Having dissected the overblown histrionics of Muse’s official Olympics song, we felt it pertinent to have a listen to the four other official songs – all from Universal’s stable of artists.
The Chemical Brothers: ‘Velodrome’
Along with Muse’s mammoth musical misstep, The Chem’s effort is the only other tune that seems to have been composed specifically for the Olympics. Apparently inspired by ‘the sense of speed, pace and drama’ of sport and the Olympic Velodrome’s architecture, it sounds to us like they’re more enamoured by Kraftwerk and ‘Tron’. This is the perfect soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic flick set in 2055, where fembots have inherited the earth and the remaining (male) human population are reduced to lowly serfs expected to run in hamster wheels to generate electricity until they die of exhaustion.
Elton John Vs Pnau: ‘Good Morning to the Night’
The title track from Elton and Aussie electro-pop duo’s collaborative (Number One) album is a cosmic synth-pulsed cut that would best befit the Olympics circa 1978. But only if the category for competition were restricted to lunging in Lycra. Although it’s unquestionably the best thing old Elt’s done in years, we reckon he’s singing about partying all night, so this is as far as you can get from being an athletics anthem.
Dizzee Rascal: ‘Scream’ featuring Katie Pepper
Given that this tune has been knocking about for at least a year, it’s definitely got sod-all to do with the Games. Featuring Katie Pepper, who Rascal signed to Dirtee Stank after his stint judging Sky 1’s talent show comp ‘Must Be The Music’ (she was a contestant), ‘Scream’ won’t get a proper release until August 5, so all we have to go on is camera phone footage from live performances last year. Rascal raps over a rippling piano: ‘Today is the greatest day of my life/Today they’re going to know I’m a star…’ before referencing Rocky and saying he feels like a ‘worldwide champion’. Pepper, meanwhile, takes up the baton in the choruses, encouraging us to ‘Feel it from your heart / Scream it from your soul if you need it.’ Unfortunately we neither feel it or need it.
Delphic: ‘Good Life’
Manc quartet Delphic round off this batch of official Olympics songs with a bouncy, euphori-pop number. On the strength of this song, they appear to have morphed into the UK’s answer to Passion Pit since their debut album came out in 2010.
What we’ve learnt
That it’s pretty much impossible to write a great song inspired by the Olympics. Muse’s torturous foray aside, the selection here offers tenuous links to inspiring sporting achievements. And so it’s fallen to the BBC, who commissioned Elbow to compose a song to accompany the Beeb’s Games coverage, to keep the musical torch alight. It bears all the hallmarks of a classic Elbow anthem but with the strings, the choral refrains, the can-you-see-something-awesome-on-the-horizon brass blast, all amped up to 11. Guy Garvey and co have hit the rousing, anthemic nail on the head. Nice work boys, you get the gold. Kim Taylor Bennett