Despite seemingly every indication that it would end before it officially started, the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic games are slated to begin this Friday. There is a Wikipedia page full of concerns, with everything from heavily polluted water contaminated with super-viruses to Russian doping scandals to a lack of security at the games threatening to tear the whole thing apart. At the very least, we should be able to agree on a singular theme song to unite us all around a bunch of people carrying a torch, right? Right?
Right. Katy Perry released “Rise” especially for the Rio Olympics and while it does contain platitudes like “there’s victory in my veins(?),” the music is unintentionally fitting for a seemingly-dark Olympics. This is supposed to conjure every “good” feeling of the world games, and the only feeling I’m left with is nervousness that $h1t is about to go down. What happened to bizarre but inspired choices like Bjork singing from the perspective of an ocean at the 2004 Athens games? Or even better, the mostly-bonkers 1988 Giorgio Moroder+Koreana collabo “Hand in Hand?” This is why there is only one true choice for an official Olympics song: Peter Allen’s 1976 #1 (in Australia) hit “I Go to Rio.”
On a musical basis alone, the upbeat fun of the song would get citizens of every country up and dancing. Can you imagine people smiling and having fun to the Katy Perry song? Probably not. Of course, most people in Rio won’t be smiling anyway due to threats of the Zika virus and contaminated water. This is all the more reason to have a theme song be incredibly cheerful, to distract athletes and spectators alike of their miserableness. The lyrics are almost on the level of Tin Pan Alley, with Allen being instantly transported to the sunny, totally not filled with raw sewage beaches of Rio de Janeiro just when his baby smiles at him. Think of how far he’d go if his baby did more than smile!
Tragically, Allen died of throat cancer due to complications from AIDs in 1992, so he wouldn’t be around to perform his magical tune. However, there are two great choices to perform the song that have already covered it in years past. The first, yacht-rockers Pablo Cruise, who covered the song a year after Allen first released it. The band is currently touring casinos near you, so there’s no way they’d be too busy to schlep over to Rio and perform at the opening ceremonies.
The other choice might not be so obvious, but to really pump the wattage of star power at the Olympics, it seems obvious to get the once and future Wolverine himself, Mr. Hugh Jackman.
That’s right, in the musical portrayal of Peter Allen’s life, “The Boy from Oz,” Jackman portrayed the singer/songwriter and sang the future obvious choice for the 2016 summer Olympics. If anything could take death and destruction off of the minds of Brazilians, it would be the winning smile and baritone of noted Australian Hugh Jackman.
Of course, this is all just one reporter’s opinion. The Olympics will presumably proceed on Friday with “Rise” soundtracking every single commercial break for the next three weeks. However, if acting Brazilian president Michel Temer is reading this (and I pray that he is), you know what to do. You’ve dug yourself into a $10 billion hole with the summer games, the very least you can do for your country is pay tribute to the life of Peter Allen and “I Go To Rio.”
The very games depend on it.
OK, they don’t, but it would be really nice of you.