Celebrating the sounds of the world game's favourite game.
The FIFA series is undoubtedly one of the most popular video game franchises of the last 25 years, with an estimated 280 million copies being sold to countless football fans all over the globe.
Perhaps one of the franchise’s most memorable features – alongside its slick gameplay and uncannily realistic graphics – is its yearly soundtrack. Each year’s new FIFA release boasts an eclectic array of music, ranging from little-known Latin alt-rock artists to some of the more notorious British synth-pop acts of the millennium.
The late, great Australian sports journalist Les Murray fittingly coined football as the “World Game”, and the FIFA franchise exemplifies this to a tee – it’s provided gamers with the opportunity to play with hundreds of clubs across dozens of nations, all the while showcasing the very best contemporary music each country has to offer.
So today, we thought it would be worth celebrating FIFA’s legendary amalgam of sport and music by exploring the 15 best soundtrack tunes of the last 15 years.
FIFA 06: ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’ – LCD Soundsystem
Many avid FIFA gamers would argue that 2006 is when the franchise really started to branch out musically, incorporating a mix of Afrobeat, Salsa, Krautrock as well as the tsunami of British indie rock that dominated the noughties.
Accompanied by the likes of Bloc Party, Oasis and Doves, it’s the New York dance-punk outfit who deserve the accolades with this rambunctious ode to two of France’s finest.
FIFA 07: ‘O Vas A Misa…’ – Bersuit Vergarabat
As Argentine maestro Lionel Messi began to flaunt his footballing talents to the world, so did some of his country’s most famous musicians. Bersuit Vergarabat are a prime example of this: formed in 1987 in Buenos Aires, they gained a reputation for penning upbeat tunes laced with whacky and outright obscene lyrics.
For instance, the chorus in this song translates to: “Go to mass, or go to my salami”. Safe to say that those in charge of the ‘07 soundtrack probably didn’t have Google Translate at hand.
FIFA 08: ‘Fa-Fa-Fa’ – Datarock
I’d say that Datarock’s approach towards nomenclature is probably about as interesting as a 0-0 first round FA Cup draw. However, the group’s grooves are nothing short of infectious; originally released in 2005, the Norwegian quartet scored a cult classic a few years later with the song’s inclusion on FIFA 08.
Sporting a wicked bass riff and some rollicking disco beats, this is a tune that still sounds as fresh today as it did all those years ago.
FIFA 09: ‘Untouched’ – The Veronicas
FIFA 09’s soundtrack featured a ridiculous array of hits from artists such as Duffy, The Kooks and MGMT. However, it’s hard to overlook this Aussie pop-punk staple from the talented Origliasso sisters.
This synth-laden banger dominated the airwaves all over Australia, and also gained considerable chart attention over in Germany, the UK and Czech Republic. Thanks, FIFA!
FIFA 10: ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Blow’ – BPA aka Fatboy Slim
In 2008, Norman Cook decided to put the Fatboy Slim name aside and work under a new moniker: Brighton Port Authority. Cook’s affinity for the coastal city is well known: who could forget his iconic 2002 performance on Brighton Beach in front of a raucous crowd of 200,000? He’s also an avid supporter and shareholder of the city’s football club, Brighton and Hove Albion.
Having been featured on some of the earlier editions of the game, it was great to see Cook reappear on FIFA 10 with this quirky, Latin-ska infused number.
FIFA 11: ‘Odessa’ – Caribou
Who else remembers spending hours on the FIFA 11 training ground, fervently attempting to finesse a long shot into the top corner with this song playing in the background?
It’s pretty hard to create a track as hypnotic as ‘Odessa’, but Canadian electronic mainstay Dan Snaith absolutely nails it here: the Madchester-style tambourines and minimalistic melodies give this track a vibe that even the most astute electronic producer would struggle to emulate.
FIFA 12: ‘Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now)’ – Portugal. The Man
For most people, Portugal. The Man are synonymous with their 2017 hit ‘Feel It Still’, which garnered more than its fair share of airplay throughout the ensuing 18 months.
However, years before PTM went mainstream, they released perhaps one of the most intriguing psychedelic rock albums of the decade: In The Mountain In The Cloud. ‘Got It All’ – one of two singles from the LP – is nothing short of a symphonic gem, with its mellifluous production sounding top notch, even through that shitty LCD monitor connected to your Xbox 360.
FIFA 13: ‘If So’ – Atlas Genius
By now, the FIFA franchise was gaining unprecedented traction with the inception of its insidiously addictive Ultimate Team, not to mention the vast expansion of its leagues and stadiums.
But perhaps more importantly, FIFA was starting to incorporate more Australian releases as part of its soundtracks. ‘If So’ slots in beautifully within ‘13’s upbeat catalogue, with the Adelaide quartet’s penchant for memorable hooks and vibrant synths pricking the ears of those over at EA Sports HQ.
FIFA 14: ‘My Number’ – Foals
If there’s a band whose music embodies sheer athleticism, it’s Foals. Their live performances are nothing short of adrenaline-charged, thanks to the imperious stage presence of lead singer Yannis Philippakis. This tune, off 2013’s Holy Fire, is a stand-out: the tight, interlocking guitar parts, funky rhythm section and dynamic lyrical refrain make it a number you won’t forget.
FIFA 15: ‘Walk’ – Kwabs
Ask any FIFA gamer what their all-time favourite soundtrack tune is, and you’re probably going to hear this one come up a fair bit. Born Kwabena Adjepong, British singer/songwriter Kwabs released ‘Walk’ in 2014, and its inclusion on the subsequent year’s edition only sought to bolster its worldwide popularity.
At its core, it’s remarkably simple yet catchy, with a piano ostinato and vocal melody that’s surely etched into the psyche of everyone who bought the game.
FIFA 16: ‘Dreams’ – Beck
While it’s no 2020, I think most of us can agree that 2016 was a strange year in its own right: Brexit, exploding smartphones, creepy clown sightings and a reality TV personality being elected US President are just some of the events that punctuated the utter bamboozlement that was 2016.
But a rowdy dance-pop track by the otherwise understated Beck being featured on a FIFA game? Don’t think anyone would’ve believed that in their wildest dreams.
FIFA 17: ‘Bye Bye’ – SAFIA
Perhaps one of the more overlooked songs on 2017’s edition of FIFA, this track by Canberra electronica trio SAFIA is likely the most fascinating contrivance to have emerged from the Capital in recent memory. The lyrics detail the narrator’s online harassment via social media, all the while accompanied by a quirky, Montuno-inspired piano part.
FIFA 18: ‘L’Hiver Indien’ – Baloji
Throughout the last 20 years, Congo-born Belgian rapper Baloji has amassed a formidable reputation due to the candid, semi-autobiographical nature of his music.
‘L’Hiver Indien’ – translated to ‘The Indian Winter’ in English – is a prime example of his artistry: sung from the perspective of a refugee living in Europe, it uses the weather and change in surroundings as a metaphor for the culture shock and struggles to adapt to their adopted home. The jaunty, ‘70s-style Afrobeat guitar provides the perfect backdrop here for a song that most certainly merits a revisit.
FIFA 19: ‘Beat 54 (All Good Now)’ – Jungle
For those inclined to toke up before partaking in a game or two of FIFA, 2019’s edition offered up what can only be described as a bespoke soundtrack. It’s comparatively more chilled out than many of the preceding editions, with songs such as Childish Gambino’s ‘Feels Like Summer’ exemplifying said vibe.
However, ‘Beat 54’ has got to be the most laid-back song heard on the franchise to date, featuring some dank vocal layers and a funky, buoyant bassline that’ll leave any stoned gamer in a bit of a haze.
FIFA 20: ‘Rushing Back’ – Flume ft. Vera Blue
When it comes to collaborating with the cream of the local crop, no one does it better than Harley Streten, aka Flume. ‘Rushing Back’ showcases the vocal talents of NSW-based artist Vera Blue, and the song deservedly found itself on the upcoming FIFA 20 soundtrack.
Streten’s glitchy synth-work demonstrates his propensity to discover sounds one never knew existed, while Blue’s ludicrously extensive vocal range is on full display: this is certainly a tune that’ll evoke some serious FIFA nostalgia in years to come.
While you’re here, revisit our favourite tracks from the iconic Guitar Hero series.