A large chunk of the world (sans the United States) stops what it’s doing for a month every four years to watch athletes battle for national pride on the football pitch. It’s the World Cup, and it’s big enough to even get those non-footballers into the beautiful sport. Have you seen those Beats commercials swirling around the nets that include the king of the NBA, Lebron James, as the U.S. ambassador to soccer and Brazilian player, Neymar? The electricity will be in the air and it’s the one time in four months that Americans will claim to be football…err, soccer fans.
Like during the Olympics, the World Cup is a chance to celebrate different cultures while vehemently cheering for their failure on the field. As such, we put together a World Cup playlist that matches each team with a musician or band from each country.
Delorean, “Destitute Time” — Spain
“La Furia Roja” will be defending their World Cup title in Brazil in a stacked group that will be heavily contended. Barcelona’s Delorean brings the same manic approach to their music as the Spaniards do on the soccer field with immense calculation.
Soda Stereo, “De Musica Ligera” — Argentina
The Argentinians are of the colossal stature and true giants of the Cup. Despite Maradona’s many off the field flaws, the tradition has carried all the way down to Lionel Messi’s cleats. Soda Stereo, like the football tradition that starts with the Boca Juniors all the way to the national team, is the quintessential “Rock en Español” band that pioneered the movement.
3ballMTY, “Inténtalo” — Mexico
It’s amazing that Mexico actually made it this far. The chances of El Tri making the Cup hung on the outcome of a US match that favored the south of the border neighbors. A hybrid of cumbia, dance hall and traditional Guaracha tribal music emulates the Mexican football team with a headstrong Chicharito and Guillermo Ochoa to protect the net.
Boris, “Flare” — Japan
The intensity that Boris brings to the stage is nearly unrivaled. Only to be touched by the Japanese football team that will most certainly battle their way out of their much too easy group schedule.
Sam Smith, “Money on my Mind” — England
Sam Smith’s smooth demeanor is popping up on the radar here in the States, but back in his native England, the British crooner has been at it since he was a wee lad. Smith’s suave, Bond-like style matches the English football team’s attitude on the field — when they’re not playing for their lives.
Kendrick Lamar, “Swimming Pools (Drank)” — United States
Kendrick Lamar is still one of the newer faces of hip hop, and plans to stay on the scene a while, much like the relatively new kids on the block that are still playing with a major chip on their collective shoulder. The exclusion of Landon Donovan is too over-hyped, because the team’s heart belongs to Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard.
Ana Tijoux, “Vengo” — Chile
The Chilean football team and Ana Tijoux stand in solidarity against the political unrest that has plagued the west coast of South America for years. Three cheers for solidarity!
Iggy Azalea, “Fancy” — Australia
The rugged terrain of the Australian outback is omnipresent with the Billboard chart topping artist of the moment, I-G-G-Y! The Aussies are going to need the ruggedness if they want to advance the knockout phase.
Kraftwerk, “Tour de France Étape 1″ — Germany
The Germans are precise with their attack and defense. Kraftwerk are precise with their beats and delivery. I’m starting to notice a trend here.
Phoenix, “Too Young” — France
The “laissez faire” approach by the French might need some retooling if they want to be serious. And by serious, we mean cutting a rug like Parisians, Phoenix.
Julio Enriquez is a Denver writer and photographer, editor of the Cause=Time blog and a regular contributor to Reverb