It’s that time of year again when it’s ok to wear an England shirt in public and not feel like a UKIP supporter. Well, kind of. Of course I’m not talking about the EU Referendum, but about the European Championships taking place in France.
In the past there have been some awesome football songs, Collapsed Lung’s Eat My Goal and Fat Les’ Vinderloo being tournament winners, and the forgettable Sven Sven Sven by Bell and Spurling acting as the equivalent as finishing bottom of the group stages. This week sees the release of Four Lions-We Are England. Four lions are Shaun Ryder, Paul Oakenfold, Kermit and Goldie. On paper this is a single that is full of promise, much like this year’s team, but sadly on closer inspection it has a weak back four.
As this is Ryder and Kermit’s second England single, the first been 1996’s England’s Irie, they know the drill. Shouty chorus, tongue in cheek verses and all wrapped up with a dance-pop beat. However when you listen to more than once you realise that the verses aren’t quite as funny or insightful as they should be and the chorus, “We’re England until we die!”, just comes off as, well, lazy. Yes this is a chant that every football fans knows and has sung, its one that has always felt rather hollow. Ultimately football fans are fickle. When the going is good they’ll scream and shout anything in droves, once the rot sets in most will flee and when the remaining fans sing “<insert your team here> until I die!” seem a tad sad.
But the real let down is the video. In the past Four Lions have been in great videos. Black Grape Kelly’s Heroes was just as ridiculous and fun as the song and Goldie’s Temper Temper still fills me with a sense of dread and malice even to this day. We Are England’s video however contains Ryder and Kermit on street corners singing, Oakenfold and Goldie filmed their cameos in LA and Thailand. Randomly Bez and Irvine ‘Trainspotting’ Welsh both makes appearances. Bez going through the motions of pilled up gurning and Welsh is almost un recognisable as his hoodie is so far over his face it’s hard to work out who he is, or why he is there. “But what about the football?” I can hear you say. Don’t worry, the obligatory ‘street’ footballers practicing is interspersed, but their tekkers are more in line with David Dunn than Cristiano Ronaldo.
Sadly We Are England had the potential to be another zeitgeist in Ryder’s career, but it just feels like a missed penalty. The ‘beats’ feel dated and the lyrics feel like the rantings of your uncle when he’s merry thing trying to remember songs, but getting them wrong. “We’re England until we die!” or until we get knocked out at the group stages, then we’ll revert to what team we got in the work sweepstake.