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Laika: A Musical Summary

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 7 Seconds of Love are not the first people to record a song in honour of Laika, the first animal in space. We're in good company: The Arcade Fire, The Divine Comedy and Gorillaz have all had a go, amongst many others, and it's interesting to contrast the musical interpretations and what they reveal about their authors' feelings towards Laika and her mission.

Spanish 80s synth-popster Mecano, for example, leave us no doubt that we should pity Laika - just a normal dog who happened to be in the wrong suburb of Moscow at the wrong point in the space race. Their 1988 single 'Laika' is an earnest piece, with a soaring, heartfelt chorus of "Adios, Laika", and a lot of moithering on about how the awful chaps back at the control tower are popping the champers as Laika is left to drift off into the abyss. Oh boo hoo hoo. She's in FLIPPING SPACE, for god sake! IT MUST'VE BEEN THE MOST FUN ANY DOG HAS EVER HAD! Anyway, here they are on Rockomanía playing it live. Or as "live" as music on TV ever was in the 80s.


The Divine Comedy also leave the listener in no doubt that Laika was a tragic figure - 'Laika's Theme', a haunting instrumental from their 2004 album 'Absent Friends' has a hint of redemption at the end but is essentially another sob-story about a lost dog.

Why can't these people just get over it? HE GOT TO WOOF A BIT IN ZERO GRAVITY!

Worst of all, The Arcade Fire, on their 2005 album 'Funeral', compare the geniunely awful loss of their friend's brother to the luckiest rocket dog of the 1950s in 'Neighborhood #2 (Laika)'. Now, I don't want to trivialise their loss at all, but for goodness sake, enough dog pitying. FOR A PRECIOUS FEW DAYS, LAIKA GAZED AT THE EARTH AS A DISTANT AQUAMARINE ORB! HOW MANY DOGS GET TO DO THAT?

Clearly, all of these musical interpretations missed the point. They're obsessed with the canine tragedy of Laika. Surely if we can pity a dog for suffering, then we can also celebrate her wonderful journey into the abyss? I'll wager 6 days in space was a lot better than a few more miserable years begging for butcher's bones in Khrushchev's Russia.

Which is why our bombastic polska romp 'Rocket Dog' is the best song about Laika ever made. Apart, perhaps, from this wonderful Romainian-sexpop extravaganza which, although it doesn't specifically discuss Laika's mission literally, it definitely captures the spirit of the rocket dog. As you'll hear.