Every second year or so, the brains trust at NRL marketing gets together to roll the dice on a new theme song for the sport. It’s been a long, long time since the planets have aligned to give us anything worthwhile. It’s time to update the formula.
As it stands, the selection process consists of three decision dice that works as follows. To keep things interesting, they roll these dice on shag carpeting and if they don’t land flat, they have to run with a couple of options.
The first die has six sides, each with an era of music. Three sides are marked ‘1980s, the remaining three are ‘1960s’, ‘1970s’ and ‘Present Day’. NRL Marketing then use this to determine the era of the artist they will choose.
The second die determines the mould of the artist, with its sides reading ‘Oz Rock Icon’, ‘International Icon’, ‘One-Hit Wonder’, then inexplicably ‘Distinguished Author’, ‘Crooner’ and ‘Beven from Young Talent Time’. ‘Beven, ‘from’, and ‘Time’ have since been scratched off, and ‘Talent’ is barely legible.
The third die is where it gets really interesting, because that’s where we determine what type of song the artist will perform.
We get ‘Cover Song’, ‘Original Classic’, ‘Original Classic with Reworked Lyrics’, ‘Uninspired 1980s Throwback’, ‘Hip-Hop/R&B Crossover’, and ‘Song With Completely Inappropriate Lyrics If You Actually Pay Attention To Them’.
Once you know how it works, they actually do a pretty good job. Say the dice give come up with 1960s, Crooner, and land halfway between ‘Hip-Hop /R&B Crossover’ and ‘Original Classic with Reworked lyrics’.
Could you find something better than Tom Jones doing a busted cover version of Salt n Pepa’s ‘Whatta Man’?
Or if it’s ‘Present Day, One-Hit Wonder’, and ‘Song with Inappropriate Lyrics’, could you beat Chumbawumba’s irritatingly popular binge-drinking hit ‘Tubthumping’, used the same year that Julian O’Neill unofficially opened the season by drunkenly defecating in Jeremy Schloss’s shoe before Pro Hart-ing their motel room?
All in all, they make the best of a very tough job, so it would be interesting to see what they could do with better parameters. To that end, I propose throwing the dice away and just asking some simple questions. Here are some examples and the songs they could have spared us.
Is the song so awful that you could play it to rioters and inspire them to down tools and disperse? That’s a yes, Bon Jovi. I’m sorry, but we won’t be requiring your services. A good theme song should make you want to punch a football player, preferably not the singer/songwriter.
Does the song sound like somebody took the drums from Thunderstruck, the guitars from Noiseworks ‘Touch’, the “whoa!” from Icehouse’s ‘Crazy’, added some vaguely Mellencamp-ish lyrics, and gave it to an effeminate kid who won a gameshow?
Has anyone ever heard a more cynically transparent attempt to cash in on ’80s Oz rock nostalgia? We’ll pass, thanks Wes.
Won’t more fans be inclined to ask “Where’s my team?” when we don’t televise their games? Sorry Dave, as much as we appreciate your willingness to debase your own classic song with awful, cheesy lyrics, we’ve decided to go in another direction.
Ha, seriously? Tom Jones covering Salt and Pepa? Who let this guy in here?
Is anyone sure why the guy who wrote Schindler’s Ark is on this list?
And so on. Actually, these questions write themselves. Just get rid of those dice and we’ll inevitably see improvement.