europe 2004. Everything about it makes us wince. Everything about it makes us wonder if the people the Guardian was fretting about yesterday, ruining their hearing in noisy clubs, are actually quite aware what they're doing, and are just desperately hoping their eardrums rupture before the record is released.

How awful is it? Let us count the ways.
One: the band is called Twisted X. Which is the sort of name US high school dramas would come up with for a punk band featuring a good looking boy and three others with haircuts.

Two: It's a godawful supergroup affair. Now, we like The Libertines and can tolerate Supergrass in small doses, but generally the only way these things can ever work is to have a clear, focused band at the heart of the track. Which is why New Order's World In Motion was a success - sure, Keith Allen and various others had stuff to do, but the actual heart of the song was left to a bunch of people who were used to working with each other. Likewise, Three Lions: get in the novelty casting lead vocalists if you must, but for god's sake leave the music to a proper band. Compare this with, say, Fat Les or that Echo and the Bunnymen/Spice Girls confection, where the desire to spread the blame over as many people as possible gave a record that sounded like the musicians had met each other for the first time at the recording studio.

Three: The title: Born In England. Sounds more like a BNP election slogan than a tune about a sports team.

Four: The novelty casting lead vocals. James Nesbitt? Come on, he was alright in the Yellow Pages adverts but are we so short of vocalists in the country we need to get an actor in? And he wasn't Born in England, was he? He was born in Coleraine.

Five: The selection process. The song was written for a competition and the winners were selected by listeners to Christian O'Connell's XFM show. Neither the widest popular vote nor the most sophsiticated electorate, then.

Six: The first endorsement for the track came from Neil 'Don't call me Doctor' Fox: "If the Gallaghers were to write a footie anthem for Euro 2004, this would be it. Born In England is a blinding tune.
We need an anthem that the fans can sing on the terraces and that also sounds great pumping out of the nation's radios - this is that tune."
Doesn't that make you hate it even more?

Seven: It's not even the official bloody song, so there's going to be another one (announced on Friday) cluttering up the radio.

Eight: Why do we need a song, anyway? It's a very minor competition that we still won't do very well in; if the people going to get sunburned and drunk in Portugal really want to chant something moronic on the terraces, couldn't they come up with their own words?

Nine: If we must have a song, why not have one along the lines of "Look, you've gone to Portugal - why waste your time watching a bunch of twinks on the football pitch - why not visit some of the villages or try the food?" Even Guardian Football writer Will Buckley is sick of football; when even he can see there's nothing to be excited about, why try and force the charts to join in?

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