Song of the Day: New Order “World In Motion”
With the World Cup kicking off today in Russia, the song of the day was going to have to be a football anthem. While I may be a Belgium supporter (yes, hipster’s favorite, but my dad is from Ostend, so do I really have any choice?), it is hard not to feel a certain fondness for New Order‘s ode to the Three Lions, originally penned for Italia ’90. 1990 was one of the best World Cup’s of my lifetime. While it lacked the dynamism of some earlier tournaments, the 1990 World Cup had no shortage of drama. While the tournament was ostensibly a defensively minded affair, featuring a hardscrabble final between Argentina and West Germany that was ultimately decided by a penalty, it also offered up a series of incredible tactical duels that saw radically different footballing ideologies pitched against one other. And of course, there were plenty of moments of absolute pure unadulterated sporting transcendence. Who could forget THAT Roberto Baggio goal against Czechoslovakia! Or Roger Milla’s goal and celebration against Columbia. Or Cameroon upstaging World Cup holder’s Argentina in the group phase.
Back to the music, New Order enlisted none other than England winger, John Barnes for the delightfully askew rap assist on the song. The selection of Barnesy was a clear case of Mancunian (and Manchester United supporting) New Order putting aside club and regional differences (Barnes played for hated regional rivals, Liverpool at the time) to embrace the national team. This of course, wasn’t New Order‘s first rodeo when it came to writing songs about football. They had previously charted a hit with “Touched By The Hand of God” which was an oblique reference to the first of two remarkable (for different reasons) Maradona goals during Argentina’s match against England in the ’86 World Cup.
England’s campaign was cruelly ended by the eventual winners, West Germany in the quarter finals, on – what has subsequently become a cliche about England World Cup performances – penalties. They finished the tournament in fourth place after being downed by Italy in the 3rd place match by another brilliant Roberto Baggio goal. As for Barnes, he had a not bad, if somewhat tumultuous tournament, best remembered by England fans for teammate Paul Gascoigne‘s epic tear-streaked meltdown. At the age of 32 at the time of the tournament, Barnes struggled to stamp much of a mark on the side and England struggled throughout the tournament to score goals: previously barely escaping their group and having to go to extra time in the fist round of the knock-out stages to break down a resilient Belgium side. That they made it to the semi-finals is a testament to the side’s overall defensive solidity, and in a way, Gazza’s tears were emblematic of those of his whole nation.
Who knows what twists and turns the current tournament in Russia will bring! If you are anything like me, you will be watching avidly.
BONUS: for a slightly more musically ‘legit’ (read: missing dodgy rap by English soccer player) World Cup anthem, look no further than Colourbox‘s propulsive “The Official Coulourbox World Cup Theme”: