The Olympics Catapult Music Up the Charts

5 years ago

Music plays such an important role in my life. I get such visceral reactions as I hear a song and can pinpoint a moment in time when that song or band meant something so very important to me. Music helps to tell my life story and so many others do the same as we think back to fond memories of mix tapes to sleepover dance parties to that song that played when you danced at your wedding or to that tune that reminds you of a missed family member or friend. And when there are even bigger stories behind the music, it makes it that much more palpable for all.

So of course, as I’m ferociously watching as much of the Olympics’ coverage as I can, I cling to the songs I hear and their associations to the stories about the athletes. I begin to make new connections of this moment in time, and to this summer and all its glory. And the song that stands out the most, thanks to NBC’s coverage of the Fab Five, is “Home,” by Phillip Phillips, the eleventh season winner of American Idol. And as all the connections are made in my head, of Phillips’ story battling kidney problems along his path to winning American Idol and the US Women’s Gymnastics Team battling for a team gold medal after 16 years of missing it, the song fits all of them so perfectly.

The melodic hook and melodies of Phillips’ voice blending with that of the chorus between verses is what captivated me at first. Then there are those words, “Settle down, it’ll all be clear/Don’t pay no mind to the demons/They fill you with fear/The trouble it might drag you down/If you get lost, you can always be found.” I think the NBC executives who chose this song to run alongside all the stories about the Fab Five where on to something. There was so much pressure put on these five young women, and in a sense this media entity, though they put gobs of pressure on them as well via their persistent coverage and interviews, added a footnote to their story with these lyrics. They are sending a message to the world about what it’s like to be an Olympic athlete, procuring comfort, and bringing a smile to everyone’s face with the words, “Just know you’re not alone/Cause I’m going to make this place your home.”

Since NBC began narrating the story of these girls, highlighting Phillips’ song, “Home” has hurled to the top of the iTunes charts and is currently the number 1 downloaded song. And just a couple weeks before the London Olympics began, Phillips earned a gold record for this single, which is pretty apropos as the US Women’s Gymnastics team just won their own bit of gold.

What NBC has shown us, in the midst of all their Olympic coverage scrutiny, is what the media has the power to do. Just as Apple propelled many songs up the charts with their iPod commercials, NBC is doing the same for so many artists. “Home” performed by Phillips, and written by British singer-songwriter Greg Holden is clearly the winner in this summer music race, as the song is propelled into the hearts and minds of so many viewers, who can now forever have their own musical association as they ponder what the journey is like for so many Olympians. And really, “Home” can clearly be thought of as the London Olympics’ mantra, with lasting memories being made by all.


Tracy manages and writes for Liberating Working Moms and tweets as @wa_tracy.

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