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Musical score for the soccer fiesta

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An album just on cue for the football season

Cricket fans may shout and cheer. And on rare occasions, may unite to do a Mexican Wave. They don't generally sing in unison. Possibly because there are no "cricket songs". You can't say the same about football, whose fiercely loyal fans worldwide have helped create and sustain a whole musical sub-genre of songs and theme tunes. Leading national teams have their official songs and the world of international pop music has done its bit, contributing its own foot-tappers to the global repertoire of football music. Times Music has just released Goal: The Best Football Album Ever (double CD, Rs. 250) timely collection of over 30 songs and musical numbers - most of them with a strong connection to soccer. From that old British Freddie Mercury favourite "We are the champions!" to Ricky Martin's rendition of "La Copa de la Viva" or "The Cup of Life", football songs are mostly about winning. Which is possibly why that Abba classic "Winner Takes it All" has been sneaked into the 2-CD album. "Football's Coming Home!" has the sort of convenient lyrics that fans of every national contender can belt out in the hope that their team will take home the trophy, one month from now. The musical anthem that famous cinema composer Vangelis wrote for the 2002 FIFA games as well as the Lamberts's equally rousing World Football Anthem form neat book ends to the two CDs while some Latin standards like "Samba de Janeiro" and "Livin' Li Vida Loca" as well as the Bongo Song by the Danish Safri Duo find their place because they are eminently singable by an uncoordinated choir of 50,000. Possibly because of its timely title (for the final match?), The 1980s song "The Final Countdown", first sung by the Swedish group Europe, also finds a place. And if Hindi film goers in India find it vaguely familiar, they would be right: the tune was lifted by that all-time weepy Maine Pyar Kiya for its theme. But how can one explain a tuneful musical rendering of Verdi's "La Donna e mobile" from his opera Rigoletto? Fans of British clubs will no doubt empathise with "Stand Up (For the Champions)", made famous by the group Right Said Fred which is the epitome of self confidence: "I was built to be the best/ Number one and nothing less/ Leave me to my destiny/ I have waited patiently/ I have vision' oh I believe/ I know I can count on me." Let's see which team still gets to chant that on the way back home. Meanwhile, this two-hour, two-CD musical fiesta should provide the appropriate accompaniment to the daily dose of FIFA on TV for the next four weeks. ANAND PARTHASARATHY

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