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The coronation of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla is fast approaching.
To get everyone in the spirit, the DCMS – Department for Culture, Media and Sport – has put together an official 27-track playlist on Spotify as a suggested street party soundtrack.
The nearly two-hour playlist picked by the DCMS without any external input features tracks from different artists and begins with The Beatles’ ‘Come Together’, a not-so-thinly veiled message of unity.
The playlist also includes Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)’ – which gained renewed popularity thanks to Season 4 of Stranger Things – Harry Styles’ ‘Treat People With Kindness’, Coldplay’s ‘A Sky Full of Stars’, David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ and Ed Sheeran’s ‘Celestial’.
Here’s the full Coronation playlist:
- The Beatles – Come Together
- Boney M. – Daddy Cool
- Coldplay – A Sky Full of Stars
- David Bowie – Let’s Dance
- Ed Sheeran – Celestial
- Elbow – One Day Like This
- Electric Light Orchestra – Mr. Blue Sky
- Ellie Goulding – Starry Eyed
- Emeli Sandé – Starlight
- George Ezra – Dance All Over Me
- Grace Jones – Slave To The Rhythm
- Harry Styles – Treat People With Kindness
- Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)
- Madness – Our House
- Micheal Bublé – It’s A Beautiful Day
- Pet Shop Boys – All over the World
- Queen – We are the Champions
- Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart – People Get Ready
- Sam Ryder – SPACE MAN
- Spandau Ballet – Gold
- Spice Girls – Say You’ll Be There
- Take That – Shine
- The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset
- The Proclaimers – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)
- The Who – Love Reign O’er Me
- Tom Jones – Green Green Grass Of Home
- Years & Years – King
A controversial pick
There’s already been a slip-up.
The Coronation party selection initially featured 28 – but a Dizzee Rascal track quickly disappeared.
The song ‘Dance Wiv Me’ by the British grime artist was added in “error”, considering Rascal was found guilty of assaulting his ex-fiancé Cassandra Jones.
“A track featuring Dizzee Rascal was included in error and as soon as this was identified it was removed.”
The trial found him guilty in April 2022, and the 38-year-old lost his appeal last week. After he lost his appeal, Jones said the verdict showed “wealth and status cannot be used to silence women” and that “support is out there.”
This song inclusion was especially galling as the Queen Consort, who will also be crowned at the coronation, has publicly campaigned against domestic violence.
In November, she hosted a major reception at Buckingham Palace, where she called for these “heinous crimes” committed against women and girls to end.
Now That’s What I Call Homogeneity
According to the BBC, a spokesperson said that the playlist had been selected to “celebrate British and Commonwealth artists ahead of the upcoming Coronation.”
That’s all very well and good, but there are some issues with this line-up.
The safe-bet playlist seems to have been engineered to tick random boxes (including appealing to a younger audience with the inclusion of Harry Styles and Sam Ryder, for example) and include songs for their titles alone…
People Get Ready to Come Together on One Day Like This which is A Beautiful Day. You’re thinking of skipping it? No! Say You’ll Be There to celebrate Daddy Cool who happens to be the future King who’ll let Love Reign O’er Me.
We see what you did with there.
As for ‘Our House’, ‘Waterloo Sunset’, ‘Green Green Grass Of Home’ and ‘We are the Champions’, it has an uncomfortable feeling of self-congratulatory patriotic nonsense that doesn’t sit well with the fact that for a collection of songs supposed to celebrate a new monarch but also a country and its people, it’s very one-note and depressingly uniform.
Which leads us to the burning question: Is this a true celebration of the Commonwealth?
Not really, no, as the DCMS seems to have forgotten that the Commonwealth is more than just the UK.
There are 54 countries in the Commonwealth and the only three that represent some geographic diversity are German-Caribbean outfit Boney M., Canada’s Michael Bublé, and Jamaica’s Grace Jones.
Speaking of which, there are only four persons of colour (Boney-M, Grace Jones, Emeli Sandé and a fifth of the Spice Girls) in the 27-heavy list, and only six songs are performed by women (Boney M., Grace Jones, Ellie Goulding, Emeli Sandé, Kate Bush, Spice Girls).
So much for diversity.
It’s not about how ultimately dull and predictable the playlist is – no one was expecting the Sex Pistols, after all – but an effort could have been made to include artists from the 54 nations and more female performers.
It’s not as if the Commonwealth is lacking creative diversity.
Where’s British-Sri Lankan singer M.I.A.? Barbados-born Rihanna? Australia’s very own Kylie Minogue or Natalie Imbruglia? Cameroon’s Irma or Blanche Bailly? The list goes on, and no Indian artists to be seen, DCMS…
Hardly modern Britain, is it?
In fact, all the playlist does is serve as an uncomfortable reminder that this is a nation that still hasn’t reached puberty by not convincingly wrestling with its colonialist past, as well as highlight that those in power prefer to stick to sanitized versions of culture despite a wealth of diversity and plurality of voices.
Well done, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and don’t be surprised if the rest of the Commonwealth will be blocking their ears…
King Charles III will be crowned on Saturday 6 May, alongside Queen Consort Camilla Parker Bowles, at Westminster Abbey, London. Sunday 7 May will see the Coronation Concert performed at Windsor Castle. Monday 8 May is a special Bank Holiday proclaimed by the Prime Minister in honour of the Coronation.