With the World Cup in full swing the balls are flying—and so are Rio-inspired songs from your favourite pop stars. Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, Shakira and Ricky Martin have released contributions, and so have a slew of Eurovision stars. The latest artist to make a contribution is Gerard Joling, who sang for the Netherlands at the 1988 contest in Dublin. (He was meant to sing for Holland again, as part of De Toppers, in Moscow in 2009, but had to pull out because of a ski accident).
Rio de Janeiro isn’t worthy of all the hype and neither is this video. Joling wears an orange football shirt on a beach in Rio surrounded by scantilly-clad Brazilian girls, wearing carnival-inspired headpieces. Yawn. There’s no subtlety here, and listening to this is akin to ingesting cabbage doused in saccharine. Yes, it’s got a dancey beat, but it reads like a missed opportunity. Anyone is capable of hashing this track during a drunken moment, and the video makes no attempt at artistry. The video strives for heterosexual chemisty and laddish behaviour—two areas where Joling appears out of his depth.
While some may argue that tournament songs often lower the bar, I disagree. Gloria Estefan tore it up with “Reach” at the 1996 Games. The reality here is simple. Although Joling’s soprano has always impressed me, “Rio” doesn’t measure up.