National anthems, good ones, and ours too

Taylor Swift sings our national anthem. Who cares? Not me, for sure. I have never much cared for her work, but music is personal, so I don’t imagine many agree with me. And anyway, there is this, which has always troubled me:

My problem? She looks like a mannequin. Her mom and dad are out of step, and she appears to be walking ahead of them. I don’t know, but it is one of the oddest photos I have ever seen. It made me wonder if she is one of those singers, like Jim Morrison or John Denver, assigned fake names and parents.

But that is not why I am writing this. While I don’t care about Taylor Swift, I do care about our national anthem. I think it is one of the worst songs ever written. According to our former writer Maarten, it is really just an old British drinking song that was brushed up and given over to the newly formed group of ragtag colonies aspiring to be a country.

When it is played at sporting events, they always hire someone like Swift to sing it. It is so tedious to watch! But there is a reason – singing that song requires a vocal range that can cross three octaves. Only professional singers can manage that. My idea of a true national anthem is something that we can all sing together. For years there has been a push to replace the SSB with America the Beautiful, and I say what the heck! The Washington Redskins became the Commanders, the Cleveland Indians the Guardians. I never thought I would see that! We can make this change!

I remember some years back watching the Olympics, and seeing the State Anthem of the Russian Federation sung, not by a pop singer, but by people. It was moving. They sang in harmony, and were deeply moved by love of country. They shared that moment. That’s what national anthems are supposed to do.

This in mind, I spent some time last evening listening to various national anthems, and they all (except the US) have that in common. They can all be sung by common folks. Following here are just a few I liked.

Finland:

I honestly thought that Findlandia, by Sibelius, was their national anthem. It is a long instrumental written at the turn of the 20th century, a pleasant piece to listen to.

Mexico:

I love the way they are arm-in arm and sing with camaraderie and emotion. That is, again, what national anthems are supposed to do, bring us together.

Costa Rica:

My god, they absolutely cannot sing! What great fun!

European Union:

That is, in case you do not recognize it, the Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. I am not sure I like it in that format. I feel that a group of countries pressed together in artificial circumstances ought to come up with something original rather than grabbing the most famous piece of music ever written. Could they not do better?

Canada:

Sweden:

Anyway, you get the picture – national anthems are meant to be moving, sung together, and to give us a sense of camaraderie.

That old British drinking song does not get it done.

8 thoughts on “National anthems, good ones, and ours too

  1. Sing about your country… A country? THIS country? No thanks. As far up I’d ever go beyond my own family with such an espoused honor, might be Clan (but woe is me, I have none).

    A while back #1 Son and I discussed the best band (music) names. One of my favorites (name only) is Back Yard Tire Fire. THAT would be a good start to creating a new [U.S.A.] anthem… for those inclined to embrace this land of illusion, lies, deceit and all around professional punishment and plundering. As to the tune itself, War Pigs by Black Sabbath would be quite appropriate – and it IS sing-able.

    This is a certified Banana Republic hosting Kangaroo Kourts servicing only the Filthy Fucking Rich. Sing to it? I piss on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I sort of expected this kind of reaction. I don’t care bout countries any more than you, but do see that people need to belong, hug one another and sing. That’s what I saw in the images of football players singing and arm-in-arm, people feeling the warmth of belonging. It’s nice they have a national anthem they can actually sing, rather than like us who have to stand and endure pop stars singing a crap song so bad that it inspires no one, not even Francis Scott Key I imagine. Like everything about this country, that part sounds fake.

      I was at a Colorado Rockies game and stood for the anthem, but did not remove my hat. Even just standing was more than I wanted to do. From several rows above appeared a man in front of me who said “Hey buddy, remove the hat.” “My head, my hat,” I said. The idea that he could power me into submission was disgusting. That is what countries are about. You and ai don’t disagree at all.

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    2. I think we are talking about the ideal rather than reality. You know, the fairy tale we were taught in school. George Washington could not tell a lie and such. Sometimes I wish I was still ignorant of the reality like most folks. They are clueless, but happy.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Depending on who is singing, there are a few moments in the SSB that move me. However I agree that America The Beautiful would be a better one.

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  2. It is in my mind just a bad song, not melodic, hard to sing, not inspiring camaraderie. I loved watching the Costa Ricans, common garb, language, culture, experiences, singing together so badly. That is what an anthem is about.

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  3. Taylor Swift appears to have been pasted into the above photograph with her alleged parents and bodyguard(?) .. Even the shading and tones on her body is slightly off in comparison to everyone else surrounding her.

    It reminds me of what we see in the photos of Monica Lewinsky with her alleged ex-fling Bill Clinton: people pasted together into pictures with tones and shading on their persons that doesn’t match with the pictures’ background environment.

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  4. Off topic, but for comparisons, I’d argue that the female comedian below did a far better job singing the Star Spangled Banner than Taylor Swift. Watch this if you want some real good ol’ fashioned entertainment:

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