On Monday, you may have seen us talking about how things at the London Olympics were looking up, music-wise, thanks in no small part to The Chemical Brothers' "Theme For Velodrome." Turns out that although Muse's cacophony of cliches got the biggest fanfare, there are in fact five official Olympic songs -- and the best one got unveiled yesterday.
Dizzee Rascal's "Scream"
is, hands down, the best Olympic theme song we have ever heard. Ever.
This, ladies and gents, is what an Olympic theme is supposed to sound
like. It gets you pumped within the first fifteen seconds. It makes
pretty great work-out music. It's about triumph over adversity. It makes
you want dance your ass off by the light of the Olympic flame. But the
thing we love most of all is that it's the first theme for the Games
that we've ever heard that ain't afraid to get real.
"Scream", Dizzee Rascal, Featuring Pepper
First and foremost, we are in love with the fact that Dizzee Rascal was even allowed to do a theme song for the Games. He is the only artist involved who truly reflects London life. Most of London talks more like Dizzee than the Queen, but the rest of the world rarely gets to hear that. Instead, whenever the Olympics comes up, American news stations remain focused on the most pompous dudes in the whole city -- Prime Minister David Cameron, Mayor Boris Johnson and ongoing twerp Piers Morgan. These upper class boarding school graduates don't reflect London as it really is -- multi-cultural, gritty, rough around the edges. Dizzee Rascal isn't just an important reminder of that, he's a way for all Londoners to feel proud of the Games -- even the working class ones.
Dizzee squeezes a remarkable amount into the lyrics here, too. In two and a half minutes, he goes from capturing the emotions of the athletes competing ("Today's the greatest day of my life/ Today they're gonna know I'm a star"), to trying to give troubled kids hope ("I've been through the struggle/ In and out of trouble/ A couple of close calls/ But you can't hear the pain anymore in my vocals"), to referencing medals and champions without resorting to any obvious cliches.
Finally -- and here's where the lyrics become totally surprising for an Olympic theme -- Dizzee admits that his part of London is "overly rotten" and talks in worldwide terms about poverty and the dangers facing young people everywhere. Who the hell has ever had the balls to do that in an Olympic song before? Of course, backing all of that dark stuff up are big beats and an uplifting refrain from a woman with a huge soul vocals, so, heck, even after he says all that, no one's bummed out at the end. Probably a little bit more motivated though.
So thanks for this, Dizzee. Thanks for not toning yourself down under pressure. And thanks for putting clips of Rocky in a video for a song that's supposed to be about the Olympics. It makes absolutely no sense... but we're into it.