The England versus Denmark match demonstrated the importance of song. Before the game Sweet Caroline’s being delivered as if it was a 50th Birthday Party in Benidorm. The national anthem – beyond the shirt – has the same symbolic significance as swearing on the Bible in court. The words of the anthem are sung not to exhibit the singing talent of the footballers but to have the footballers give their commitment towards the nation and the fans. It is a singing pledge that demonstrates that these players identify the same tune, the same queen and the same country as the crowds in the stadium and the spectators at home. After the game, the Skinner and Baddiel song ‘it’s coming home’ is sung by the players and fans in the stadium and then throughout London until the early hours of Thursday morning. It seemed to act as the identity badge that transformed London into a theme park for all that were willing to celebrate the England victory. In the midst of the carnival it seems the meaning of ‘it’s coming home’ has been forgotten or repurposed. Forgotten, because the term ‘football’s coming home’ said directly as a response to England’s progression in the tournament is a mis interpretation of the lyrics. ‘It’s coming home’ was written in reference towards the 1996 European competition where football was ‘coming home’ because England, the birthplace of football, was hosting the tournament. The lyrics then go on to talk about the difficulty and excitement of watching England over the years then going on to explain the hopes of Baddiel and Skinner: ‘I know that was then but it could be again’. In another way, ‘it’s coming home’ seems to be the anthem celebrating the end of Covid, with ‘it’ being the excited hedonism found on the streets of London where people smile, eyes glazed over with four pints of draught lager shouting ‘it’s coming home’ like Ebenezer Scrooge shouting ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS’ on Christmas Day.
While the majority who watch don’t play football, they are able to shout and sing and the song creates a collective consciousness through tone, delivery and the images created through the song’s lyrics. After over a year of isolation, it is an extraordinary thing to share a space and song and greeting with our fellow man.
A song is an instrument of collective communication that provides an insight towards our idea about the word. The lords of song, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Ella Fitzgerald, Leonard Cohen, Mick Jagger and Alex Turner became an identity in themselves:
Frank Sinatra is an actor who defines wealth, his songs and his voice are, in themselves, an explanation of the good life. For many, Elvis was and always will be the definition of America. Through April in Paris, Ella Fitzgerald can articulate and create the most accurate feeling of what it is that people adore about Paris. Some think Leonard Cohen is the sole author of the book on love. Mick Jagger is the definition of Rock and Roll. Alex Turner, for my generation, was the main architects of an urban attitude of wit and confidence. These singers are Western Gods. They have given one of the soul explanations for the meaning of life. Their existence and representation is the realisation of our fantasy, the articulation and performance of the energy that we seek. For it is the song, more than any other medium, that has the ability to create and articulate an impression and feeling, to capture and lead the imagination