K’naan – Wavin’ Flag (Celebration Mix) …and some others.

By Samuel.

(It’s worth noting that K’naan won the 2010 Junos for Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. The Junos are Canada’s equivalent to the Grammys, and he deserves it. He’s come a long way since The Dusty Foot Philsopher. He’s one of my favorite artists on the scene today, and I hope he hits success. )

Somehow I missed the fact that K’naan’s incredible anthem “Wavin’ Flag” became the official anthem for the World Cup this year. I don’t know how missed it, but I did and am about 5 months late to the party. They recorded a new mix of the song for the World Cup version, called the “Celebration Mix” which adds a pre-chorus verse and alters the chorus with “wave your flag” thrown in. I like the new mix, but the “wave your flag” feels tacked on anytime it comes in.

That said, in looking around, there seems to be at least 4 different versions of this song.

And some of them are just awful.

Here’s a few of them:

The Good:

The Acoustic Set:

K’naan does his own acoustic version of the song. This version is better than album version in my opinion. It’s no real secret I like acoustic stuff, but this simply feels much more intimate and personal than the anthemic recording. I think this captures the heart of the song, and why it’s so strong as a song. K’naan’s not an incredible lyricist, but he makes up for it with heart. And this is where it shines through.

I do find it funny that they changed the label to (World Cup Theme Song) despite it being the original rendition of the song, though.

The Official Word Cup Version:

This is just the official video of the World Cup version of the song, which just adds David Bisbal, some Spanish and some pretty funny dancing. The Spanish works because of the worldly vibe that they’re obviously going for, though I think it would have been interesting to give some other language artists a verse.

The Bad:

Will.i.am shows up:


Sorry about the link, but mtv’s a bitch.

Now this is the official single from K’naan, released today. I feel like will.i.am is the guy that just pesters people to be in things until they finally give up and let him. The video also features a very awkward looking dance. It includes the “wave your flag” of the world cup version. It’s solid, and I can see why it was changed, but I still prefer the original, and would prefer will.i.am please leave. I do like the other alterations to the chorus, though.

The Ugly:

The Canadians try:

For some reason, artists have just entirely lost the ability to do charity songs, as evidenced by the recording of “Wavin’ Flag” for the Haiti disaster. I don’t know why anyone thought Avril Lavigne, the guy from Simple Plan and Nelly Furtado should sing a song written by a Somalian about freedom, but I suppose artistic intent wasn’t the heart of the goal here. And I guess the guy from Simple Plan does have more record sales than K’naan. Still, the performance is so obviously phoned in, it’s pretty terrible to watch. At least it doesn’t have Vince Vaughn. Oh, but Drake’s there.

And Bieber.

I might prefer Vince Vaughn.

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