Eat my goal England vs. Scotland: The Song Off

‘500 Miles’ vs. ‘Snooker Loopy’? ‘Don’t Come Home Too Soon’ vs. ‘Three Lions’? Let the battle commence.

Football, more than say, war, is a great way of defining which country is the best. Spain’s economy collapsed over the last few years, sure, but they pass the ball around well. Greece won the European Championships in 2004 and have a similarly dire financial situation, but they’ve won a thing at football, and are therefore great. It’s a great way to decide partisan, blind-sided jingoistic dominance without anyone dying. Therefore, it’s great.

But DIY is not a magazine about football. You’ve noticed that now, and that’s a good thing. Music, equally, is phenomenally great. So when music and football collide, who’s to say it isn’t the greatest thing ever? I mean, sure, most people, but ignore most people. You’re not here, reading this, because you care about the views of other people.

So in view of tonight’s game, between the oldest rivals in International Football, let’s have a smaller, better version of the Eurovision Song Contest. Who will come out on top? Will this article be biased? Read on, and find out.

Ally’s Tartan Army vs. Back Home

It should go without saying that both these songs are pretty rubbish. That said, ‘Ally’s Tartan Army’ has harmonies, LITERALLY HARMONIES, before we’re even a minute in. Scotland talk of shaking it up when they win the World Cup. This was based, essentially, on very little. Sure, Scotland had a decent team then, but England’s ‘Back Home’ was in the context of having won the biggest prize in football. They had every right to be cocky. And as you know, readers, when you’re cocky, you sing.

There’s always been an underdog spirit to Scotland, especially (and quite rightly, to be honest) when it comes to kicking around that soccer-ball, so ‘Ally’s Tartan Army’ goes somewhere on the spectrum between Caledonian sarcasm and outright unfounded arrogance, which makes it somewhat endearing. ‘Back Home’ however, under different guidance, could sound like a feasibly average Motown song, which by proxy, makes it half-decent.

Scotland 1-1 England

Don’t Come Home Too Soon vs. Three Lions

Oh Christ, I think this is where I have to concede defeat. As a little ‘un, I had a big soft spot for Baddiel and Skinner’s ‘Three Lions’. I might get crucified next time I’m at the pub for that (depending how northern you are, it’s a real possibility, provided the internet’s reached up there at this point), but come on, look at these two songs comparatively. ‘Three Lions’ is a cry of hope, an undeniably well-written song, easily adapted for the terraces. Whereas Del Amitri’s refrain of “even long shots make it… just don’t come home too soon” is less of a lyric than it is audio prozac for a nation holding out for glory as long as they could remember. In the end, inspired by this ditty, Scotland left World Cup ’98 having been humped by Morocco. I cried for ages. So that’s what I think of when I think of ‘Don’t Come Home Too Soon’. England take this one.

Scotland 1-2 England

500 Miles vs. Snooker Loopy

It’s everyone’s favourite duos since Ant and Dec and the Wests. The Proclaimers take on Chas ‘n Dave in a battle of “who’s the least awful parochial pair of musicians?”. The Proclaimers obviously have way more tunes than this, but it’s the classic that people remember most, as evidenced by people singing it to me when they hear my accent almost every time I’m in England. Chas ‘n Dave lose this one on account of A) this song being about snooker and B) being less utterly ubiquitous in the culture of its country. Also, was there a musical based on the songs of Chas ‘n Dave? I refuse to look it up, and therefore, it doesn’t exist.

Scotland 2-2 England

You Can Do Athletics, BTW vs. Grandstand Theme

Is it fair to say that the ‘Grandstand’ theme is one of the best pieces of music ever? Yes. Objectively, yes. But while it’s brilliant, it would be unfair, stupid even, to say that it was inspired by great bands like Devo and Bis. It wasn’t, which is where We Are The Physics have a distinct advantage over its much older competitor here. Both are inspiring themes devoted to sport (and you being able to do it), but ‘You Can Do Athletics, BTW’ has to edge this one. And with that, Scotland go ahead. This has nothing to do with the band’s singer and bassist Michael having written for this publication. Your honour.

Scotland 3-2 England

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) vs. Dreams

In possibly the greatest musical battle ever, it’s not The Rolling Stones against the Beatles. Not Oasis vs Blur. Not even 50 Cent vs Kanye West. No, it’s even better than that. Annie Lennox’s Eurythmics and their classic 1983 smash ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ is instantly recognisable, with a striking music video in which the Ellon-born buzz-cutted Annie Lennox plays a dominant woman with her eyes on world domination. In the other corner is eye-patch aficionado, the inimitable Gabrielle. It’s the battle of the dreams. Gabrielle believes they can come true, you know you’ve got to have one, you know you’ve got to be strong. Eurythmics believe… something as well. On balance, ‘Sweet Dreams’ has to win this because it was an enormous hit, although both of these songs are now probably relegated to the playlist at most branches of Debenham’s. Which is sad.

Scotland 4-2 England

The Krankees vs. So Solid Crew

I was almost going to go for The Singing Kettle, but I hear they’re a particularly Scottish phenomenon that didn’t quite cross over. Essentially, it was a band who did children’s songs, including one about not being able to shove your grandmother out of public transport, which teaches kids vital lessons about respect and traffic. They’re great. Instead, I’ve gone for the Krankees, who inexplicably achieved fame all across the UK. Having recently been outed as swingers, their unique ability to inspire fear has reached an exponential level that despite their low numbers, they provide an equal, if not greater threat, than all of So Solid Crew, who I’d never have messed with, and will continue not to. Also, did the Krankees help popularise grime? Not to my knowledge, and therefore So Solid Crew do England a Solid by winning a goal back for England. But with 21 Seconds to go (ha) in this brutal fixture, it’s too little, too late.

Scotland 4-3 England

And that’s full-time. You could almost, almost argue that this article is extremely unfair, and that there are far better examples of great Scottish and English music that could’ve been best utilise to illustrate my arguments. However, I haven’t. Anyone who reads DIY can find out about a multitude of great acts from all across the UK, and they’re emerging every day. So, ultimately, having picked from the great and good of more mainstream Scottish and English culture, it seems that the might of the Unicorn (seriously, look it up. That’s our national animal) has bested the Three Lions. Whether or not that’ll happen in reality is extremely unlikely, but if you’re looking for any analysis as to how tonight might go, you can do much worse than this.

Tags: Features

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