Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Top 5: Olympic Songs

With the Olympics just a sniff away, I thought I'd do a rundown of the top 5 official (and unofficial) Olympic Songs, particularly as that Muse one is so terrible.

Of course, you want an Olympic song to be strident and preachy and where better to start than with old Whitters...

5. One Moment In Time

The 1988 Seoul Olympics song is your classic power ballad, dripping with the requisite aspirational shiz that Americans love (and, let's be honest, do pretty well).

It's all dreams, self-determination, destiny and being free, and belted right to the back row by the dear-departed Whitney Houston.

Nobody could have done it better, although there is the slight whiff of anti-commie propaganda, which I'm willing to overlook just this once.

Entertainment Weekly called it a "majestic carpe diem chest-thumper" and who are we to argue?

4. Amigos Para Siempre

Ah, the summer of 1992 when Spain was in vogue as literally tens of people tuned into Eldorado and the Olympics landed in Barcelona.

This forgotten gem was understandably outshone in a lot of the coverage by Barcelona sung by Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Caballe; an anthem made all the more emotional because Freddie Mercury had died the previous November.

This chugs along nicely and says all the right things about international friendship and how pleasant we should all be to one another.

The cheesy Spanish guitars place this firmly middle of the road. And in this case (only), that's no bad thing.

3. Reach

Oh Glo, you outdid yourself with this spine-tingling drum-fest. Very well done indeed.

The dreams, digging deep and grasping eternity metaphors - evoked so well in One Moment In Time - are back (with bells on) and we're invited to reach and once that reaching has been achieved, all will be well with the world.

The drums are a masterstroke and Gloria's stirring performance lifts this above the usual power ballad territory. Smart stuff.

2. You And Me

Oh, hello, Sarah Brightman's back for Beijing 2008 looking a little tauter in the face, but moving on...

Another duet for our Sarah, this time with Liu Huan, who's a big deal in "Mandopop" and a music professor to boot.

It's a lot simpler than Sarah's previous effort and is all the better for it. We're told that we are 'all family' meeting in Beijing, with a strong choral background providing many voices to underline the point.

(On a side note, the performance at the Opening Ceremony is awesome. THEY'RE ON A FUCKING GLOBE!)

And here's the HQ version:

1. Dancing Queen

Alright, I know, it's not an official Olympic song, but for me nothing captures the spirit of togetherness (and by extension, the Olympics) more than an uplifting singalong.

Performed at the Sydney 2000 Opening Ceremony, Dancing Queen is a genius choice, even if it's not about the Games.

Kylie knocks this one out of the stadium, even though you suspect her hat's going to fly off and injure a small child in the audience. She has spoken in interviews how this performance was like a renewal in her life, when she discovered her inner showgirl.

Without this performance, us gays would be a lot glummer.

Thank you, Sydney.

Turn this UP!

Have a good Olympics!

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