With the 2018 World Cup coming up, it’s time to relive some of the World Cup songs that are in our memories still. So, let’s look at some of them, official and unofficial from 2006 onwards.
When I get older,
I will be stronger…
They’ll call me freedom
Just like a waving flag…
You read the above lines in tune, didn’t you? If these lines give you the chills and make you want to jump on your feet, then you know this song has a place in your heart. Not the official anthem for the 2010 World Cup, this song was so catchy and lyrically powerful that it was adopted by football fans all around the world! K’naan wrote this song depicting the struggles of growing up in war-torn Somalia and hoping for freedom originally, but that had to change when Coca-Cola decided to use it for their 2010 World Cup campaign. With some added drum beats and some changes in lyrics, the song didn’t lose its essence, and still retained the feeling of unity and pride. That might be the reason why this song got all the attention. With over 100 million views, Wavin’ Flag really did wave the flag of the K’naan’s popularity, while it takes us down memory lane to this day.
Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)
Tsaminamina eh eh…Waka waka eh eh…
Tsaminamimazangalewa…this time for Africa!
These catchy lines are probably the only part you remember from the iconic official World Cup song of 2010. It is another fan favorite, and not just because Shakira is hot, but the song is also full of energy downright to the end. Three and half minutes of lively pop combined with African sounds and the stunning dance numbers of Shakira and other girls made for a song that is above the rest of the “official” world cup songs. The video is also quite colorful and vivid, and it does a good job of embracing the football spirit, placing football players front and center throughout. The dance number initially received some criticism about not being sung by an African singer, but after that died down, it was a global sensation for a time, 1.8 billion views on YouTube don’t lie.
Ole Ole (We are One)
631 million views on YouTube and yet one that didn’t live up to the standards of football fans. This song was as catchy as it was forgettable. It’s got a certain rhythm to it, and the music is also satisfactory, but as an official World Cup song, it is just bland or mediocre at best. That’s the reason why we still hum “Wavin’ flag” and “Waka waka” instead of the last World Cup song. The song does try, with Pitbull firing out raps and Jennifer Lopez giving it her all, and even bringing in the Brazilian singer, Claudia Lette, but fails to embrace the football spirit. The video tries too, with lively dance numbers featuring Brazilian models twerking mostly, and the vivid play of colors, but it just doesn’t cut it. Therefore, this is not one of the best songs of the World Cup.
La LaLa (Brazil 2014)
Another one by the stunning Shakira (featuring Carlinhos Brown), and this time for the 2014 World Cup. This is also not an official number, but it’s still more enjoyable to the ears than the official Ole Ole. A song that didn’t quite make it to the lists of “Best World Cup Songs” but one that deserves an honorable mention. The song might not be as catchy as her Waka Waka, but this song still endorses the football spirit more than others. However, the one for Brazil 2014 is a rework of the original, so, don’t get confused if you see two different versions. The song’s hook and electronic vibe with the drums are the winners but the lyrics do have energy, the team spirit and inclusiveness. Combined with the video that includes football players here and there and a lot of football scenes with face-paints and what not, it feels more like the official World Cup song than the official one and should have a place somewhere in those lists.
Hips Don’t Lie (World Cup 2006 Bamboo Mix)
Shakira, again (with Wyclef Jean). Yes, her hips are already famous as they are, and her original single Hips Don’t Lie made it to the number one spot on charts of some 15 countries when it came out it 2006. It was one of the most iconic numbers of the decade, and it still is, even 12 years after its release. But not many know that this song was also selected as one of the songs for World Cup 2006. Although very similar to the original, the Bamboo mix has a slightly faster tempo with louder drum beats, additional electronic beats, and Latino bridge to the lyrics, with Wyclef Jean providing a more energetic rap as well. It makes the already fantastic song more energetic and livelier. The video, however, only contains some football clips added to the original music video. But all in all, it maintains the essence of the original, while also giving you the World Cup vigor.
The Time of Our Lives (2006 World Cup Official)
A song that is aggressively in the middle, you will see this official World Cup 2006 number on some “Best World Cup Songs” as well as on some “Worst World Cup Songs”. Yes, it’s a matter of perspective, but this song does have both highs and lows. A team-up between the powerful voices of multinational operatic pop quartet Il Divo and American R&B singer Toni Braxton, the slow pop track does include a powerful message of peace and unity and how teamwork can create a better world. The downside is that half of the song is in Spanish and half in English. Also, the video just shows the quartet and singer singing in a football stadium at night with a few clips of World Cup from the past. And it even opens with teams running out for the final match in 1996, in which Germany, the host of the 2006 World Cup, lost! The song did go on to make it to some top ten lists, top twenties and top thirties of some European charts, but not all the way, so, yes…this is middle of the road.
As for the coming World Cup, Jason Derulo is making us dance to his song “Colors” which is Coca-Cola’s promotional anthem for 2018. The upbeat dance number does depict multiculturism; to embrace unity in diversity. The trio of Smash, Polina Gagarina and Egor Creed also has another song for the World Cup. The slow electric Russian pop song, Team 2018 celebrates teamwork in all spheres of life, but there’s a chance you might not understand a word of it. Let’s hope this year gives us more groovy songs that can stand up to the likes of Wavin’ Flag and Waka Waka!