This Year's Susan Boyle

The World Cup's nearly over. I think.

I'm going to keep my opinions on football to myself. Be that as it may, even the most insane of face-painting, wig-wearing, wife-beating, lager-swilling “footie nut” must agree that football, when mixed with music, is about as appealing a prospect as white supremacy mixed with music.

I could compile a list of examples of the worst offenders (which would include an honourable mention to the maudlin fan-chants which drone out of televisions nationwide whenever a match is played by anyone, anywhere – there really is no escape) but, seeing as this would involve not just listening once more to such things I promised myself I would never hear again, it would also involve dignifying the output of such “musicians” through the obligation to search for details concerning whoever the hell shat out such unlistenable monstrosities in the first place.

But life's too short. And anyway, in the face of countless online resources seemingly dedicated to saying just how shit is absolutely everything, the whole point of this blog was to make it seem like not such a taboo to, you know, enjoy things. Which is why, in this instance, I'm going to keep my opinions concerning football to myself.

However, please try to imagine my reservations and dread when I came across this:

Match Of The Day. The album. Third only to “Jeremy Kyle – The Album” and “Loose Women – The Album” in “Television shows I find utterly abhorrent for which a soundtrack album must surely represent a low point for human endeavour to date”.

And yet, take a look at the track listings as taken from Play.com:

Disc 1

Kasabian - Fire
The Killers - Human
The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition
Doves - Jetstream
MGMT- Kids
Vampire Weekend - Cousins
Calvin Harris - I'm Not Alone
Friendly Fires - Jump In The Pool
Keane - Spiralling
The Stone Roses - Fools Gold
Broken Bells - The High Road
Just Jack - Embers
Iglu & Hartly - In This City
The Courteeners - You Overdid It Doll
Passion Pit - Sleepyhead
The Cribs - We Share The Same Skies
Glasvegas - Geraldine
Leftfield featuring Afrika Bambaataa - Afrika Shox
The Clash - This Is England
The Dallas Guild World Cup Team - Rainbow Nation (Soviet Science Mix) (BBC World Cup Theme)

Disc 2

U2 - Beautiful Day
Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling
Mumford & Sons - The Cave
Scouting For Girls - This Ain't A Love Song
Owl City - Fireflies
Stereophonics - Dakota
The Charlatans - The Only One I Know (From Cadbury's Dairy Milk TV Ad)
Manic Street Preachers featuring Nina Persson - Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
The Ting Tings - Be The One
The Big Pink - Tonight
Delphic - Counterpoint
Bloc Party - Banquet
Primal Scream - Loaded
Editors - Papillon
Darwin Deez - Radar Detector
Kids In Glass Houses - Matters At All
Pixies - Isla De Encanta (From Visa Football TV Ad)
Rik Mayall - Noble England
Journey - Don't Stop Believin'
Baddiel, Skinner & Lightning Seeds - Three Lions '98

OK, OK – there is rather a lot of landfill indie toss on there. And, granted, Black Eyed Peas, Scouting For Girls, Owl City, Just Jack, Iglu & Hartly – yeah, exactly the sort of music which makes me wonder as to why I've vested such interest so far in a medium capable of being spun for such evil means.

Beyond that, though, there's plenty of brilliance, wonder and joy to which I'd actually want to listen. Leftfield featuring Afrika Bambaataa. Passion Pit. MGMT. Doves. Broken Bells. Darwin Deez. Pixies. Vampire Weekend.

Beyond even that, though, the song choices – as arguably pedestrian and middle-of-the-road as they might be – are actually pretty good songs – the sort for which it would be churlish of me to even pretend not to like. You have my favourite respectable songs by U2 and Stereophonics, an undeniable populist classic by Primal Scream – and the opening trio of the first disc? Well, they might not be the best songs ever written, but they're all exactly the sort of anthems which could be happily  embraced by stadia full of people who previously shared very little indeed in common.

OK, it's awful that certain songs require parentheses detailing the adverts in which they appeared, but still. Even the token “football songs” are more than tolerable. The pair of them would have been identified as “worthy exceptions” had I gone and made my aforementioned petty and infernal list of hatred and resentment. If you've not yet heard Rik Mayall's Noble England, well. It's rousing even beyond the football context in which it's written.

But why is it this year's Susan Boyle? Well, remember when Boyle first belted out with that voice and Ant (or Dec) turned to the camera and exclaimed “weren't expecting that, were you”? That's exactly what my brother said to me when he first demonstrated this particular compilation to me.

Also, whilst I can appreciate this compilation and am able to at least consider that it could be much, much worse – all the same I don't think I'd ever actually sit down and listen to it, let alone buy it. Just like with Susan Boyle!

Rejoice: For things are sometimes not as bad as you think they're going to be.