Preemptive Anthem Rant

Normally I restrict myself to ranting about stuff that has already happened. To my mind this is logical and makes sense and allows me the illusion of being justifiably irritated enough to complain, as opposed to just being a cranky, cantankerous sourpuss. Opinion here may vary of course, and you’re fully entitled to yours as much as I am to mine.

That said, today I want to go the fuck off about douchebag “artitsts” who manage to be honored with the task of singing our National Anthem and then proceed to butcher it live, before tens of millions of their fellow Americans. Oh, and no prejudice here – I’m sure all my non-US followers can lodge similar complaints here, so bear with me. I care about this shit enough to provide this link for your education.

The news that triggered this rant was the announcement that Kelly Clarkson will attempt the National Anthem at the upcoming Super Bowl. I have to say here to her – no pressure or anything here honey lips, but please don’t fuck it up like the many who have come before you. For the love of roly-poly kittens, do not. Fuck. That. Up. A related article was about 500 words of shit that essentially excused the string of recent “artists” who have managed to jack up the very last song they ever, ever ought to.

Specifically named were Christina Aguilera, Steven Tyler, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Bolton (Bieber: he is your future) and of course Roseanne Barr were specifically listed. Oddly, so was Carl Lewis, though I can’t fathom why he felt compelled to bust out of listening to it on the medal podium and over to wrecking it behind a microphone.

Several ‘experts’ on performing and singing defended them, stating the technical difficulty of the song, the range, and other horseshit about how a capella renditions provide no cues. Right. And these are people who claim to sing professionally, meaning they’re moderately familiar with learning new songs and then performing them. Nerves? Right – you can perform your own shit for hours in front of stadiums of people but can’t do the same for five minutes of performance prior to a fucking sports contest. Douche. Bag. I guess the National Anthem is just not important enough to practice, right? Fucking Communists.

What hacks me the deepest here is the fact that my only musical ability is hitting the ‘play’ button on some device but I know the words to the whole song in spite of the fact that I sound like a cross between Chewbacca and grizzly bear being raped when I sing it – without error – on the few occasions I have to do so annually. No voice training. No music theory class. No rehearsal. No damaging encounters with Simon.

Over the shoulder. Off the building. Through the window. Nothing but net. Get it right.

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48 Responses to “Preemptive Anthem Rant”

  1. I love the US national anthem. It screams “Hell yeah” .. and maybe I’m a freak but I love that attitude and wanna stand hand on heart and feel prouder than fuck, when I hear it . Done well, that is!

    (Same goes on here .. eurgh!)

  2. who stole my e? *sigh*

    • I fixed it for you.

      • *mwah* thank you .. I suspect it’s normal for you to feel as you do .. less so me? I dunno. I hate the fact our country is very stiff (hah typed STUFF first) upper lip and bullshit.

        My last trip the US was to TX and I was in heaven, the 2x flags flying, the fact people gave a damn about the basics/

        And the cowboys … *grins*

      • LOL!! That is sweet thank you ..And funnily, I’ve toyed with it.

        ALMOST landed a job in the heart of Texas last year but got begged to stay here.

        So did ..

        And I tell ya .. for all I don’t get grits – I got guns, pick up trucks, cowgal hats / boots, music, blue jeans and deep fried anything.. Mmm Mmmm

        I also got the people. They were just too sweet for words. From San Fran, to Vegas, to TX to LA …

        Maybe something to consider again, one never knows!

        • We’re a wacky bunch but loveable, yes. And we have cowboy boots, too. I lived in Texas and I loved it… but not for the cowboys as you have expressed… You’re welcome here in my book, Lady.

      • The cowgals maybe? *grins*
        If I do decide to emigrate can I come visit?
        *grins*

  3. Nicely put, and by that I mean every word.

  4. I thought I knew the American national anthem but what I heard Christina Aguilera singing was nothing like what I expected! I don’t know how a person can fit so many extra notes into one song!

    Ps. I like ranting too.

  5. That whole Christina Aguilera episode was embarrassing. She was doing the thing with her voice like she was trying to yodel it or some crap.

    I have faith that Kelly Clarkson is going to do alright.

  6. I have a little symphony for the Average Joe and Average Jane singing before a local event but, like you’ve said, professional singers should act professionally. They should know the melody and, holy shit, remember the lyrics.

    And when it comes to “The Star Spangled Banner”, it should be treated with respect. DO NOT “MAKE IT YOUR OWN” … it is not yours. Francis Scott Key knew what he was doing.

    Yes, it is difficult. And it should be. It’s important. No other song in the history of America contains as much character and emotion.

    That being said, I think Kelly Clarkson has a wonderful gift of musicianship and a voice that is unequaled by her peers. I, like you, hope that she does our National Anthem justice when she performs tomorrow.

  7. I’ve always thought the best performances of our national anthem were by sopranos. They can hit that high note in the “land of the free” phrase and it just gets to me every time. I know some people think “America the Beautiful” should replace the “Star Spangled Banner” as our national anthem, but I’m not one of them. The closing words ‘land of the free, home of the brave’ sums up how I feel about our country.

    One of the best super bowl performances of the national anthem was by Whitney Houston in Tampa many years ago.

  8. I’m going to take a ‘wait and see’ position on this one.

    Now, as for Madonna at half-time? She’s such a whore. I’m sure she’ll shame us Proud.

    • Actually I used to think that of Madonna, but have come to realize it was all calculated. Thus, I have to admire her crafty genius. She has constantly adapted well to her market, admittedly, though I find none of her work worth listening to personally.

      • It’s true she’s crafty, and all of her creeepy, over-spun sexuality was deliberate, 3e3market-driven self-advertising. I read years back that she has an IQ of 140 – technically, genius, or at least, gifted. But at a time when the AIDS epidemic was raging, in the 80’s, she was irresponsibly whoring it up. Plus, she’s just so…dry and hard, so un-sultry and without charisma.

        Having watched her half-time performance last night, she did look good, only tripped once in her hooker boots, and- fatal admission – I always loved “Vogue” back in my club-dancing-with-gays days.

  9. Kelly won’t screw it up…the rest are idiots.

  10. mkultra76 Says:

    And why artists insist on putting extra notes into the song is beyond me. I go to a lot of hockey games where they sing both the American and Canadian National Anthem. I’ve never once heard a singer butcher “O Canada” the way “The Star Spangled Banner” is.

  11. If you can’t sing it in a simple, straightforward manner when asked say, “No, thanks” and move on. There’s no need for embellishment or showing the world you can hit every note on the scale. The thing so many performers forget is the song is not about them.

    If you feel you cannot hit the notes properly, but are compelled to perform anyway for love of country, there’s nothing wrong with being understated and respectful. You listening, Kelly?

  12. whiteladyinthehood Says:

    I agree.

  13. It’s been messed up so many times, I think recordings are the way to go.

  14. Rich Crete Says:

    Sorry I’m late to this party. I can’t agree strongly enough with the post and the comments. Extra notes make me mental. Show enough respect for your country to sing it as it was written. We don’t have the song before these events to be entertained we have it to honor the country. Maybe that’s the core problem. Have the military bands and/or choirs perform it, not entertainers.

    Side note: I’d kind of like to smack Mr. Key for utilizing the word spangled.

  15. My solution would be to second Rich’s idea and have a military band perform it at all the events, but that’s not, like, glamourous enough, ya know? 😦

    I’m sick and tired of these female “artists” who sound like cats in heat as they butcher our National Anthem. It just ain’t patriotic.

  16. Sometimes I think the singers are just a product of the “everyone’s a winner” schooling…..and from getting too much applause whenever they sneezed….after all they are soooo cute, everyone says so. Dignity is not a big thing these days.

  17. I hate melisma (singing 2687235627 different notes on one syllable). The best singers of the 1940s and 1950s didn’t do that shit. I also don’t see the big deal of hitting the note in ‘free’, since the same exact note is hit on ‘red glare’.

  18. I blame Whitney Houston for the whole sorry mess. What she did to that lovely little Dolly Parton song was a crime against humanity, and ever since it’s been a steady downward spiral. How else to explain GLEE? Thank God for the Foos.

  19. John Erickson Says:

    Dude, if you can accurately hit the note behind the word “free” without starched underwear or a kick to the nads, then you are FAR more awesome than I thought you were. (I’m a low-range tenor, mostly baritone, and not the most vocally smooth. And that dang note requires a safety pin, inside the pocket, shoved in the thigh to get me anywhere CLOSE!)
    And if you want to go hunting, assuming she does hose things over, let me know. I got a pitchfork (technically a digging fork) that’s getting bored in the garage…… 😉 😀

  20. […] I know it’s been topical on other blogs – the US national anthem is such an difficult song to do justice to – well this is my […]

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