Unless you’ve been living under a massive rock, or you’ve missed the last payment on your cable bill, you know that the Games of the 30th Olympiad have been rolling along in jolly ol’ London, England. And besides cheering on Team Canada, learning new sports (overheard while watching water polo: “What the fuck is that?”), and ogling on them hot bodies (have you seen the German men’s gymnastics team?), we’re also enjoying the soundtrack that’s accompanied the games thus far. Of course, the Brits are no strangers to good music. From Bowie to the Beatles, Sex Pistols to Happy Mondays, The Prodigy to Amy Winehouse, opening ceremonies artistic director (and ofSlumdog Millionnaire fame) Danny Boyle masterfully crafted the perfect mashup of the best tunes Team GB has to offer. Hard to admit, but the Vancouver 2010 games had nothing on this formidable playlist. Sorry VANOC, a puny Kid Carson-inspired playlist with Simple Plan and Avril Lavigne just doesn’t cut it. With so much proper British music to choose from, HUSH has narrowed it down to the ones that will get your adrenaline pumping for the next two weeks.
1. Muse – “Survival”
Nothing is more apropos than this official song of the London 2012 Olympics. You heard it right, it’s official, as in sanctioned by the IOC. Who knew they had such good taste? This song has all the elements of a proper sporting anthem — it’s bombastic, orchestral, dramatic, even borderline cheesy. It’s over-the-top and Queen-esque, but not in the least bit cringeworthy. It’s Muse at its finest, with Matt Bellamy’s falsetto hitting all the right emotional notes. Kinda makes you want to go for a run, at least to your fridge. So much better than that god-awful, punch-a-baby inducing “I Believe” song. Take that, Nikki Yanofsky.
2. Queen – “Bicycle Race”
Speaking of Queen, it seems right to pick a song from this much famed British rock-opera band. There are the obvious choices, but instead we chose the appropriately campy “Bicyle Race”. I mean, what better describes the spirit of the Olympics than a song about wanting to ride your bike? And riding it naked, no less?
3. Emeli Sandé – “Heaven”
One of the highlights of the opening ceremonies was a poignant performance by Scottish singer/songwriter Emeli Sandé of the hymn, “Abide With Me.” Shame that most US viewers didn’t even get a chance to hear her beautiful voice, with NBC opting instead to cut to a pre-taped Ryan Seacrest interview of current Olympic legend Michael Phelps (one of the many #NBCFails). Hey, more for us in Canada and the rest of the world to enjoy. “Heaven” is from her 2011 debut albumOur Version Of Events, with her sound reminiscent of really good ’90s dance/R&B music. Definitely someone you shouldn’t miss.
4. Dizzee Rascal feat. Armand Van Helden – “Bonkers”
It’s the official party song of the 2012 Olympics, or at least the party song that they performed during that girl-meets-boy music mashup part of the opening ceremonies. This UK hip-hop sensation isn’t exactly a household name across the Atlantic, but this catchy club hit may very well get him some proper attention. Besides, you’d be bonkers to not want to dance to this one.
5. The Chemical Brothers – “Galvanize”
Danny Boyle picked this Chemical Brothers classic for the atheltes to march out to because he thought it would speed up the often drawn-out Parade Of Nations. Not exactly sure it worked, but it did provide viewers with more good Brit music to discover. The cool Moroccan string samples. The catchy rap hook by Q-Tip. What’s not to love? I’d move my ass quick if they played this song while I came out of a stadium.
6. Arctic Monkeys – “I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor”
Probably the biggest (and most pleasant) surprise of the opening ceremonies was the Arctic Monkeys. This Sheffield-based indie-rock sensation isn’t exactly a stranger to big stages in the UK, but the Olympics? Alex Turner and Co. did fit right into the festivities, doing a live version of this, their most quintessential single, and a gold medal worthy cover of the The Beatles’ “Come Together.” There’s so much more where that came from, especially with their most recent release,Suck It And See, which shows off their more mature sound. It’s rockabilly with a bit of early The Strokes NY-brand garage rock. Well chuffed to see these guys, for sure.
7. Fuck Buttons – “Olympians”
We end this playlist with an off-kilter pick from Bristol eletronic duo Fuck Buttons. The title alone speaks of its appropriate Olympic namesake, with the pulsating beats and thumping drums aiming to pump you up like Ahrrr-nawld. Apparently it was also played during the Parade Of Nations. Danny Boyle, I can’t wait to see what you’ve cooked up for the closing ceremonies.