LISTEN: Carrie Underwood, Ludacris drop new Super Bowl song 'Champion'
It's a cliche wrapped in a trope, as so many sports anthems are
Songs about sports are rarely good. For every "Heart of a Champion" by Nelly there are a million "Centuries" by Fall Out Boy. They're contrived, boring, and safe -- exactly what good music often isn't. But if you were wondering, "hey, I wonder what Ludacris is up to" this morning, I highly doubt the first thing that came to mind is "collaborating with Carrie Underwood on a Super Bowl anthem."
And yet, here we are. Underwood and Luda collaborated on a song called "The Champion" that released on Friday, and it... did not break the mold.
Carrie Underwood is no stranger to contrived NFL theme songs. If she's been waiting all day for a Sunday night, she's been waiting all year for Super Bowl Sunday night. And if she's a Titans fan (I'm guessing here, as she's married to the Predators' Mike Fisher) then she can at least say this song could be about the Titans. Luda's Falcons are still in, too, so what two people are better qualified for this song? Should Migos have had a guest verse? Probably, but it's too late for that.
As for sports' cliches, man is this song ever rife with them. Here's the sports' anthem cliche checklist, and corresponding lyrics.
- Contrived title based on championships? Check. "The Champion," obviously.
- Opening line that highlights the perseverance that it takes to win a championship? Check. "I'll be the last one standing."
- Weird military comparison? Check. "I live for the battle I'm a soldier (yeah!)."
- Reference to a famous sports figure? Check. "I'm a fighter like Rocky, put you flat on your back like Ali." (Bonus points that Rocky is fictional).
- Bridge that shows off Carrie Underwood's ridiculous range? Check. "I've been working my whole liiiifffffeeeeeeeee." (That's not a cliche, but Carrie Underwood has an amazing voice that deserves to be recognized. Go get the money, Carrie).
- Bunch of random adjectives that describe champions before saying the name of the song? Check. "I am invincible. Unbreakable. Unstoppable. Unshakeable. They knock me down, I get up again. I. Am. A. CHAMPION."
- Reference to the fact that this is bigger than sports? Check. "When they write my story, they're gonna say that I did it for the glory. But don't think that I did it for the fame (yeah), I did it for the love of the game (yeah).
- Carrie Underwood's voice still sounds amazing on the second hook.
- Rapper using the name of the song to make an acrostic poem a verse? Check. Just listen to the verse, that's the whole first part of it.
- Ending the verse on an unfinished thought before throwing it back to the hook? Check. "They saying that a champion is all about his principles. CARRIE!"
Buckle up everyone. We're going to hear this song a lot as the season winds down. It's not the best, but you can't blame the artists. It's just really hard to make a song that's clean and completely centered around sports.
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