On the eve of the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, I heard the official song. It had shades of Queen, David Bowie, Abba, Procol Harum, early Andrew Lloyd Weber and a number of other British music influences. And as much as I liked that Muse had drawn on so many notable influences, I was disappointed with the overall piece. It was the lyrics, however, that truly disappointed with such sentiments as these:
Whatever it takes [So I told you]
You won’t pull ahead [So I told you]
I’ll keep up the pace [So I told you]
And I’ll reveal my strength, [So I told you]
To the whole human race [So I told you]
Yes I am prepared [So I told you]
To stay alive [So I told you]
I won’t forgive [So I told you]
Vengeance is mine [So I told you]
And I won’t give in [So I told you]
Because I choose to thrive [So I told you]
Truth be told, I’m not convinced that the lyrics or the music are in keeping with the spirit of the Olympics. Sure, the music began with a unique sort of neo-classical promise that morphed into 80s style pop music before taking an odd turn.
What’s happened over the years that the Olympic theme has become something so dark and angry? Wasn’t it just four years ago in Beijing that this quiet, thoughtful, gentle piece was the Olympic theme song?
At one point, the female vocalist sings:
You and me from one world
We are family.
Travel, dream a thousand miles
meeting in Beijing.
Come together; put your hand in mine.
You and me from one world,
We are family.
One of the best remembered Olympic themes was composed by John Williams for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. While there were no lyrics, the majesty of the games shone through.
Let’s not forget the majestic theme “Can You Feel It?” written by David Foster for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.
Perhaps it’s because the Olympic theme songs over the years have been uplifting and hopeful that this year’s Olympic theme seems to be so much less than what it could be and should have been.
Here’s hoping that the Rio de Janeiro Olympic theme song for 2016 marks a return to the optimism found in other Olympic theme songs.
There’s already enough darkness and negativity in the world without bringing it into a forum meant to showcase the best athletes each country has to offer.