FIFA is famous for its soundtracks. When playing EA's behemoth of a football simulator, you have no choice but to toil away in menus, completing Squad Building Challenges, and listening to the same tunes over and over again.
This sounds tiresome, but whoever curates FIFA's soundtracks does a fantastic job each and every time. There's a consistent vibe to the songs, combining quirky indie with pop and a solid helping of hip hop in a way that rarely makes one song sound out of place next to another, and it turns the otherwise frustrating menu-hopping the game requires a head-bopping, foot-tapping experience.
I was inspired to write this piece when at a gig in a Dalston cinema by Swedish musician Sir Was. He's got a brilliant suite of technical indie tunes with a clear influence in his chord progressions from jazz music, but his most recognisable track to many is Before The Morning Comes thanks to its appearance in FIFA 22. It got me thinking about all the bangers the series has brought to more eyes since its inception. So then, here is my correct and utterly undeniable ranking of the top ten FIFA songs of all time. It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make.
10: The Veronicas: Untouched (FIFA 09)
When those strings start blasting, you know what's coming. It's one of many songs on this list that I didn't actually discover through the FIFA games, and if it's queued up on the speaker, I'm absolutely going off on one.
The high-energy synths coupled with the oh-so-noughties vocal performance by the titular Veronicas are absolutely undefeated. I can't tell if my adoration for this song is mired or improved by the fact that neither of them are called Veronica.
9: Caesars - Jerk It Out (FIFA 04)
Considered by many to be the quintessential FIFA song long-time players will think of when considering the greatest FIFA bops. It's got such an iconic intro riff, returning time and time again throughout the track.
Swedish band Caesars took the UK by storm with this one, especially considering the song's interesting history (it got remixed and re-released multiple times before it took the form we all know and love). Overall, Jerk It Out feels like a real tone-setter for FIFA soundtracks going forward. We can all trace it back, but this is absolutely a top-tier track, particularly due to its place in FIFA canon.
8: Crystal Fighters - Love Natural (FIFA 14)
Crystal Fighters really don't miss. Similar to their FIFA soundtrack contemporaries Two Door Cinema Club, you can often predict how a Crystal Fighters song will sound. A joyful-sounding, summery vibe that fits perfectly in with FIFA's upbeat energy.
Along with Follow, another track of theirs that made it into FIFA, and most of their discography, Love Natural finds itself in the enviable position of a song I'd be happy to chuck on a speaker during drinks in the park in the summertime. What more could you want?
7: Angélique Kidjo - Wele Wele (FIFA 07)
Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo utterly owned the FIFA 07 soundtrack. No offence to the rest of the songs there, and it's by no means Kidjo's magnum opus given her amazing and varied career, but Wele Wele is top tier.
Admittedly without understanding the lyrics, it's a blast to listen to, building through the intro to create an energetic sound while holding onto a melancholic feeling thanks to the minor key and exquisite guitar fills.
6: The Strokes - Machu Picchu (FIFA 12)
The Strokes' 2011 comeback album Angles had an absolute mountain of tunes that could've found their way into FIFA 12. Thankfully, Machu Picchu delivers that Strokes sound many would have been familiar with due to the album's lead single, Under Cover of Darkness, getting a solid amount of radio play around that time.
This track stands out impressively though. It feels calm, essential in a song in a FIFA game, and the layered guitars throughout give Machu Picchu a depth that makes it fun to listen to over and over.
5: Wretch 32 - Unorthodox (FIFA Street)
Is it cheating to put a FIFA Street track in here? Well, Wretch 32 and Example make it onto this list mostly thanks to the absolutely gorgeous sample from The Stone Roses' Fools Gold that plays throughout the tune.
Wretch does have many songs I'd describe as being better than Unorthodox. No tune featuring Example is ever going to be the greatest ever. However, few tunes fit into the vibe of FIFA Street like this one. The only one that comes close was Hilltop Hoods' Still Standing, but Australian Hip Hop is going to have to wait for another day - this one is just too memorable for those of us who played 2012's FIFA Street.
4: LCD Soundsystem - Daft Punk Is Playing at My House (FIFA 06)
Do I need to explain this one? I didn't even have FIFA 06 and I know what's up. I think I first heard it at a friend's house while getting absolutely spanked at the game, and it must have embedded itself in my brain by then.
LCD Soundsystem does have another track on Fifa - I Can Change back in FIFA 11 - but the original has to take the top spot here.
3: Ms. Dynamite - Dy-Na-Mi-Tee (FIFA 03)
This might be unfair. I didn't know Dy-Na-Mi-Tee was in FIFA until I did some research for this piece. But it's such an essential part of the UK music scene that I had to put it in any list ever.
20 years after its release, Ms. Dynamite's iconic single will still get a whole room hyped. The producer on this track, Salaam Remi, has also contributed to the likes of The Fugees, Amy Winehouse, and Nas, if you needed more convincing.
2: MGMT - Kids (FIFA 09)
The bleak subject matter and video (starring Joanna Newsom!) are masked by MGMT's brilliant talent for making music that removes all your cares from the world. Kids is another tune most people know from outside of the FIFA games, but it fits into the extended universe of the series' tracks utterly seamlessly.
How on earth could any other tune be top of this list, then? It was a genuinely difficult choice. But first, some honourable mentions.
The list of songs I wasn't able to include is far larger than I anticipated. Maybe one day I'll release my top 50 FIFA songs in order to get a definitive ranking. In the meantime, here are the tunes that just missed the cut.
- Smallpools - Dreaming
- Crystal Fighters - Follow
- Bloc Party - Helicopter
- Hilltop Hoods - Still Standing
- The Feeling - Sewn
- Embrace - Ashes
- The Hoosiers - Goodbye Mr. A
- Duffy - Mercy
- Nico & Vinz - When The Day Comes
- Avicii - The Nights
- Rock Mafia - The Big Bang
- Tommy Sparks - She's Got Me Dancing
- Two Door Cinema Club - I Can Talk
- Two Door Cinema Club - Sleep Alone
- Saint Motel - My Type
- The Black Keys - Tighten Up
- Gorillaz - Rhinestone Eyes
- Little Simz - Offence
- Little Simz - Fear No Man
- Little Dragon - Nightlight
- Kasabian - Club Foot
- Tiggs Da Author - Run
- DJ Raff - Latino & Proud
- Grouplove - Colours (Captain Cuts Remix)
- Jungle - Busy Earnin'
- Bomba Estéreo - Soy Yo
- Young Franco - Fallin' Apart ft. Denzel Curry, Pell
- Joy Crookes - Feet Don't Fail Me Now
- Locnville - Sun In My Pocket
- Hard-Fi - Hard To Beat
- John Newman - Love Me Again
- Massive Attack - Splitting The Atom
- Sir Was - Before The Morning Comes
Whew. That was a lot of honourable mentions. Do you understand how hard this job was? I even cut this list down from when it was a lot longer.
Anyway. Here's what you've been waiting for. The greatest Fifa song of all time.
1: Chase & Status - No Problem (FIFA 12)
Chase & Status' No More Idols got features from all the way across the music industry, from Maverick Sabre and Cee Lo Green to White Lies and Tempa T. It's an album with wall-to-wall bangers, without a doubt. However, No Problem is undeniably the best track on it, along with being the best song to grace the FIFA soundtracks to date.
Written and performed by Zimbabwean singer and songwriter Takura Tendayi, this song draws you in with an intense opening monologue before absolutely smashing your face in when the beat drops. Whether you're trying to revive yourself mid-session or hyping yourself up for a big game, it's No Problem.
There you have it. I hope you agreed with all of my opinions! It really does go to show just how consistently FIFA soundtracks have smashed it in the past. We'll see if that trend continues. Maybe one day, we'll get an all-star soundtrack, including every single banger here and then some. We can dream.
If you fancy jamming out to these bops, give the below Spotify playlist a like and a listen! I could find all of them aside from Wele Wele - that's one you'll have to stick to YouTube for.