What a strange week. President Trump is coming to the UK and England could actually win the World Cup. If we went back four years, which of those two things would have seemed more likely? It really is hard to say.
To mark both occasions, there are rival campaigns to get songs to Number One this week. England footy fans are trying to get Baddiel, Skinner and The Lightning Seeds‘ ‘Three Lions’ to top spot, while Trump protesters are backing Green Day‘s ‘American Idiot’.
But which side are you supporting? Two NME writers give their say…
The Lightning Seeds’s ‘Three Lions’ should win, says Tom Connick
We need this. You can smell it in the air – the salty stench of sweat as a nation tenses up in unison. We need the release. We need the victory. We need ‘Three Lions’ to reach Number One. It’s been a long 52 years of hurt, countless dreams dashed on the penalty spot and beyond. But this World Cup has been different. There’s a sense of optimism across England that entire generations have never felt before – a feeling of pride in a country that has consistently let down its youth. And ‘Three Lions’ has become its anthem.
Listen hard and you can hear it echoing around the country, even now, days after England’s last victory. Crowds of people can be found embracing each other in the streets as its refrain bounces from pub to bar, living room to pop-up experiential East London screening which also sells craft cocktails for 12 quid a pop.
It’s an anthem of unity and positivity – one that dashes that oh-so-English cynicism into the ground. ‘American Idiot’ is a fine (if simplistic) message to send to Trump, sure, but ‘Three Lions’ reaching the top spot would solidify this positive new England, rather than relish in yet another governmental fuck up. The ‘it’s coming home’ mantra has become about much more than football. It’s about hope. And god knows we need some of that right now.
Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ should win, says Luke Morgan Britton
As a (somewhat proud) Welshman, I was never going to be supporting England in the World Cup. My dad would literally never speak to me again. And, honestly, being surrounded by Southgate Mania and It’s Coming Home Fever for the past month or so has been a gruelling test of endurance and tolerance. It’s like being surrounded by an entire nation day-drunk on naive optimism, when you yourself haven’t had a drop to drink.
But this isn’t the only reason to back Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ over ‘Three Lions’ – the factors behind the Trump protest are very noble ones. The organisers have described the campaign as a “a peaceful protest against a racist, misogynist, pussy-grabbing, elitist, healthcare-destroying, climate change-denying, bullshitting, backward, orange shitgibbon of an excuse for a man,” and it’s hard to disagree with that. Even Green Day themselves have shown support for the cause.
Sure, ‘American Idiot’ is a bit of a cliched song, but it sends its message very directly. Originally penned as a response to the gung-ho foreign policy and nationalistic hysteria of the Bush administration, its lyrics – “Don’t wanna be an American idiot / Don’t want a nation under the new mania,” – are just as applicable to the megalomaniac, fascistic, Twitter-fingered Trump leadership. In comparison, Bush’s era was relatively placid – and that’s really saying something.
Trump’s is a regime that thinks it’s OK to squash the press, alienate almost all minorities and separate families under the thinly-veiled guise of patriotism. Sure, the nationalism of supporting your country in a footy tournament is relatively harmless. Having lived in the US, I can confirm that the kind of feelings stirred up by Trump are a different story altogether.
So, for this reason, my vote is for ‘American Idiot’. To troll the biggest troll of them all, and to shame a man with clearly no shame. Failing that though, I’ll accept the alternate scenario of ‘Three Lions’ getting to Number One and England not actually clinching the World Cup trophy. Oh, wouldn’t that be sweet, sweet irony.