July 7, 2021, 2:01 PM
England’s love affair with football seems to be inextricably linked with this song. But what is so great, musically speaking, about “Football’s Coming Home”?
As the England Euro 2020 team lace up their boots and tackle the turf, we are preparing for the long-awaited championships ourselves.
We played the de facto hull-hulling anthem of the English football team, ‘Three Lions’ on repeat, and it got us thinking – what does the song do musically, and does it ‘is good ?
âThree Lionsâ, also known by its refrain âFootball’s Coming Homeâ, was written and published by Baddiel, Skinner & Lightning Seeds in May 1996 to coincide with England hosting the European Championships. Since then, it has been an emblematic element of the beautiful game on our shores.
Notable for its rather modest nod to England’s uneven performances in football over the years, the song is nonetheless filled with pride for the team and their three lion emblem, and in 2018 it resurfaced. like a No. 1 hit often chanted when England made it. so well in the World Cup.
So why do we all love him so much? Here is a deep dive into music theory …
Read more: Watch Andrea Bocelli sing “Nessun dorma” at the Euro 2020 football opening ceremony
What makes “Football’s Coming Home” so eye-catching?
The popularity of “Three Lions” can be pinned on a four-part cocktail of punchy lyrics, a moving melody, a delicious descending bassline and those rocky vocals.
The boys have done something smart here. They spend about 30 seconds repeating the same words deadpan but weirdly refrain from really making them infiltrate our scalps from the start.
And just as we have the words, the song enters its underdog tale around a predictably low goal count, dreaming of an underdog resurgence amid “30 years of suffering,” while also referencing these three lions. It also includes fan-appealing references to English soccer heroes and famous past moments on the pitch.
The lyrics are a bit raw if you’re looking for easy listening, and they’re not as triumphant as other football anthems, but with this chorus there’s something for everyone. We approve.
In terms of melody, the song doesn’t do anything too adventurous at first. The âit’s coming homeâ part of the chorus oscillates between pitches spaced by a minor third, before jumping to another major third, which makes it melodious.
On the word “football”, the melody alternates between neighboring notes, and the simplicity of the whole makes it relatively easy to remember and join. Things get a bit more complex and flowery for the verse section, the melody creeping in to make the touching sense of the history of the England team swinging between underdog and winner.
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Like the melody, the harmony of “Three Lions” is relatively simple in the chorus, then moves to more adventurous tonal centers in the verse, the chords reflecting the effort of an attacker who bravely throws a ball towards the goal. with undefeated perseverance and shattered hope.
There is also a nice descending bassline, which keeps you hooked.
Read more: Six of the best ‘Three Lions’ performances of the song’s climax of 2018
“Three Lions” is written for a medium-tenor baritone scale, suitable for a low-key, perhaps a little gritty voice. This is what makes it so suitable for singing too: it is a real song for the everyday human in the street. And those with a higher pitch have the option of singing an octave, if they feel like it.
Beautiful, voluminous electric piano chords underpin the vocals, as well as an unwavering indie pop rhythm. The original recording features Lightning Seeds’ signature instrumentation with guitar and bass.
With all this music theory under our belt, and a conclusion that this song is pretty ð let’s revisit some of the absolutely iconic classical music takes from football’s most tongue-in-cheek anthemâ¦