In 2003 the Business released an album where every single song is about soccer (‘football’ to them). Myself not being any kind of sport fan, it’s strange how high in esteem I hold this album. It could be that the band sings passionately about their day to day life, it could be simply that all 12 tracks on the album are solid. I think it’s remarkable that they can write 12 songs about soccer and somehow make them all different. The first track “Hardcore Hooligan” is about the rising prices of game tickets and the greed of football clubs, the next track “Southgate” is about an English football player who missed a penalty shot, “Terrace Lost It’s Soul” about gentrification and it’s relation to football.
Oi music has always been connected to stadium sports; musically the chanting gang vocals first came from crowd chants at football games. Even the fashion trends of Fred Perry polo shirts and Lonsdale sweaters can be seen as a gesture towards these games. Spectator sports are part of the working class lifestyle in England, which is what Oi originates from.
There’s something about the direct nature of this album that stands in complete contrast to modern music’s trend towards the passive, individualistic, new age disco of bands like Arcade Fire, Grouplove, or Foster the People. The guitarist of the Business, Steve Kent, was quoted saying of punk’s modern direction (new-wave, no-wave, art rock, etc.) “trendy university people using long words, trying to be artistic…and losing touch,” which applies today more then ever before. I think that’s what I love about this, 12 great songs that are simple enough that anyone can love them without loosing dignity to some of the shittier jock-jams that fill our hockey arenas (the whole first volume of Jock Jams can serve as an example of this). This album is something that an arena sport fan and I (an introverted, picky musician) can both enjoy.
There are parts of the album that make me laugh just due to the ridiculousness of what is being said, for example the outro of “Hardcore Hooligan” goes: ‘F-U-F-U-C-F-U-C-K FUCK YOU!”, “Saturday’s Heroes” glorifies sport riots, the title and chorus of “England 5 – Germany 1” is the score of a soccer game from 2001. The line “Grew up on the streets through anarchy,” feels more like a gang affiliation then a political theory. But I find that the cruder aspects of the album should be taken tongue-in-cheek, with a sense of humour that is totally lacking from our modern music perspective. The point of this band is that they are regular working people, not art school academics.
Anyways, clearly I think this is something you should hear. I would suggest this album as a introduction to the Business, a great album to begin with.
Some Tracks the are Particularly Good:
Terrace Lost It’s Soul