There is a song which you hear everywhere here. It’s by a Romanian boy band called O-Zone and its title escapes me, but its main lyric goes “Numa Numa Yay. Numa Numa Numa Yay”. Romanians told me that it was a huge hit all over Europe, but I suspected they were exaggerating or being misled by an excitably patriotic media “A Belgian bought that Romanian record! We are finally recognized in the west of the continent! First Adrian Mutu and now this! Romania is on the European map!”
But it’s true. In Spain on a train I heard a father singing it to his young pissed off looking son after a day on the beach. Then in a record store in Barcelona, at the bank of listening posts next to new albums by The Cure, Prodigy, and Beyonce, was the O-Zone album. It really IS big all over Europe. It is, I’m led to believe, this year’s big Euro summer hit. It makes sense – it obeys all the rules of Euro summer hits, which are of course:
- Your record’s hook line shall either make no sense (eg that Spanish bipididibipi thing from last year), or be in some kind of grammatically correct but not normal English (eg “All that she wants is another baby”, or “I’m serious as cancer when I say rhythm is a dancer”) [Of course my Romanian is not good enough yet to know whether "Numa Numa Yay" is in fact a searing critique of Kant or Wittgenstein, but I think it probably isn't]
- Each year’s hit shall come from a different country (eg all of the above) in a kind of rotating pan-euro equality scheme. Possibly it’s a Socrates project.
- The bands that make the songs shall commit to only have one summer of success before vanishing into the unknown. Whatever happened to Aqua? TaTu? Snap? Ace of Base? Does anyone know? And does anyone care?
- The songs must be catchy but, ultimately, rubbish.
So, from this we can conclude that O-zone are already heading into the sunset, and that next year’s big hit will be a Byelorussian number entitled “lobynobysoby” or “I am crestfallen in sincerity”
Until then, once you get numa numa yay into your brain it’s absolutely impossible to get it out.