World Cup Songs: The Verdict

From Pitbull to Gary Barlow, the tracks you should be wary of this summer

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It's been a mercifully subdued summer so far in terms of World Cup songs, the lack of a Baddiel and Skinner or Fat Les 'anthem' reflecting our new found restraint when it comes to England's chances this year.

That's not to say other nations are following suit. Across the world, all manner of early Noughties throwbacks have emerged to bid for the song of Brazil, with imaginatively titled songs like ‘La La La (Brazil 2014)’ and ‘2 Brazil’.

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With the news that Monty Python have just thrown their hat into the ring with a World Cup-flavoured re-release of ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’, it seems the perfect moment to analyse the key contenders so far. One word of warning: this is definitely 'NSFW' in music credibility terms. We recommend earphones. 

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1 | The Vengaboys – ‘2 Brazil’

Key lyric: “Brasil! La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La”

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After 15 years out of the game, Holland’s finest return with a rousing re-working of their 2010 smash hit ‘To Brazil’.

This time around they’ve spelt Brazil with an ‘S’ and have included verses in Portuguese in a clear attempt to get the host nation on board. Also of note are the 24 ‘La’s - one more than the 23-man squad each team is allowed.

Clearly the Vengas are aligning themselves with home nation's extra player, or 'twelfth man': the Brazilian crowd themselves. Clever stuff.

2 | Jennifer Lopez & Pitbull – ‘We Are One (Ole Ola)’

Key lyric: "When the going gets tough / the tough get going."

Appropriately for a shady global organisation batting accusations of corruption, FIFA have turned to a man who looks like a James Bond villain’s henchman to provide their official song.

'Rapper' Pitbull teams up with Jennifer Lopez to deliver a World Cup anthem that sounds ready-made for atrocious nightclubs across the UK, sure to get people worked up, if not about football, then definitely about strawpedoing some WKD and punching the nearest person who looks like they might support Italy.

Taking inspiration from her own lyrics, J-Lo 'got going' and announced she wouldn’t be performing the song at the World Cup opening ceremony. Thank God for that.


3 | Gary Barlow & Friends – ‘Greatest Day’

Key lyric: "Watch the world come alive tonight / (stay close to me) oh oh ohoooo"

England's actual official song sees tax-avoiding former national treasure Gary Barlow rerelease his former band Take That's tepid single 'Greatest Day', with the added help of Gary Lineker, a man whose way with a tune makes John Barnes look like John Lennon.

Even by the FA's standard this is meek stuff, almost as though it's part of a calculated wider effort to dampen expectations. Job done.


4 | Shakira – ‘La La La (Brazil 2014)’

The lyric: “Hear the whistle / Kick the ball / The entire world / Soars like an eagle”

Here, Colombian pop star Shakira (Shakira) provides what is ostensibly a pro-South America hip shaker, featuring as it does Lionel Messi, Neymar, Sergio Aguero and Radamel Falcao.

However, what's all this talk of eagles? In what is clearly an allusion to their national mascot, crafty Shakira appears to be predicting a Germany win. Boyfriend Gerard Pique will not be pleased.


5 | Monty Python – ‘Always Looks On The Bright Side Of Life’

The Lyric: “Then they go and let you down / And come slinking back to town”

The updated version of Eric Idle’s Python classic features a thinly veiled threat to Rooney and Co who will no doubt come “slinking back to town” after going out in the group stages.

Whether the Monty Python members plan on crucifying the England team (as in their hit film Life Of Brian) remains unsure.


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