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Muse joins Olympics song canon

Categories: Music

It's hard to win with an Olympics song. The mantra of the Games -- higher, faster, stronger -- ends up sounding like egotistical pomposity in musical form. Add the fact that many host countries commission "Believe-the-dream"-type pop ballads, typically sung by local divas, and the result is often a series of forgettable musical offerings featured at Olympic ceremonies and in coverage of the Games.

Britain has commissioned a rock anthem by Muse for London 2012 -- but U.K. Olympic organizers aren't taking any chances. The troupe's Survival is just the first of five officially commissioned songs: others are coming from Elton John and Pnau (to be released on July 16), Delphic (July 23), The Chemical Brothers (July 30) and Dizzee Rascal (Aug. 6).

One thing's for sure: with 17 days of Olympics coverage come (and another 12 for the Paralympics), we'll likely be sick of all five by the end.

What kind of Olympics-inspired songs are they up against? Here's a selected look back:

Vancouver 2010

This video for Nikki Yanofsky's I Believe, commissioned by broadcaster CTV for the Vancouver Olympics, is basically an excuse to show off Canada's beauty against the backdrop of a forgettable torch song. Then there was Sarah McLachlan's Ordinary Miracle, sung at the opening ceremony and plenty of alternative songs by Olympic haters.

Beijing 2008

The middle-of-the-road featured song Beijing Welcomes You showed that even Communist China can create empty pop to promote the Games. Nevertheless, it and other tunes were overshadowed by the scandal over an incident of lip-synching during the opening ceremony, where a telegenic little girl fronted another child's recorded performance of Ode to the Motherland.

Atlanta 1996

There isn't much that matches the cheese of the Atlanta Games in 1996. Quebec-born belter Céline Dion offered up the ballad Power of the Dream, co-created by fellow Canadian David Foster, in the opening ceremony. She ceded the tune to a tribe of 600 children for the Games closer.

Seoul 1988

Organizers of Korea's Games in Seoul actually did themselves proud in 1988, both with their official song Hand in Hand as well as their '80s hair.

What do you think of Muse's effort? Are you a fan of music composed for the Olympics?

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