I'm not much of a soccer fan. In fact, to a lot of people I can be considered as a non-fan. Still, it doesn't stop me from listening to the music and songs that usually accompany the World Cup fever. In 1994 it was Queen's We Are The Champions. 1998, Ricky Martin's The Cup Of Life. 2002, Anastacia's Boom. 2006, Il Divo and Toni Braxton's The Time Of Our Lives. Now in 2010, it's Shakira's Waka Waka (This Time For Africa). What about the World Cup songs before 1994? Well, everything before that was too sedate (in other words, the songs were non-pop and non-commercial). Soccer was once considered a very serious game but now, it has become part and parcel of entertainment and business. The present soccer players are no longer mere soccer players anymore but they have also become celebrities, millionaires and billionaires (just watch MTV's Footballers Cribs and you'll be amazed at how opulent their lifestyle is), friends to world leaders, honorary members of the elite society, sex symbols, trendsetters and icons. So how did everything start? I have always considered Queen's We Are The Champions (I love that song actually) as a bridge towards a more commercial sound for the World Cup songs. The world was changing then (it was a natural progression of course) and more people were beginning to accept differences. Consequently, nobody gave a hoot when Ricky Martin started to shake his bon-bon to the tune of The Cup Of Life (everyone followed suit after that). With the song becoming a big hit all over the world, the world's soccer scene is no longer what it used to be. As a result, soccer has become pure entertainment for many people. One thing led to another and there was no way the monster could be stopped after that. Everybody knows that sex sells and it did not take long for the big corporations, the sponsors and the soccer players themselves to be cashing in on that factor. Beckham's sexy Emporio Armani underwear ad campaign finally consolidated the notion that soccer and sex can complement each other (beautifully of course). In 2002, Anastacia showed her well-toned abs and tried to repeat Ricky Martin's success. In 2006, Toni Braxton showed (purposely?) her tits and ass (on two different occasions) for the whole world to see during the opening ceremony. Now, we have Shakira gyrating, shaking and contorting her body in a video that has been viewed more than 25,000,000 times on youtube (I'm sure the number will double soon). Do we even dare to ask what the focus is? Is it the music? Or her hips (which obviously don't lie)? Or lest we forget, soccer itself?
p/s With the current trend moving from everything sexy to the absurd and strange, I seriously hope Lady Gaga won't be asked to sing the official song for the 2014 World Cup.