By 90Min
May 06, 2018

You've got to hold. And give. But do it at the right time.

You can be slow, or fast, but you must get to the line.

Ok, you get the idea, but seriously, how amazing is New Order's "World in Motion"? It's the greatest football song ever, right?

WRONG. Literally because they claim "this ain't a football song". But I digress.

I can't say it changed my life the first time I heard John Barnes' hilarious yet convincing rap solo, mainly because it was via a rendition from BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey, but New Order changed the face of football and general lad music forever with their take on a summer anthem, and for the better.

What's perhaps slightly odd about the song is that it isn't a limp effort in search of mass exploitation, as if the band were looking to sell themselves as major players in synthpop and general popular music.

Instead, it's a tune from a band at their peak, and one which is synonymous with a genuinely exciting time for English football. Gary Lineker was banging in goals, Paul Gascoigne was at his scintillating best, and the Three Lions could actually win a knockout game in an international tournament. Seriously, they battered Belgium and Cameroon by incredible one-goal margins at the 1990 World Cup.


It's certainly a far cry from what we're treated to today. In 2010, we could only sit and watch as James Corden and Dizzee Rascal trashed a Tears for Fears classic, the way one watches when a family member get absolutely smashed and starts singing karaoke loudly and without a backing track; mouth wide open, eyes twitching, totally captivated and knowing the content is shocking yet unable to pull away your gaze.

For the record, my family's weird, but Shout for England was both doubly odd and just plain bad.

Then you've got artists like Shakira, Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez making their mark on World Cups, for better or for worse, with what are mainly just entries into pop culture's endless back catalogue and plainly harmless fun.


As shown by "World In Motion", though, we used to be treated to songs created by artists not only willing to record a soundtrack for a summer, but also a tune that will stand the test of time.

Four years after the 1990 World Cup, the competition's official song for the 1994 edition was Queen's "We Are the Champions", an effort which is now apt for any winning situation regardless of football.

And it's Queen. So double points there.

The 1998 re-release of "Three Lions", originally recorded two years prior by the Lightning Seeds with comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner, deserves a mention too, but the fact that it was released to mark England's participation in the European Championships two years earlier means I can't fully support its claim to be a World Cup song. As brilliant as it is, mind.

In stark contrast, this summer we can look forward to Jason Derulo's "Colors" being blared out of every speaker, violating your eardrums. One should never really slag off a song without giving it a fair listen, but it seems a fair judgement to assume the tune will be something formulaic and recycled, as per.

It seems a world away from "World Cup Willie", 1966's upbeat ditty about a Union Jack flag-wearing lion, or the joyful "Fútbol México 70", but unfortunately we're past a point of no return with modern music, which has unfortunately infected the World Cup.

One thing is for certain though; "World In Motion" is one of the greatest musical creations of all time, and certainly one of the most iconic for football.

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