Official London 2012 Olympic songs reviewed
The London 2012 Olympic Games are finally upon us, and after a shaky few weeks of frayed tempers and truly dismal weather, national enthusiasm is starting to tick over quite nicely for what’s been dubbed by many as “the greatest show on Earth”. But as the Games begin, spare a thought for the lucky few who have been selected to soundtrack the festivities. How can they possibly hope to capture in song the adrenaline and dedication, the elation and despair associated with the world-famous sporting event (bearing in mind that Eye Of The Tiger has already been written and recorded)? Without further ado, here is our verdict on the five Olympic tracks officially sanctioned for London 2012.
Muse – Survival
Survival was commissioned to be the main soundtrack of the Olympic games, Muse seem like the perfect choice of band for such an occasion. This massively overblown Imperial March of a song will either spur our heroes on to unprecedented heights, or scare them witless before any sport even gets underway. More indebted to the ridiculous bombast of Queen than anything they’ve released so far (and that’s saying something), the track opens with a full-blown orchestra and only escalates from there, throwing military drums, evil-sounding guitars and everything but the kitchen sink into the mix to create an occasionally thrilling, always absurd monument to human endeavour. The chorus, delivered in gloriously unrestrained falsetto, simply states “I’m gonna win!” In Muse’s world, it’s definitely not the taking part that counts.
The Chemical Brothers – Theme From Velodrome
Electro veterans the Chemical Brothers, on the other hand, have dialled back their ambitions and set their sights on just one of the Olympic venues: the Velodrome. Taking clear inspiration from the vocodered stylings of Kraftwerk – the only other band to have paid electronic homage to the relatively unsung world of cycling, with their Tour De France album – this propulsive, quasi-instrumental track is energetic, danceable and all over in three minutes flat. Chris Hoy would do well to crank it up in the locker room before he takes to the saddle next week, to defend his three gold medals from Beijing ’08.
Elton John vs. Pnau – Good Morning To The Night
Old Reg has attempted to reinvent himself more than once recently, teaming up with the Scissor Sisters and Lady Gaga among others to no great avail. Australian duo Pnau – better known over here for their Empire Of The Sun side project – may just represent the shot in the arm he’s been looking for: this feisty little number hijacks the hook from 1972’s seminal Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters, which is still catchy enough to inject life into the rather generic, post-Black Eyed Peas backing track. A curious mash-up for such a monumental occasion, but a fun one nonetheless.
Delphic – Good Life
Good Life’s bewildered refrain of “How does it all end? When do we get there? What does it matter? Why do you still care?” seems to sum up London’s slipshod, alright-on-the-night approach to the Games rather well. Alas, the same cannot be said of the music, which is too slight to be even remotely memorable after its four minutes are up. The accompanying sine wave video is hypnotic and there is no doubting the passion in lead singer Rick Boardman’s delivery, but let’s be honest – it’s never a good sign when you are outdone in the excitement stakes by the disembodied, 40-year-old voice of Elton John.
Dizzee Rascal feat. Pepper – Scream
Dizzee Rascal unveiled this striking new track at last years V Festival, complete with diva-esque vocals from his protégé Pepper. While the jury is still out prior to the songs official release on 5th August, it seems to be a wide-eyed exhortation to “feel it from your heart” and “scream it from your soul” – which is all very commendable, and perhaps appropriate given the memorable recent celebrations of Michael Phelps and Kelly Holmes, to name but two. The East End boy done good will be anxious to play a significant part in this local event, and should provide a spark of charisma that’s often lacking in other contributions to the official Olympic soundtrack.