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Awarding the official Olympics songs

Five songs released for the Games go head to head before our judge: Times pop music writer Todd Martens.

July 23, 2012|By Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times
  • Elton John performs on stage together with DJ duo 'Pnau' in Spain.
Elton John performs on stage together with DJ duo 'Pnau' in Spain. (Isabel Flores, EPA )

The London Olympics won't get underway until this weekend, but numerous songs from these pop-heavy games have already been released. As part of its "Rock the Games" music program, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games commissioned five songs.

The first to appear was Muse's "Survival," and the last will be Dizzee Rascal's "Scream," which will be released midway through the games on Aug. 6.

Here, we pit the official Olympic songs against one another and rank them the only way the Olympics know how: gold, silver and bronze.

The contenders: The Chemical Brothers' "Theme for Veldodrome," Delphic's "Good Life," Dizzee Rascal's "Scream," Elton John vs. Pnau's "Good Morning to the Light" and Muse's "Survival."

Gold: "Good Morning to the Light." Australian dance duo Pnau raided the '70s catalog of Elton John for this spry, cheery anthem, mashing up more than five John originals to create one blissfully uplifting and cross-generational techno-pop anthem.

Silver: "Scream." Dizzee Rascal's frantically fast delivery needs subtitles; he unleashes his vocals like he's rapping a pep talk. The song works because singer-collaborator Pepper is an inspirational, soulful foil to Rascal's edginess.

Bronze: "Theme for Veldodrome." Designed as a theme for Olympic cycling events, this song starts off slowly, with creepily precise robotic vocals, and builds to an assortment of "Tron"-like digital effects. The whole thing is slightly more eerie than typical sports anthems, but this is designed to keep listeners moving.

todd.martens@latimes.com

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