The World Cup always has to have a theme song, usually an anthem of bland, cheery internationalist hokum about trying real hard, never giving up, and we're-all-friends-let's-play-some-football-and-please-no-rioting. It's really all been downhill since Hall and Oates did "Gloryland" for the 1994 World Cup. Then again, every song since "Private Eyes" has been downhill for our nation and world as a whole, so this is part of a pattern.â†µ
It is no surprise then that 2010's Official World Cup song is a disappointment to its predecessors, and not just because Hall and Oates are nowhere near it. Shakira sings "Waka Waka" with South African band Freshly Ground for this year's official song.â†µ
It is a relentlessly weird choice for so many reasons:â†µ
a.) The original song is about black soldiers working in collusion with white oppressorsâ†µ
b.) Shakira is as African as Daryl Hallâ†µ
c.) The Fozzie the Bear jokes will be made obviously, frequently, and painfully. If Berman were covering this, we'd have to sedate him and restrain him after a day or two to stop the madness.â†µ
d.) In a country with a rich musical tradition, the organizers didn't even bother choosing a South African song.â†µ
Other than that, it's fine. It could have been "Un Estate Italiano," after all, a.k.a. "the reason Italians haven't been allowed to make music since Verdi."