Match of the Day: The Album
Packed full of stirring indie pop anthems, Match of the Day: The Album is the first release to coincide with the hugely successful football highlights program. Unlike many TV compilation tie-ins, the music featured is actually relevant to the show, with the majority of tracks having been used to accompany various title sequences and clips packages. Indeed, the likes of Lightning Seeds' "Life of Riley," Embrace's "Ashes," and Doves' "Black and White Town" have since become synonymous with breathtaking winning goals or world-class saves. Attempting to cover the whole spectrum of the beautiful game, Match of the Day is undoubtedly a compilation of two halves. The pulsating garage rock of the Gossip's "Standing in the Way of Control," Hard-Fi's thumping "Living for the Weekend," and Manic Street Preachers' string-laden epic "A Design for Life" all manage to capture the thrill and excitement of the U.K.'s number one sport. However, Athlete's somber piano-led "Wires," Travis' melancholic "Why Does It Always Rain on Me," and Glasvegas' haunting "Geraldine" appear to soundtrack the despair and disappointment most football fans feel, resulting in a strangely roller coaster listening experience. Considering the reputation of the football song genre, it's a wise decision to include just two of its most successful offerings. Lightning Seeds' "Three Lions" has become an alternative national anthem at England games thanks to its Brit-pop sound, optimistic lyrics, and singalong chorus, while New Order's dance-influenced "World in Motion," despite the John Barnes rap, still remains the greatest football song ever. With such a wide range of viewers, it's no surprise that the noughties-heavy first disc makes way for a more retro-sounding second, with Mott the Hoople's classic "All the Young Dudes," Undertones' anthemic "Teenage Kicks," and Primal Scream's gospel-tinged "Come Together" the highlights. But it's hard to see where the emo-pop of Metro Station's "Shake It" or Pulp's "Do You Remember the First Time" fits in with the theme of the album, while the overplayed likes of Nickelback's "Rock Star" and Ting Tings' "That's Not My Name" show a distinct lack of imagination. Overall, Match of the Day is a competent addition to the football compilation market. But with a track list that could have been pulled from any commercial rock radio station, it feels more like a safe mid-table also-ran than an exciting title chaser.