Dizzee Rascal has already had four number one singles in the United Kingdom. His motives, therefore, for getting involved with the atrocious Simon Cowell vehicle World Cup song “Shout” (a cover of the 1984 Tears For Fears protest song), remain unclear. Perhaps he genuinely feels that hollering at the top of his voice about “Bobby Moore an’ that” will really help the team while they struggle against odds that seem to be getting longer with each passing day, five and a half thousand miles away in South Africa. Perhaps he is really desperate for that fifth number one single. Perhaps he merely has a particularly persuasive agent.
That Dizzee’s involvement is possibly the least worst thing involved with this musical venture says more about the quality of the venture than it does about the quality of said involvement. In just over three minutes of constant appallingness, the absolute, bottom-of-the-barrel nadir comes with the apparent comic actor James Corden bellowing, “Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough” at the top of his voice at the end of the chorus, a phrase which, in itself, is worthy of our closer inspection.
Was there really nobody at all involved with this project with so little a cursory knowledge of football as to be able to put forward the idea that, you know, considering the global reputation of England football supporters (whether accurate or inaccurate, for the record), it might not necessarily be a good idea to make such a chant one of the key hooks of the song? After all, the FA are still (after a fashion) trying to win a bid to host the World Cup in 2018. Perhaps they should use “”Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough” as the motto for their bid.
Criticising Rascal and Corden is one thing (and it may or may not be worthwhile pointing out that James Corden is thirty-two years old in a week and a half or so), and it would probably be more relevant to point the finger of blame for this dreadful puddle of musical sludge in the direction of Simon Cowell, but they have between them at least probably tapped into a significant demographic in England ahead of this summer’s World Cup finals. Expectations of how the national team will perform in South Africa have slowly dipped since qualification was assured against Croatia last September, but this seems unlikely to stop the spirit of “coming and having a go if one thinks that one is hard enough” rearing its head somewhere over the next few weeks or so.
Ironically, the likelihood of any disorder involving England supporters taking place in South Africa itself seems reasonably slim, but it seems inconceivable that watching the tournament in public in England won’t be accompanied with the sound of broken glass and drunken men getting angry with each other for no particularly good reason at some point or other. To this extent, perhaps “Shout” is an entirely apposite song for England, filled as it is – the chorus at least – with ill-focussed rage at something, for some reason. Perceived slight has, after all, become something of a national pastime in this country over the last couple of years or so, whether it’s over immigrants coming over here and taking our jobs (which they aren’t) or whether wearing England shirts in the pub has been banned by those bastions of political correctness gone mad, the Metropolitan Police (which they haven’t been).
It is worth pointing out that “Shout For England”, to call it by its full name, isn’t an official World Cup song. The FA confirmed as long ago as January that there would be no official England World Cup song, but this has led to slew of aural sewage pouring forth into the public realm over the last few weeks or so. Amongst those that would, in a just world, find themselves hauled before some sort of tribunal and being subsequently banned from ever going within five hundred yards of a recording studio again, are the following miscreants:
- Rik Mayall, whose “Noble England” seems to be trying to invoke the spirit of Henry V but ends up sounding more like a man shouting at his imaginary foes in a shopping precinct.
- This “thing”, which throws every single “Ingerlund” cliché into a virtual food blender, with the result being a soup that tastes of raw dragon, the queen’s hair and cold roast beef.
- “When England Rule The World”, which may or may not be the theme music to “To The Manor Born” with vocals.
- Oh, and this, whatever the hell it’s supposed to be.
And, of course, there are many, many more, but it would be unfair to bracket all of the enthusiastic amateurs that have just had a go at writing a song for the World Cup in the same circle of hell as Simon Cowell and his cohorts. After all, Cowell became a multi-millionaire from the music industry, and Dizzee Rascal and James Corden are (no matter what we may think of their respective talents from a personal viewpoints) also professional entertainers, albeit from very different arms of a sprawling industry. We can’t even shout “don’t give up your day job” at them, because this is their day job. Worse still, it seems likely that “Shout For England” will be successful, which will only further encourage them (and those like them) in the future.