Having already established that official Olympics anthems are often tours de merde -- a reality that British maximalists Muse did more than their share to demonstrate with this year's contribution -- we'd all but given up hope for good tunes to soundtrack the sweat, tears, heartbreak, and triumph of the London games.
Let's not fret so soon. Today brings news that this Friday's opening ceremony will be overseen by the formidable audio-visual pairing of film director Danny Boyle and celebrated British electronic duo Underworld, which, hells yes. Boyle likes to use the music of Underworld in his films -- see the instantaneous ubiquity of "Born Slippy" after that awful/amazing Trainspotting toilet scene -- so having him serve as artistic director of the opening ceremony with Underworld music-directing the proceedings raises our eyebrows in a very optimistic direction. Underworld even plans to release Isle of Wonder: Music for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on iTunes immediately after the event at midnight July 28, Pitchfork reports. We haven't heard a peep of it, but we'll bet you two bangers and a pint of lager that it'll show those five minutes of Muse cacophony for the awful bit of histrionics they were.
For some new Olympics music you can actually listen to, check out the Chemical Brothers' "Theme for Velodrome," a three-minute song meant to soundtrack the Olympics' six days of cycling events. Taking the high-speed repetition of cycling as its inspiration, "Theme For Velodrome" builds (with throwback-cheesy computerized voices) into a racy climax, its speediness implied until the beat hits halfway through, by which time you're definitely having visions of birdlike men in neon jerseys speeding through narrow streets in tightly packed groups and thinking you look totally just like that when you're hustling down Market Street, late to work, dodging big white buses and oblivious tourist cars double-parked in the bike lane. Okay, well sort of.
Check out "Theme from Velodrome" below, and read more about it and the Chemical Brothers' love of cycling and Kraftwerk over at the UK Guardian. Or, just play this and be happy that Muse won't be the only ones representing British music when the 2012 games begin this very Friday, July 27.