The best 32 songs to soundtrack the World Cup
“A heart-throb of the ’60s and ’70s, known as the Argentinean Elvis, Sandro is
What Hi-fi?’s latest crush”
Russia: Heavy Wave by Motorama Modern Russian post-punk, just sweet enough to forget about any frosty international relationships.
Saudi Arabia: Emta ana Ashofek by Etab Though she actually died an Egyptian citizen, Etab was the first popular female singer Saudi Arabia took to its heart. Egypt: Palmyra by Nadah El Sahzly This track swaggers with El Sahzly’s mega organ hook. Uruguay: Muy Lejos Te Vas by El Kinto From a short-lived but pioneering band, this one sounds a bit like The Byrds took Spanish lessons.
Portugal: Solteiro by DJ Lycox While a Fado sea shanty may have been a more obvious pick, we went for African-influenced Batida music as a more upbeat celebration of Portuguese culture.
Spain: Bamboo by Hinds The most famous group from Spain’s thriving indie scene. Morocco: Mimoun Marhaba by Mahmoud Guinia Made with English musician Floating Points,
Mimoun Marhaba represents one of Guinia’s last recordings and is an interesting mix of traditional Gwana music and contemporary Western electronic sounds. Iran: The Chair She Sat In by Siavash Amini Iranian ambient drone. Simple.
France: Initials B.B. by Serge Gainsbourg Gainsbourg singing about his fleeting affair with Brigitte Bardot. What could be more French? Initials B.B. also samples Antonin Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony, From The New World, which is fairly forwardthinking for 1968. Australia: Sleep Drifter by King Gizzard & The Lizard
Wizard Representing Australia’s glorious psych revival. You’d never guess from that name.
Peru: Constelación by Los Destellos The foremost purveyors of Chicha music, which is Peru’s psychedelic take on Cumbia. With more than 90 members since forming in 1966, they’re known as the University of Peruvian Cumbia.
Denmark: Rehearsal by Ekko Known largely in Denmark for his film and television compositions, Frithjof Toksvig uses the moniker Ekko for his equally stunning solo works.
Argentina: Rosa, Rosa by Sandro A heart-throb of the ’60s and ’70s, known as the Argentinean Elvis, Sandro is What Hi-fi?’s latest crush.
Iceland: re:member by Ólafur Arnalds A magazine favourite offering a much-needed cold shower following our date with Sandro.
Croatian: Falling In by Petar Dundov A slice of sun, sand and sljivovica. Dundov says: “Techno is music that precedes movement. It is solid enough to carry emotions through the dance floor, abstract enough to be a template forever.”
Nigeria: Only You by Steve Monite Classic Nigerian boogie, and also probably the finest bass line ever written.
Brazil: A Minha Menina by Os Mutantes Os Mutantes’ best-known track outside Brazil, having been covered by The Bees, is as infectious as they come. Switzerland: Raum by Grauzone Some choice ’80s post-punk straight out of Berne.
Costa Rica: The Feel by Las Robertas Costa Rica is another Spanish-speaking country with a strong indie scene, and these are the most successful.
Serbia: Suženi snovi by Repetitor Serbia’s Turbofolk can be the stuff of Eurovision nightmares, but thankfully Repetitor are putting out some pretty decent, dark alt-rock.
Germany: The Model by Kraftwerk World champions. It had to be The Model. Mexico: Maquina Del Ritmo by Bufi Disco-infused electro. Nice, upbeat and shorts-weather-ready. Sweden: Sagres by The Tallest Man On Earth It was only ever to be Kristian Matsson or ABBA. South Korea: “J” Blues 72 by Shin Joong Hyun Korea’s Godfather of Rock was at the forefront of the country’s psych scene in the ’60s and ’70s, and we can see why.
Belgium: Is It Always Binary by Soulwax Because, well, Soulwax. Panama: Plastico by Rubén Blades As Central American as it comes, basically, but with a great funky intro. Tunisia: Wazzaa by Bargou 08 With Bargou 08, Nidhal Yahyaoui reimagines ancient Tunisian folk music with an electronic bent.
England: Age Of Consent by New Order They did the song for Italia 90. England made the semis. This is a better song. See you in Moscow.
Poland: Bailando by Earth Trax & Newborn Jr Two of the country’s finest producers with a real ucho-robak, which, Google Translate reliably informs us, is Polish for ear-worm. Senegal: Ayo Ayo Nene by Mor Thiam Father of Akon, master of the drum. Colombia: Tifit Hayed by Wganda Kenya An Afro-colombian release from Discos Fuentes, the country’s first notable record label. Japan: Moonlight by Masayoshi Fujita Ticking our boxes for vibraphone and Erased Tapes releases.