The world loves soccer (even some of the United States), and this year the FIFA World Cup is being held in South Africa for the first time. So it's appropriate that there's an African feel to the music on Listen Up! The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Album.

Listen Up! is mostly collaborative efforts, with most songs having two or three artists. (The album even ends with Siphiwo "joined" by a sampling of Nelson Mandela.) There are even three official 2010 FIFA World Cup songs: the official anthem ("Sign of a Victory" by R. Kelly and Soweto Spiritual Singers), the official song ("Waca Waca (This Time for Africa)" by Shakira and Freshlyground, and the official mascot song ("Game On" by Pitbull, Tkzee and Dario G.).

Lyrically, all the songs here are about striving, achieving, and celebrating; they're so universally positive they could be part of a self-help motivational album. (South Africa is often mentioned, unlike soccer.) The strength of Listen Up! is in the nice variety of the songs: While there's a definite African musical influence here, these songs are all distinctive -- and provide a greater variety than you'd find on Top 40 radio. Listen Up! The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Album is a positive, solid album for getting the blood pumping.

Overall grade: B

Reviewed by James Lynch

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