By Peter Jackson Eastwood & Emily Burditt.
Zac Goldsmith has drawn widespread ridicule following the release this week of his Mayoral election campaign song. But is he the first politician to get it horribly wrong when it comes to campaign songs?
Here we run through 10 of the best, and worst, efforts to date:
1. Rick Santorum -‘Game On’:
It takes a special kind of ineptitude to be less electable than Mitt Romney, but congratulations to Rick Santorum as he managed it in 2012. This seems to be the birth of a cult rather than a political campaign as Rick’s devoted disciples declare ‘justice for the unborn,’ while lavishing praise on Rick for being: ‘Faithful to his wife and seven kids – he’ll be loyal to our land,’ (Ted Cruz – take note). The video is a journey of fidget-inducing cringe-worthy terror.
0/10 – Evil itself manifested in vocal and visual form.
- Zac Goldsmith:
An aberration. A similar format to the iconic David Cameron song featuring later in this list, but with none of the finesse and crucially lacking in a convincing instrumental or hook. Quite how Conservative Connect (who made the video) arrived at this is baffling, and lines such as ‘he is worthy of appreciation’ aren’t doing Mr Goldsmith any favours in his race to be London Mayor. The video is equally excruciating, as we are treated to Zac looking out of place and unsettled in various ‘common folk’ locations, such as the tube (come on Zac, who are we kidding?)
3/10 – A missed opportunity. There is something there, but it’s buried so deep that only someone who has spent the last 4 hours listening to political campaign songs could recognise it.
- UKIP Calypso:
The words UKIP and Calypso don’t look right when you write them next to each other. Unsurprisingly, they also don’t sound right when forced into this unholy union dating back to 2014. In essence, Nigel Farage performing the dementor’s kiss/an exorcism on West Indian Culture – profoundly uncomfortable listening.
4/10 – In the words of lyrical titan Ed Milliband: “It’s just wrong.”
- Silvio Berlusconi: “Thank Goodness for Silvio”:
Behold, feminism’s Anti-Christ. Hasn’t got much going for it on a musical level and we aren’t fooled by the idea that anyone has ever uttered the words ‘thank goodness for Silvio’. Thank goodness for what? An annihilated economy? Mass unemployment? Flagrant misogyny? If you’re thankful for Silvio, you need to stop hanging out with Simon Danczuk on weekends.
4/10 – Three X’s from us Silvio, you’re out.
- Barack Obama – “Yes We Can”:
Produced so professionally that this is plain indecent. It wouldn’t be right to rank a song with the backing this one has with any degree of generosity. Will.I.Am is a massive name to have on board, and kicking off the quotes with Jessica Alba brings this tune a gravitas the rest of the list can only dream of. But for all the professionalism, there’s no disguising an unpleasant whiff of cheese the further one travels through this video.
5/10 – It looks and sounds good, too good. Points docked for breaking rank and not providing sufficient comedy. We can’t endorse something done with this level of competence.
- Conservative friends of India – “David Cameron”:
In an age where political discourse is often muddled and confusing, this song is reassuringly familiar in that we have no idea what’s going on. English speakers will naturally be clueless as to what the singers are saying and, remarkably, the song makes less sense still once translated. ‘The Sky is blue’ is a fierce opening line, and the words ‘David Cameron’ repeated in metronomic fashion hold a hypnotic and alluring quality. A triumph.
6/10 – Very strong chorus which drags the rest of this shaky number along. Bonus point for the pitch that the female singer hits – akin to a boiling kettle.
- Tony Blair – “1997”:
In the context of this list, ‘things can only get better’ is a devilishly appropriate title and this is pretty good from the former Mr Smooth of British politics. The nostalgic nineties feel of the video makes this one an instant hit and there’s no denying that this is a step up in quality. Stay with the video until the big reveal towards the end – Mr Blair looks like a man who has just remembered he left the oven on.
6/10 – No real surprise that Labour won the election after laying a rock-solid foundation with this.
- The Green Party – “Change The Tune”:
Ah the Greens, bless them. No one really notices them but they’re forging a formidable reputation for comedy. Their recently acclaimed ‘grown-up politics’ effort wasn’t their first foray into the field of multimedia – this pre-election offering was almost just as inspired. A more musical effort than the others on show – also potentially a masterstroke – could political boybands be the future for engaging younger voters? Jezza, Tom Watson and Sadiq cavorting around stage
with some layered harmonies is a tantalising prospect…
7/10 – If the Green Party were as good at politics as they are campaign videos we would be living in a single-party state.
9. Donald Trump – “The Trump Jam”:
Donald Trump’s campaign has plumbed sinister and vitriolic depths, but this is unquestionably the most unforgivable mutation that the frothing Republican candidates’ posturing has created yet. Also an exemplary demonstration of Trump’s devastating proficiency when employing the Imperius curse – watching these bewitched children stumble around the stage should make uncomfortable viewing for even the hardiest of folk.
8/10 – Catchy, despicable and the sorcery has to be commended. If the presidency doesn’t work out, there’s a future for DJ Donald.
- Kennedy – “Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy…”:
Indoctrination at it’s simple and masterful best. This imperious effort repeats Kennedy’s name over and over again and we love it. The message is clear, it’s easy to join in and the lyrics are about as fun as political brainwashing could hope to be. So good we are bouncing down to the polling station the second this sentence is compl-
10/10 – Untouchable.
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