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Time for a breather? Girlfriends and wives the world over are suddenly breathing a sigh of relief this sunny day, as for the first time in three weeks, there isn’t a single World Cup game taking place. For me, that’s a handy opportunity to go back and pick through the wreckage of the teams who’ve already found themselves eliminated and wonder why my predictions were so woeful (considering I’ve already written about Paraguay, Ghana, and Uruguay, and they’re going strong for now). Then again, at least I’m not the only person in England who’s put in a woeful performance this summer!

Fabio Capello reacts to Rooney losing the ball yet again.

Trying to pinpoint one piece of music that completely encapsulates everything about a country is impossible unless you’ve spent a significant portion of your life living there, which is why I haven’t done it yet. England, however, is another matter, so I hereby present to you the single most English piece of music in history. You want camp? You want a pompous and slightly lily-livered sense of pride? You want a romantic view of the rolling hills of the countryside painted by people who’ve never actually lived there? You want a bunch of drunken yobs chanting meaningless crap at each other in large groups? Elgar’s got the goods. Why the hell isn’t this our national anthem?!

So where do we find Englishness specifically in popular music? Well, here’s an interesting, if flawed thought; in a recent MOJO article, one of their journalists was having a ramble on how Arctic Monkeys fit into a very British lineage of rock bands, adopting the term ‘hard pop’ to describe them. The linage is probably easier to identify than define – so getting that out of the way first, it’s The Kinks, The Who, The Rolling Stones, possibly The Beatles, T-Rex, Queen, The Jam, possibly The Clash, The Blockheads, Suede, Blur, Oasis, Pulp, The Libertines, and Arctic Monkeys, and various other acts that sound like them. The general idea, so says the article, are that Britain is unmatched in world music when it comes to creating musically robust guitar bands that shy away from the more unsavoury rockist and popist conventions, always put melody first, tend to embrace a certain degree of camp or absurdity, and write songs that turn a very cynical eye toward culture without necessarily suggesting ways it could improve, or even suggesting it should improve. The article also suggested that America have never produced an answer to these bands (although surely the answer to The Libertines and The Who is ‘no’). I don’t necessarily agree with it, but there are certainly worse ways to try and sum up English rock than this. Particularly considering that, with this model, the ultimate British pop song is surely this.

There are plenty, though, that would dismiss the tired, over-worked canonism of classic rock and look instead to genres that do more to stay relevant and fresh. On that score, England can be proud of all the major cutting-edge electronic acts it’s contributed over the past 20 years, from New Order to M/A/R/R/S to Soulwax to Renegade Soundwave to Massive Attack to Leftfield to Goldie, and all points inbetween. Right now the major buzz in English dance, not just within the nation’s borders but worldwide, is dubstep, and that’s largely because it’s fucking awesome. Joker’s the man who’ll play you out right now, with “City Hopper” – neither the man nor the tune get enough love in my eyes.





Jim
06.30.10
common people is a classic pommy song, but i thought tub-thumping would have it pipped, surely!

RoshanC
06.30.10
Jokers quality, probs my favourite dubstep atm. got a bit more melody than most and more going on

Tits McGee
06.30.10
Haha, I'm not surprised that "Common People" ended up here. Though I must say I prefer the Shatner version of the song.

pneumoniahawk93
06.30.10
Ah, Pomp and Circumstance...Last Night of the Proms..etc etc. Quintessential Englishness. Though I think you could have also talked about the rap scene in the UK, anyone from Dizzee to Wiley to Lethal Bizzle to Giggs to...god knows. I would say the most English song right now is the Migraine Skank. (just search it on youtube...maybe it's just where I live (Milton Keynes) but yeah...)

Thor
06.30.10
can't have england without cradle of filth lol

Spare
06.30.10
oh look radiohead's not mentioned

Iai
06.30.10
Hey pneumoniahawk, you live about 20 minutes away from me. Cool.

Iai
06.30.10
Radiohead is nowhere near as much of a glaring oversight as The Smiths tbqh

Buccaneer
06.30.10
England doesnt deserve an article after their appalling performance. You know your team sucks when your best player is a goalkeeper who let in four goals.

It was a good read anyways, that Pulp song brought back memories

DaveyBoy
07.01.10
What would an English football fan do immediately after England win the World Cup?

Turn off the PlayStation.

Ghostechoes
07.01.10
lmao

Ghostechoes
07.01.10
"Fabio Capello reacts to Rooney losing the ball yet again."

Wait, so Rooney actually kicked the ball at some point in the World Cup?

Douglas
07.01.10
What is the difference between England and a Tea Bag?

A tea bag stays in the cup longer.

Douglas
07.01.10
zing

Ghostechoes
07.01.10
lol, France received what they deserve, though.

DaveyBoy
07.01.10
Hey Dave, are you really Tommy Smyth... with a Y?

Iai
07.01.10
"Wait, so Rooney actually kicked the ball at some point in the World Cup?"

Watch the Algeria game, he was doing a bang-up job of kicking the ball directly to Bougherra. Over and over again.

pneumoniahawk93
07.01.10
Yeah, Rooney was about as useful as a cock-flavoured lollipop. /dodgeball reference

And wow Iai, that's cool...i'm guessing Bedford?

Iai
07.01.10
Northampton. I grew up in Luton though.

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