Nobody Sings the National Anthem Properly

Posted by Anthony Mango Sunday, September 11, 2011

Considering the date, I had a bit of a dilemma. How do I write something about September 11th and/or America that isn't patronizing and lame but also doesn't cross the line into rude and offensive? The last thing I would want to do is write some trite "remember 9/11" thing like everyone seems to do just because it's the popular thing as opposed to actually feeling something about it. On the other hand, despite how some people think otherwise, the purpose of Out on Limbs is NOT to piss you off - it's to make you think - so I wouldn't want to put something out there that would seem as if I'm making light of the attacks or that I'm insensitive to the lives that were lost. If I can't even write a post about how I'm not a fan of Elvis without people going psycho on me, I certainly can't talk about the struggling American spirit without people wrongly thinking I'm anti-USA. Eventually, a topic came to my mind that I think can work...

Why is it that nobody sings the National Anthem properly anymore?

Now, you might be able to argue that since each version of it is a cover, and you could technically do anything with YOUR cover of a song, that there’s no “proper” way to sing the National Anthem (or any song for that matter). I beg to differ, though, on the principle that with other songs, if you alter the lyrics, it’s acceptable, but if you were to change the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner, I’m sure there would be an outrage.

What bothers me is how everyone goes crazy with their rendition as if just to draw attention to themselves. The most important thing isn't that YOU are singing it, it's that you are singing the National Anthem, is it not? Otherwise, if the purpose was to get that specific singer and nothing else, then why would they always sing the National Anthem instead of just any kind of a song? I understand that if you're a singer, you want to show off your skills, but that in itself is questionable in my mind. Is it really showing off talent if you're doing those ridiculous trills and you sound like some wannabe diva that is trying too hard? Having a singer twist it all around for the sake of showing off is selfish and it removes integrity from the song because it means that they think it's more important for themselves to seem flamboyant than to present the song in its best way. You're not singing at an American Idol competition. [Sidebar: When is that fucking show going to end already?]

Some songs just are what they are, and if you do too much vibrato or screw with the tempo or anything, it just ruins it. If I want to hear Bohemian Rhapsody, I want to hear Bohemian Rhapsody, not a song that has a bunch of filler mumbling just to seem fancy. That's one of my criticisms of a lot of hip hop and rap music - that they add nonsense words and phrases into it for no reason. Can Pitbull go a full song without saying "dali"? Can someone sing the National Anthem where they just sing it as its written as opposed to throwing in a lot of pauses and trying their best to SHOUT the lyrics?

Agree or disagree? Are you a fan of all the extra stuff people throw into singing the Star Spangled Banner, or do you side with me in thinking they should stick to the formula?

The original lyrics as written by Francis Scott Key

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