Various Artists “The Best Soccer Songs”


This eclectic compilation released by the Japan Football Association throws together pop, rock, funk and dancey Brazilian soccer anthems to accompany the emotional rush of the World Cup.

The album includes catchy hits from major pop and rock stars including Fatboy Slim, The Village People, Rod Stewart and Chumbawumba. Most of the tracks are upbeat, groovy and easily digestible. Many also feature skilled use of live instruments, such as the rhythmic bongos and funky trumpets of “Reach Up” by Perfecto Allstarz, and the chorus of soulful saxophones in Hans Dulfer’s “Mickey Mouth,” which jive nicely with the tune’s shuffling break-beats. The hypnotic female vocals in Champ United’s “Samba de Janeiro” anthem pull listeners in, making them wish they could understand those sexy Portuguese lyrics.

A handful of songs are distinctly made-for-soccer, such as Simply Red’s ballad “We’re in this Together.” That song was the official song of the Euro 1996 Football Championship. The samba-influenced “Carnaval 2002” by Dario G was released in 2002 for the joint South Korea-Japan World Cup. Junko Yamamoto’s “Tsubasa wo Kudasai” (Give Me Wings) was also produced as a theme song for the Japanese team at that time. Honoring this year’s Japan squad is Ultras’ rock anthem “Samurai Blue” (2010 Mix).

The slower, softer moments of “The Best Soccer Songs” include Rod Stewart’s “Sailing” and Nick Wood’s orchestral “Passion the Game of Life.” Though some may find parts of this compilation too sentimental, it definitely echoes the spectrum of feelings of soccer fans worldwide.