Friday, April 22, 2005

"Three Lions 98"

Here's an odd one. Every time the World Cup comes around, and football fans around the world go collectively gaga, the music industry takes it upon itself to provide musical encouragement to the national teams. Over the years, there have been some pretty dreadful efforts which I won't detail, though "World in Motion" by New Order was pretty special. But, for some unfathomable reason, this effort by the Lightning Seeds sticks in my head. Partly it's because of the awful record the England team has compiled in major championships since 1966, and partly it's the relentless optimism of a nation that won't give up hope. Musically, there's little to recommend this, but STILL I have a soft spot for it. Maybe it's the radio commentary spliced into the mix, but mostly I think it's the fact that this, reissued version of the song also mixes in the sound of the crowds chanting the chorus - recorded two years earlier when the song was originally issued. Some of the singing is pretty awful and the lyric is a little impenetrable to non-fans, but there's an enormous sense of pain and regret, hope and anticipation, that never fails to raise a small lump in the throat.

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