After reading Richard Whittall’s plea for better soundtracks to football highlights, I was being driven round Catalonia to watch various football matches. It made me wonder the Barcelona squad listen to before a game to put them in the right state of mind to perform their respective roles so well. Unfortunately entering the dressing room and asking the players before a game is ‘not allowed’ so I can only speculate.
Xavi & Iniesta
After Chris Mann first informed me of the pivotal role Intro by The XX must surely have in the Barcelona dressing room, I discussed the role that Islands by the same band in Xavi & Andres Iniesta’s pre-match mental preparation in full here. There is the mirror of Xavi searching for space and the guitar riff looking for an opening before Romy Madley (Iniesta) offers a resolution.
I won’t attempt a large paragraph describing the character Messi prepares in the dressing room for the pitch. Just watching his serenity, I can only assume that he listens to Gregorio Allegri’s Renaissance-Baroque masterpiece Miserere, sung every Holy Week in the Sistine Chapel. Watching Lionel Messi play while listening to Miserere is an enjoyable experience. Try it.
Gerard would love to listen to some other music, but the woman of the house, Shakira, would consider it tantamount to adultery if anything other than her music was on Gerard’s iPod and so Waka Waka (This Time For Africa) is the least worst for Gerard given it brings back memories of his World Cup win.
There’s a beautiful rhythm to Nitty Gritty by KMD which would no doubt prepare Sergio for his usual performance of exquisite balance and dance, weaving in and out of opposition, forever ghosting away with the ball. The repeated major third chord played by a piano (which first comes in at 21 seconds) reminds me of Sergio. It’s such an important part of the song’s harmony, but it doesn’t place itself right at the front of the song, stealing any headlines. There is a noticeable cheeky nature to this song’s sound, from a controversial early 90s Long Island outfit made up of MF Doom, Rodan and DJ Subroc. It should do an adequate job of making Sergio snigger in the changing room at the prospect of mischievous misery he is about to inflict on his opponents.
“You don’t wanna get wolfed by the wolf, does ya?”
Anyone who watches Barcelona regularly will testify to the fact that there is often the same elegance and intelligence seen in Pedro as in his more Galactico colleagues. Despite this, unlike his colleagues, I am sure Pedro spends his summers at the clubs and beaches of Benicassim and Mallorca. Backed up by a posse of greasy, ponytail wearing Spanish youths, Pedro thrives on Miranda’s Vamos A La Playa, a filthy Europop tune of the 90s which is overplayed in the scorching clubs of Castellon beach.
Will Bojan ever be older than 18? Probably not. At least not while he still listens to Justin Bieber, and in particular his collaboration with Sean Kingston for the non-hit Eenie Meenie. It is a song in which the singers cry about being chosen briefly by a girl to dance with, who then goes onto replace them with someone better. Sound familiar Bojan?
To say that Puyol listens to Take Me To Hospital by the Prodigy to get him in the right state of mind is not to say that he is all blood and thunder, all mindless agression. Of course without being a brilliant reader of the game he wouldn’t be able to channel the physicality he does have into world-class performances. This footballing intelligence comes naturally to him after so many years at the top, and so the job of his pre-match music is simply to unleash the ferocity of the inner Carles.
Dani listens to Brazilian bossa nova legend Sergio Mendes’ 1966 classic Mas Que Nada. However, given Dani is going to hell (being a cross between Sergio Busquets and Frank Mackey), he listens to the Black Eyed Peas’ 2006 version of the song.
I imagine David Villa listens to Mr. Lexx & Santigold’s collaboration with Major Lazer for the song Hold The Line not because it is an apt description of what Villa will try to do in every match. I imagine he listens to it because the recurring bassline throughout the song, which first comes in after 30 seconds, gives the listener the sense of being victim of an assault as quick as it is deadly. Most great strikers give the opposition the feeling of being hurt with a powerful, clinical flash out of nowhere, and there is a sense that this song’s beat cannot be stopped.