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Is The New South Whales ‘The New Anthem’ the best Origin anthem?

Trying to combine sport and music is equal parts art and science, as we attempt to mix two aspects of culture that, outside of a strictly monitored test environment, can become disasters of a level not seen since The Broncos Rap.

Rugby league has Tina Turner as a high-water mark but a State of Origin anthem, the quintessential rallying cry that brings together fans of each team, that has stood the test of time remains elusive.

As expected, this approach has had, uh, various levels of success, with some anthems instilling more shame than pride for their cause.

The most recent addition to this rich(-ish) genre is ‘The New Anthem’, an ambiguously titled song from Newcastle band ‘These New South Whales’ that doubles as an ad for Tooheys New.

But this new anthem has us thinking, what is the best Origin anthem?

To make this decision as analytical as possible, each of the anthems will be scored from one to five in five categories – music, video, references, fame and impact. Once each song has been analyzed by these completely legitimate and objective categories, one will stand alone as the great Origin anthem.

So which is the best?

Music: When it comes to the most popular genres of music, one that does not immediately spring to mind is ‘show tunes’. However, as shown by Denis Carnahan in his recurring song ‘That’s In Queensland’, it doesn’t take much for a properly written jingle to lodge itself deep inside your head, leaving you helplessly repeating to yourself which different cities are in Queensland. 3.5/5.

Video: For this song, the video category needs to be analyzed in two separate parts: effort and execution. Because it’s impossible to watch this video and not feel the passion that was put into crafting the accompanying visual aspect. However, and maybe this is said with too much hindsight, the video is essentially a slideshow, combined with the best graphic design that Microsoft Paint has to offer. A four for effort, a two for execution, and this averages out to a score of 3/5.

references: A perfect score here. The whole song is a reference, filled with smaller, more specific references. A Babushka doll of references, if you will. A true distillation of the great game in song form. 5/5.

fame: As of June 21, 2022, That’s In Queensland has amassed 799,350 views on Youtube. Combine this with the views from the Ben Te’o remix, the 2013 version, and the 2014 ‘apology’ version, and that’s well over a million views. Considering these are NRL-related musical numbers, this feels like it just about hits the ceiling of how popular it can be. 4.5/5.

Impact: How inspiring is this Origin anthem? It kind of depends. At face value, a song poking fun at the legitimacy of some of the Maroons’ selections may not be the most impactful prospect. However, it is almost impossible to deny the earworm nature of That’s In Queensland combined with its upbeat sound would make any fan of the team feel at least a little better about their performance, and that’s not even considering the prospect of the chorus being used as to chant 2.5/5.

This gives ‘That’s In Queensland’ a total score of 18.5/25.

Music: A legitimately not terrible rock song, that if released with different non-NRL lyrics would no doubt be an hourly fixture on stations such as Triple M. Very 80’s inspired, no doubt in an effort to connect with the nostalgia of that era with footy fans, but a very typical song that your dad would no doubt sing 60% correctly at a barbecue after a few too many tinnies. 4/5.

Video: A little bit confusing here, as there are technically three videos for this anthem; the first is a still of the album cover while the full song plays, the second is the first 30-seconds of the song performed by a Blues-themed choir with accompanying pyrotechnics, and the third is a collection of the 2021 Blues recreating the song . Honestly probably too much to unpack here to find a fitting score for all three, so let’s give them three here and be done with it. 3/5.

references: This is a slightly deceptive song in terms of references, as at face value it is chock full of references to the great game. However, upon closer inspection, it may not be as culturally plugged in as it appears. The verses contain a number of references but are very surface level, and the chorus is a completely unrelated rallying cry for all types of people, from ‘vegans’ to ‘bacon lovers’. 3.5/5.

fame: All up, the three versions of ‘We All Bleed Blue’ have amassed 19,119 views. For one video, this would have been fairly impressive, but given the fact that is the sum of three separate attempts suggest that this particular anthem was not the most highly viewed of the anthems. 2/5.

Impact: This song has huge aspirations, trying to unite NSW fans from all walks of life under the umbrella of being Blues. However, it is precisely because of this that ‘We All Bleed Blue’ falls short, more aspirational than inspirational when push comes to shove. This anthem feels a tad overworked as if a group of marketing execs and musicians sat in a room and tried to craft the ‘perfect Origin anthem’, and the result rings hollow. The fact that that year’s Origin team butchered a rendition of the song also does not do it any favours. 2/5.

This gives ‘We All Bleed Blue’ a total score of 14.5/25.

Music: This is a head vs. heart category. Logical thinking says that a song by a band geared almost exclusively towards pre-schoolers isn’t going to produce the best-sounding music for Origin fans. However, 1. The Wiggles have been able to prove that they have mainstream appeal to adults numerous times (see the 2021 Triple J Hottest 100), and 2. It’s really, really, really catchy. 4/5.

Video: A little disappointing visually, knowing what The Wiggles are capable of, their video features members of the group in Blues jerseys passing around a football. It’s clean and simple, but for a group that has previously driven a car around an entirely computer-generated town, dancing in front of a handpainted set is a slight letdown. 2/5.

references: Considering the song is one minute and 33 seconds long – 28 seconds of which consists of them singing ‘ba da da da da’ – the references in this are fairly strong. Red Wiggle Simon Pryce fills the middle listing numerous historical blues, and they even find time to include the famous Origin tagline ‘mate vs mate, state vs state’. 3.5/5.

fame: This video has 3.8 million views on Youtube. 5/5.

Impact: If you are a Blues fan under eight years old reading this, this is most likely the most inspirational song you’ve ever heard. You also have parents that are highly irresponsible with your internet access. For anyone else, this is cute and fun, but unlikely to make you want to run through a wall. 2.5/5.

This gives ‘NSW Blues Song’ a total score of 17/25.

Music: These New South Whales make a certain kind of beach/grunge rock that is not popular with everyone, but for those who like it, it consumes them. Out of all contestants, this is by far the most likely to be played on Triple J, and also by extension the most likely to get a crowd to mosh to. For an older generation, it is also the most likely to be dismissed as rubbish, and doesn’t quite capture that ‘Origin spirit’. 3/5.

Video: This video is an extension of the themes of the song in many ways, featuring grainy camcorder footage and more high-definition footage of a small but packed-out venue, while the band thrashes out. There are shots of the crowd, and shots of the band, but not much else. It’s a video that makes you want to be part of the crowd but isn’t entirely entertaining to watch on its own. 3/5.

references: This song has references to the state of NSW, sure, but there are few that can be interpreted as relating to Rugby League, and the ones that do are not entirely accurate. For instance, during the first verse, they sing that “in Wollongong, nothings wrong.” The St. George Illawarra Dragons are currently eighth on the NRL ladder, sporting a 7-7 record. It’s hard to say that there’s ‘nothing wrong’ with them. 2/5.

fame: Released in late May, the song has gained 2,227 views over the month that it has been on Youtube. It’s easily the least seen of all candidates, and while it’s possible that that is due to the limited time it has been out, it’s hard to see it gaining much more traction from here. 2/5.

Impact: It’s possible that the head-banging, high-energy sound of this song is enough to inject some adrenaline into the hearts of Blues fans. But that will be its only way to do so, with the song acting more as an audio banner for Toohey’s New than a song to inspire the fans of the Cockroaches. Listing town names is not enough to get people excited for a footy game. 2/5.

This gives The New Anthem a total score of 12/25.

Judging by our highly rigorous and objective scoring system, it is clear that the true best Origin anthem is in fact Denis Carnahan’s ‘That’s In Queensland’, an essential part of the Origin experience that is returned to each year by diehard fans eager to capture some of that energy.

As for the latest edition to the genre, it had potential but falls way short of achieving the crown.

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