Total Football

Album: Wide Awake! (2018)

Songfacts®:

  • Parquet Courts lead singer Andrew Savage explained the song's meaning to Billboard:

    "'Total Football' is a Dutch theory for association football. The idea is that all players on the field can assume different roles at a moment's notice and switch roles. Any player can play any position. I guess I'm making a statement about collectivity and autonomy. It's kind of railing against this idea of clichéd, American masculine hyper-individuality."
  • Savage recalled the story of the song to WESA:

    "The first element of 'Total Football' to come to me was the intro and outro sections. In fact, it was probably the first new thing I had written for Parquet Courts since Human Performance. I remember coming up with it and playing it over and over again on guitar.

    I like songs like Poison Idea's 'Made to Be Broken,' which have these catchy, mid-tempo intro and outro parts and a faster, hardcore song sandwiched between. 'Total Football' isn't exactly a hardcore song, but that's the imagery I see when I hear it. Kids stage-diving and creepy crawling. Definitely a lot of [hardcore punk] youth crew influence toward the end, with the gang vocals, and the vocals on the outro.

    The bass line of the song was inspired by Devo. I had these parts written for the longest time before [adding] the pre-chorus and chorus bits. The lyrics take the form of a manifesto, which is fitting for the first song on this album I think. Bold and declarative."
  • Andrew Savage explained the track's meaning to Q magazine: "It's certainly not just a song about sports. It's basically applying their concept to the USA today, where many, including a lot of younger people, are craving a cultural model that's against the American individualism that's been so emphasized for generations here.

    You look at the wave of demonstrations that are going on in the US right now he continued, and it's obvious that people are seeking a more collective ideology, but because we are Americans, I guess there will always be this craving for individuality and autonomy, so the song's about finding a more nuanced version of collectivism that also allows an opportunity for strong personal expression."

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