SOCHI, Russia -- Music-wise, that dateline could read "SOCHI, Europe," or, "SOCHI, Most Anywhere," or, "SOCHI, Earth." To tromp around these latest Russian Olympics has been to realize anew the world's musical smallness.
Where American reporters at the Moscow Summer Games of 1980 noted hearing English or American music because that came as mysterious news from behind a curtain -- or, Curtain -- anyone at the Sochi Winter Games of 2014 has heard a barrage of English-language international music, especially the DJ-stirred, Eurodance-heavy stuff that dominates sports arenas and multi-nation record charts.
In so much of the world these days, it's possible to forget where you are.
Scan the Russian airplay list at Tophit.ru during these Olympics, and you'll see a Swedish DJ (Avicii) at No. 1, a Los Angeles group (Capital Cities) at No. 2, a British pop singer (Ellie Goulding) at No. 3. Eminem (featuring Rihanna) and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (featuring Ray Dalton) hold down top-10 slots. You go a bit before you find the Russian girl groups Serebro or Via Gra, or the former member of the Russian pop duo Smash!!, Sergey Lazarev.
Young Russians listen to Russian pop music on Russkoe Radio, Nashe radio and others, and to international music on Radio Europa Plus, NRG/Energy Radio or at, say, snowboarding. Some of them can't speak English yet can sing songs in English. If Olympics are supposed to replicate the world, these Olympics have sounded like the world.
Here's one man's Sochi top 25, including songs heard frequently and enchantingly. It's curious what survives the years.
25. "Party Rock Anthem," LFMAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock (2011) -- There is, of course, an international law requiring the playing of this song in sports arenas, with the penalties unknown but probably a small fine plus global ostracism. This used to be true of the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling," until the world in unison seemed to say, "Oh, wait a minute, that song's atrocious!" "Party Rock Anthem" has played in multiple venues here.
24. "Stayin' Alive," the Bee Gees (1978) -- To some extent, Olympics are a musical competition. They're a test of which songs have lasted longest and least excruciatingly through the years. Example: Los del Rio's "Macarena" proliferated at Atlanta 1996, but nobody would play it now as all the world's hard copies of it seem to have sunk to the bottom of an ocean somewhere. The relic "Stayin' Alive," though, has withstood -- and rebuked -- the pillorying it took early in its shelf-life. It has grown beloved enough to enthrall those unborn back in '78 -- and to turn up at figure skating in Russia in '14. (Hat tip: Christine Brennan, USA TODAY.)
23. "Volare," written by Domenico Modugno and Franco Migliacci (1958) -- You don't expect to hear the 56-year-old "Volare" at Olympics, but when the Dutch pep band at speed skating plays it, it works, largely because it's the Dutch band at speed skating playing it.
22. "Born This Way," Lady Gaga (2011) -- Given the wretched Russian anti-gay law, this might come as a surprise, but truth-on-the-ground is always more nuanced than synopses-on-the-TV-news, of course. Hearing "Born This Way" resonate over the Olympic Park late on a Saturday night might have made you crack, "Maybe they don't know what the words mean," but another funny thing is that the young Russians do know. They do.
21. "Wake Me Up," Avicii featuring Aloe Blacc (2013) -- Not only has this played here and there and back to here, but a gaggle of exhausted volunteers on a bus adopted it as their Olympic theme song given its lyric, "Wake me up when it's all over." It has been the No. 1 song on the Russian airplay charts during the Russian Olympics. Given its Swedish DJ and Panamanian-American singer and global reach, that has been fitting.
20. "Locked Out Of Heaven," Bruno Mars (2012) -- It seems to remain illegal to refrain from playing this anywhere on Earth.
19. "Rolling In The Deep (remix)," Adele (2011) -- There are several remixes to this 21st-century musical mastodon, and don't ask me which are which, but if you'd like to hear one, do cup your ear when passing the Olympic Park. There's a good chance.
18. "La Bamba," Ritchie Valens (1958) -- They played it at Russia-Slovenia hockey. They did.
17. "Mamma Mia," Abba (1975) -- There are one trillion you-know-you're-huge-when stories about Abba, but here's another: You know you're huge when you play on a bus coursing through the mountains heading for snowboarding. This real-deal original had the voices of Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Faltskog and no hint of the pipes of, say, Pierce Brosnan. Mercifully.
16. Medley: "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)," Eurythmics (1982)/"Seven Nation Army," White Stripes (2003) -- Every once in a while in the world, you'll hear an inconceivable medley. This medley from a female singer in the Olympic Park is believed to be the only medley of these two songs in human history. (Hat tip: Michael Rosenberg, Sports Illustrated).
15. "Skyfall," Adele (2012) -- Globally underrated: the staggering beauty of the Caucasus Mountains. Also globally underrated: sunsets over the Black Sea. There was one in particular on the first Olympic Thursday, so orange and pink and purple and stunning that it might wind up unforgettable. (You'll have to ask years from now to make sure.) To emerge from the hockey arena after it finished and hear this Oscar-winning beauty from the James Bond movie "Skyfall" felt perfect.
14. "Sticamen," Ivan Dorn (2011) -- It has been rare to hear Russian pop music in the venues, but figure skating lent the ears this. "A bit cheesy for a man singer," one young Russian woman said, before soon adding, "At least it doesn't hurt the ears."
13. "Pump It Up," Elvis Costello (1978) -- Just before the U.S. and Russia had their protracted shootout in their men's hockey match on Saturday, this song played while fans of both sides seated amongst each other bounced their flags in a kind of unison. If you foresaw all that in 1978 when Costello's album "This Year's Model" emerged, you're frightening.
12. "Feels So Close" (2012) and "Let's Go" (2012), together in a Calvin Harris entry -- In the endless competition for sports-venue attention for brilliantly concocted international dance records that transmit energy, Calvin Harris is a stark-raving force.
11. "Misirlou," Dick Dale and His Del Tones (1962) -- Even after Quentin Tarantino used this to open "Pulp Fiction" in 1994, I never realized the song dates back to 1927 and Greek folk music, apparently. In that sense, it has lived all the way from 1927 to a 2014 Olympics where it has resonated in at least three venues. If it marches on through Rio and PyeongChang and Tokyo to the 2028 Summer Games in somewhere, it will be playing at say, Olympic hockey matches, after its centennial.
10. "Tribute," a composition by Eric Radford (2006) - In any Winter Games, figure skating music would hog some choice chart spots. This hauntingly beautiful bit of music played only twice, during the two short programs (including team) of Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford. The startling thing is Radford composed it, to honor the late coach, Paul Wirtz, who shepherded Radford as a "third parent" -- Radford's words -- from ages 15 to 21. Radford skated as an Olympian (seventh in pairs), and he composed the music. Is it fair to the rest of us to have that much talent?
9. "Up Where We Belong," Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes (1982) -- In an amiable wine bar, two Russians karaoke'd this old piece of sap from the movie "An Officer and A Gentleman," and they sang it -- in English -- loudly enough that it rang over the grounds of the Ekaterininsky Kvartal housing complex, until you just had to go look through the window and behold. It was amazing.
8. "Black Cat," words by Misha Tanich, music by Yuri Saulsky (1963) -- In that same wine bar on another night, two Russians sang this, and the manager was kind enough to furnish the song title for the uninitiated. Turns out it's a staple from Soviet days, still performed sometimes. The duo sang it with a familiarity that made you remember how it's part of life that we miss the entire lives of other cultures.
7. "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet," Bachman-Turner Overdrive (1974) -- The best things in life include being somewhere afar and hearing something that just comes flying out of the unimaginable. So a Saturday morning began in the Olympic Park, and the Russian fans trickled in, and husbands photographed wives, and wives photographed husbands, and people photographed themselves and the intro to this Canadian artifact started bouncing out of the humongous sound system, and really, your jaw might have dropped.
6. "Hello," Martin Solveig and Dragonette (2010) -- In the enduring grapple for big global oxygen between infectious dance songs, this smashing combo of a French DJ (Solveig) and Canadian voice (Martina Sorbara) has elbowed out a lot of competition through its first four years of life. It has been just about everywhere here, including serially -- and mercifully -- blaring across the Olympic Park.
5. "Superstar," from "Jesus Christ Superstar," written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice (1969) -- Pairs figure skating in Russia is like opera in Italy, tango in Argentina, or hockey or gentility in Canada; it's a must-see when traveling. The pairs figure skating of Russian gold medalists Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov has such an added gear and verve, it ought to be must-see for earthlings. They would have been a marvel had they skated to just about any music except "I Gotta Feeling," but they skated to this bit of Western lore.
4. "Not Gonna Get Us," t.A.T.u. (2002) -- When the Russian athletes marched in to one of the familiar tunes of their familiar pop duo of Julia Volkova and Lena Katina, Russians all around reported unprecedented feelings. Said one, "It's almost like they slipped us a drug." There went another testament to the strange power of an Opening Ceremony.
3. "Good Feeling," Flo Rida (2011) -- And as the powerful constructions of musical beat vie for attention at the public gatherings of life, this might be the 2010s champion. Even if all it weren't great on its own merit, even if it didn't fit so well in sports and life, it also goes and reminds the world about Etta James. What value.
2. "Y.M.C.A.," Village People (1978) -- You might guess the Dutch band at speed skating committed a pro-gay turn of cheekiness with this amid Russia's Olympics. You might be right. You also might marvel, though, at the astonishing 36-year journey of this ditty, thriving on long, long after everyone learned the lyrics.
1."Get Lucky," as performed by Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs Choir (or Russian Police Choir) before the opening ceremony, Daft Punk (2013) -- Even as this song probably begins a fade and wouldn't rank nearly this high had not a fresh choir gotten hold of it, good grief, a fresh choir did get hold of it. Some YouTube hits just deserve to be YouTube hits.