Released to coincide with the 2010 South Africa World Cup, England Forever celebrates the good, the bad, and the downright ugly football songs that dominate the charts during every international tournament. Featuring novelty cash-ins, terrace anthems, and mainstream hits associated with the beautiful game, this 23-track compilation takes in everything from R&B (K'NAAN's anthemic "Wavin' Flag") to opera (Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino's rendition of "Nessun Dorma") to samba (Sergio Mendes' surprise collaboration with the Black Eyed Peas, "Mas Que Nada"). The album kicks off in style with New Order's seminal "World in Motion" and Fat Les' ridiculous but joyous "Vindaloo," but surprisingly there's no place for Baddiel & Skinner's hugely successful "Three Lions" or indeed any of the recent official anthems from Embrace, Ant & Dec, or England United -- which makes the inclusion of Talksport Mashup Boys' "England Medley" and the England Band's "Cabanga," both of which sound like drunken karaoke, seem even more puzzling. However, Collapsed Lung's hip-hop-inspired "Eat My Goal," Dario G's calypso-flavored "Carnival de Paris" (cleverly featuring instruments from all the 32 countries competing in the 1998 World Cup), and the Farm's baggy-pop classic "Altogether Now" prove that not all football songs should be tarnished with the same brush. Elsewhere, Tarantino favorite the 184.108.40.206's' "Woo Hoo" and the Jam's mod anthem "That's Entertainment" are the highlights of a rather baffling collection of non-football related tracks that also include Kaiser Chiefs' rather inappropriate "I Predict a Riot" and the Automatic's woefully misplaced "Monster." England Forever may feature several classics, but thanks to its random track list and rather notable omissions, it's not even in the same league as other similarly themed compilations.
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AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien