Feb 10

POP WORLD CUP 2010: Group A – Uruguay 3 France 2

FT//29 comments • 1,182 views

The second match in Group A sees Uruguay, managed by Jim D, take on France, where Alex Macpherson is in the hotseat. Uruguay are a lesser-known quantity in pop terms: France, however, reached the final of Europop 2008 and much is expected of them here.

As ever, anyone can vote – just pick which track you like best and leave reasons in the comments box if you like. The deadline is midnight on the 14th February. Let’s see what they’ve got for us!

URUGUAY: Los Shakers – “Rompan Todo (Break It All)” The manager says: “So apparently, while the British Invasion was hitting the US, Argentina had a Uruguayan Invasion instead, and Los Shakers were at the forefront of it. They’re a real parallel universe Beatles, they seem to have all the same chords but it’s like they’re playing them backwards or something. And that gives them a weirdly dark edge which reminds me more of baggy than merseybeat. Then it’s all capped off with a bit of adorable pidgin English: “When the music start, don’t stand there like a fool!”. HOW CAN THEY LOSE?”

FRANCE: Debruit – “149 Dalston Airline” The manager says: “Some may recognise the titular bus route which inspired this cut by French producer Xavier Thomas, from his December 2009 Spatio-Temporel EP; thankfully, they won’t necessarily recognise the horrors of said bus route in the joyous music. A hubbub of blended vocal samples, a galloping beat and some killer bass: if only the real thing was like this. As Debruit himself tweeted: WONKY YOURSELF! MERDE QUOI! IF MY MUSIC WAS WONKY I WOULD FIX IT IN A SEC!”

<a href="http://music.debruit.com/track/149-dalston-airline">149 Dalston Airline by dÉbruit</a>

Group A Match 2: Which track did you like better?

  • Uruguay: Los Shakers 61%
  • France: Debruit 39%

Total Voters: 80

Poll closes: 15 Feb 2010 @ 23:59

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Commentary Box Analysis: “England’s 1966 Pop World Cup victory is a source of national pride but you don’t see too many teams succeeding at this level with a fab four upfront these days. Credit to Uruguay though, they’ve not come here for a draw and they’re really going at the French here. France’s approach by contrast is very modern – they’re playing without a recognised striker, relying on midfield flair and unpredictability to baffle their opponents. Very solid at the back, too: it’s a fascinating game, this one.”

Coming Next: Group B’s opener sees South Korea take on Greece, before Argentina and Nigeria battle it out in what might be that group’s defining game.


  1. 1
    Tom on 10 Feb 2010 #

    No idea which way I’m going to go here – two tracks indebted in different ways to British pop culture, one old-school one new-school, one revelling in wonkiness one denying it ;)

    I like them both though – good work lads.

  2. 2
    Pete on 10 Feb 2010 #

    Good lord, what an excellent match. Polar opposites musically but both at the absolute top of their game. It is even difficult to penalise Los Shakers Beatles pastiche when compared to a French track about a London Bus route. Los Shakers is certainly more direct, as works in a way many Beatles rips often don’t. Debruits track on the other hand it tricksy, funky and my only real criticism might be that it doesn’t really go anywhere. BUT THAT IS TRUE OF THE 149!

    Usually I can vote straight away, usually the best is obvious to me. I am going to have to wait a few days on this one.

  3. 3
    Birdseed on 10 Feb 2010 #

    Uruguay seems to have dusted off an old 4-2-4 formation, maybe even a W-M, in an attempt to capture past glories. France may be fairly out-of-form and relying on a middle-class target-player supplied by ex-colonials, who do all the hard drudging defensive work, but at least the tactics are thoroughly modern.

  4. 4
    Matt DC on 10 Feb 2010 #

    As the manager who led Italy to a Europop 2008 final defeat against Switzerland, I would dispute that France got anywhere near the final.

    As for the game – wow, two teams indebted to great English teams of the past, certainly. This match is a object lesson in the importance of directness – Uruguay are using old-fashioned tactics but are by no means conservative. They keep it tight, focussed and direct and crucially know where the goal is – “we want you to dance… all night long!”

    France, surprisingly, adopt the Windowlicker formation made famous by legendary English manager Richard D. James back in 1999. Mr James’s tactics may be fashionable once again, but this is still an audacious yet risky move – it’s a very difficult formation to pull off. Despite his teams’ frequently baffling game, they always knew where the goal was. I’m not convinced France do. Predicting a win for Uruguay here.

  5. 5
    Tom on 10 Feb 2010 #

    Yes sorry, semi-finalists!

  6. 6
    Taylor on 10 Feb 2010 #

    Uruguay foolishly leaving “Tienes Algun Dinero? (Got Any Money?)” on the bench, I see. By far the best Shakers song, but clearly someone somewhere values the old-fashioned hustle and bustle of “Rompan Todo” over TAD’s slightly more wayward flair (“I can pay today… YES I GOT JOB!”). Might cost them.

  7. 7
    Andrew Hickey on 10 Feb 2010 #

    Los Shakers are quite simply one of the all-time great pop bands. No contest.

  8. 8
    koganbot on 10 Feb 2010 #

    Uruguay gives us clatter-era Beatles, great shake-and-kick in soccer terms, but what really got their UK models across was embedding terror and pain within the clatter, an extra kick to your kick, killing you on the rebound. Uruguay surprises us with a minor key, adding chordal urgency and fear though hardly the Beatles’ full-scale all-fronts fun-and-glum. Quite a good bashing effort, however.

    France meanwhile gives us all-purpose motion and counter motion, sticking out its tongue right at the opponent while coolly kicking left. Not so interested in attacking as in tiring out the opposition, and then accumulating points at the end. I haven’t yet made up my mind as to whether they succeed – may have trouble with Uruguay pounding away so hard at the start.

  9. 9
    koganbot on 10 Feb 2010 #

    (Actually, don’t know if the key change takes us to a minor chord or just a novel one, and I’m not going to sit down and figure it out. Whatever it is, it scores.)

  10. 10
    lex on 10 Feb 2010 #

    Always relieved when your own decision pays off and your track is so much better than the opposition. Even after two months of listening to “149 Dalston Airline” I’m constantly noticing amazing new elements to it. To be fair to URU, I quite like the live-sounding production that lends it a certain energy, but it’s a fucking Beatles pastiche and the Beatles need to fuck right off.

    (the wonky tweet was in reference to various losers STILL insisting on referring to this genre-not-genre as “wonky”, ugh. good comeback from Débruit.)

  11. 11
    Taylor on 10 Feb 2010 #

    As we got to the 89th minute, the TV audience was treated to a shot of “Tienes Algun Dinero?” sitting on the Uruguay bench looking fed up, still wearing its blue and white tracksuit top over its number 19 shirt. How the South Americans could have used a bodyswerve or two in the second half. Their dogged approach got a bit predictable; the rather silky French side retained possession, albeit without troubling the Uruguayan goal.

    Whoops, last minute – the French autotune puts it into its own net. Shot of Serge Gainsbourg and Zinedine Zidane sat in the posh seats, muttering gravely to each other. Heads shaken. Uruguay win. For me, anyway.

  12. 12
    Garry on 10 Feb 2010 #

    France seem to be passing the ball prettily around the midfield but don’t seem likely to get the ball into the box. Uraguay are playing pretty effective, direct football. Have to agree about autotune, someone will have to check the French team for doping…

    Uraguay to win.

  13. 13
    lonepilgrim on 11 Feb 2010 #

    Is it just me? For some reason I can’t see the result of the voting – which I could with the previous entry

  14. 14
    Tom on 11 Feb 2010 #

    That’s intentional – the ability to see it before (now changed for new voters I hope) was me messing up.

  15. 15
    Jonathan Bogart on 11 Feb 2010 #

    I’d be wary of managerial outbursts in the local press: you don’t want the referees developing a bias against yr squad! (However right you may be.)

    Also I’d challenge the notion that “Rompan Todo” is particularly Beatlesesque, unless every 60s rock band is a Beatles pastiche. (There’s a case.) Los Shakers here sound like the tuffer end of early British Invasion: Dave Clark Five, maybe, with a bit of Kinks directness (ca. 1964). Still relatively rote as these things go — I agree, Los Shakers did much better later on — but for 60s dancefloor-aimed guitar-pop it’s as fine a specimen as Latin America produced.

    On the French side, it’s respectably busy; I get exhausted just looking at them run up and down the field. But for all its color and charm, I can’t help feeling something’s missing. Then it dawns: this would make an excellent backing track. Diva or MC on top, hardly matters: just something with some narrative propulsion to match the physical propulsion. (Though we’ve got the hook already in place.) As it stands, France is only playing half, or three-quarters, a game. Is it enough?

    (However. All electronic manipulation of vocals isn’t autotune. But surely what matters is the effect not the technology.)

    *long, long pause*

    France. “Rompan Todo” has been done better, including by Los Shakers. (And anyway my team has a bone to pick with them.) The squiggling power of Debruit’s hook cannot be denied.

  16. 16
    Steve Mannion on 11 Feb 2010 #

    Fancy tricks from the French who seem to have their act together but are they hitting enough shots on target? They could take Uruguay to Le Nettoyeurs but this is only a narrow win from a fortunate set-piece despite having the majority of possession. Uruguay have shown some spirit and battled well and may well get something against their other group opponents.

  17. 17
    Steve Mannion on 11 Feb 2010 #

    Also I do have to say that France’s kit is very well designed. I’m admiring their strip and tracksuits here: http://www.civilmusic.com/debruit

    Le Coq En Vogue indeed.

  18. 18
    JimD on 11 Feb 2010 #

    Well Jeff, I’m not going to deny that my boys have a lot more to give, but for the opening match of the contest I just wanted to see them play some simple honest football. They’re doing that admirably, and I’m more than happy with their first half performance.

    This is a pretty strong opponent though. They’re playing a classic French game: vocal snippets and technical trickery up front, with a pop-funk back row and some synthy midfield. That might superficially seem like a novelty, but it’s the exact same tactic Jarre used in his Zoolook squad of 1984. Back then it paid off. We’ll have to see if it still works now.

  19. 19
    jeff w on 11 Feb 2010 #

    I never said a thing, Jim!

    (But I am gonna have to give this one to the French, I think. Not that this stupid PC will let me vote or anything.)

  20. 20
    Tom on 12 Feb 2010 #

    Deadline extended to the 15th by the way, to give it the same time as other matches.

  21. 21
    Tom on 12 Feb 2010 #

    We’ve been asked (very nicely!) to take down the Debruit track, so the match is SUSPENDED for now – I’m going to see if there’s a stream or YT we can link to, otherwise I’ll close the poll and put the results up as they stand: we had 64 votes so more than enough for a result.

  22. 22
    Tom on 12 Feb 2010 #

    Go here to buy the Debruit EP too! http://www.civilmusic.com/buy/spatio-temporel-ep/

  23. 23
    Tom on 12 Feb 2010 #

    As a result of this Isabel (my wife & the SA manager) heard the tracks and her vote goes to France: “the Uruguayan players have a lot of enthusiasm but the French ones have all the skill.”

  24. 24
    admin on 13 Feb 2010 #

    Tom, i’ve updated the code that shows stats and a download button to give you more options.

    if you don’t add anything to the post, the default “plays and download” are displayed at the end of the post for each audio embed in turn.

    If you add [tmi] in a post, the first instance is replaced with the “plays and downloads” info for the first audio file, the second [tmi] with info for the second, etc.

    i have gone back and put in [tmi] after each embed so that the info is shown ‘in place’

    but NOW i’ve extended the syntax so that if you put [tmi: %plays%] it will only show the play count – with no download info.

    other formats are possible if they are needed.

    hope that’s reasonably clear. (tmi stands for Track Media Items, or Too Much Information if you like)

  25. 25
    Tom on 13 Feb 2010 #

    The match has restarted – we’re using the share stream provided by the label instead (though you can’t download it any more). Voting closes Monday evening!

  26. 26
    iainf on 14 Feb 2010 #

    I love the description of the Uruguayan song as having all the same chords as The Beatles but playing them backwards, really gets at something intriguing about it! Just about opted for the French in the end though.

  27. 27
    Tom on 16 Feb 2010 #

    Commiserations to France, who I think deserved a point from this, but in the end a convincing win for Uruguay.

    The next games in this group are South Africa/Uruguay – a winner of which would be all but guaranteed a place in the knockout stages. And France/Mexico which is now a must-win game for both teams – a loser in that would be on the FIRST PLANE HOME.

  28. 28
    lex on 16 Feb 2010 #

    Sometimes, the problem is not the players – I have a FINE team who EXCELLED on the court – but the CLOTH-EARED FANS.

  29. 29
    Matt DC on 16 Feb 2010 #

    I fear the Arsene Wenger-style reaction from the French manager is only likely to prejudice future referees.

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