Pondering Musical Directors for the Olympics

Jay Brooks

The London organizing committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games has selected long-running British electronic musicians Underworld as music directors for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, which will take place on July 27.

The pair will work alongside Danny Boyle, artistic director of the opening ceremony, and also the guy who put their anthem "Born Slippy" in his film "Trainspotting." (Let's not bring up their collaboration on the forgotten, thoroughly weird Leonardo DiCaprio thriller "The Beach.")

Ever since Bjork performed at the Olympics in 2005, the bar has been raised pretty high for opening ceremonies, so kudos to the London committee for meeting the challenge by getting someone as inventive and interesting as Underworld instead of, say, Jessie J or something. But how is the rest of the world supposed to compete? The next time America or Spain gets to host the Olympics, they can't wimp out and select, for example, The Black Eyed Peas or the Spanish equivalent of The Black Eyed Peas, or else they'll make their entire country look embarrassingly square next to England.

At Nonstop Sound, all we want to do is help, so here are our suggestions for music directors for the next time these countries get to host the Olympics.
Country: Germany
Musical Director: Rammstein

An Olympic opening ceremony needs to be, first and foremost, a memorable visual spectacle. Just let Germany's foremost industrial metal jock-jam artisans light themselves on fire and do their cyborg exorcist thing for a few hours and the Olympics can decidedly check "spectacle" off the to-do list. As an added bonus, all Rammstein songs already sound like particularly foreboding soccer anthems anyway, so the group will be completely in their element.

Country: Scotland
Musical Director: Mogwai
The Olympics are all about epic triumph. You know who does epic triumph really well? Mogwai. Just put the camera on them for half an hour and they'll play one of those slow-build epics with a crescendo louder than the bombing of Dresden. By the end of the opening ceremony, these madmen will have beaten yet another crowd into total submission.
Country: America
Musical Director: Jay-Z and Kanye West
Is there anyone who better embodies the American virtues of perseverance, hard work and a love of high-priced consumer goods more than these gentlemen? We should say not!  You want spectacle? If Kanye just grabbed any 10 objects from his condo and put them on stage and then used his laser machine to shower the crowd in lasers and then dedicated "Stronger" to all the athletes and then joined Jay-Z for one of their songs about how Kanye West and Jay-Z are the best people in the entire world, well, there certainly wouldn't be an uninspired heart to be found in all the land.
Country: Korea
Musical Director: Girl's Generation
You know what could use a greater viral presence? The Olympics. You know what has a great viral presence? K-Pop. You know who brings the boys out? Girl's Generation. You know what small army of pop androids have only one setting, which is "bigger," and will not power down until everyone watching the ceremony has been thoroughly subjugated by their charm? Girl's Generation. You know who will not be denied? Girl's Generation. Resistance is futile.
Country: Australia
Musical Director: AC/DC
It's heartening that Olympic selection committees are now picking artists who have spent their careers trying to break aesthetic ground and create innovative, cutting edge sounds. But there's also something to be said about not overthinking stuff. You know what song everyone likes, regardless of context, at least a little? "You Shook Me All Night Long." You know who plays "You Shook Me All Night Long?" AC/DC. If the Olympics were to select AC/DC as the music directors for an opening ceremony, they'd play "You Shook Me All Night Long," and everyone would be happy.
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