The National Anthem at the Superbowl – “Pop” or not?
By guest blogger Mike Brown
Like a surprising number of Brits, I risked bleary eyes and a fuzzy brain today to stay up late to watch Super bowl Sunday last weekend, which whilst on at a sensible time for you guys, is on through the early hours of the night for us. Go Packers by the way!
What struck me though was Christina Aguilera’s rendition of the National Anthem. It has received quite a lot of press coverage for the fact that she made a slip with the lyrics, saying, “What so proudly we watched at the twilight’s last gleaming,” instead of, “O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming.”
Only the more astute of the viewing public in the UK would have picked up on that one. Certainly, I didn’t spot it as my recollection of the US National Anthem is similar to Frank Drebin’s from the Police Academy movies. I’m sure there were, however, many Americans who spotted it and were suitably annoyed. I can understand why. Although I don’t necessarily believe in the necessity for national anthems and have always found them somewhat oppressive and stereotyped, I realize I live in world where nations have anthems, and a percentage of the citizens of said nations enjoy the patriotism involved and will sing with hand on heart and tear in eye. It isn’t my place to criticize national anthems, and this isn’t the point of this blog.
My point is, why aren’t more people incensed by the way she sang it? Aside from getting the words wrong (which is much more forgivable, because yes she is an international pop star, but everyone fluff’s a line from time to time,) she proceeded to warble through it in her own inimitable style. I feel like she missed the point.
Surely the point should be to have a moment where the nation is united in song, where the rallying cry from the citizens of a proud nation is heard across the world.
Instead what we got was some several thousand bemused faces as she undulated and warbled her way through it. The camera panned awkwardly over the players, teary eyed at the thought of playing in front of a colossal crowd as well as world-wide TV audience, as they attempted to mumble along with the noise. I’m sure the crowd was the same, though the camera was more forgiving to them.
Nobody was able to sing along because of the undulations of her voice, which whilst undeniably are a talent, they are completely missing the point. It isn’t, “everyone look at how good I am?” it’s supposed to be, “everyone is amazing, let’s all sing about it together.”
In spite of my own feelings about my own national anthem (possibly one of the most hideously boring pieces of music ever written,) I still wouldn’t want Simon Cowell to give it an up to date make over and have a group of teenagers sing it whilst doing back flips at the world cup final. I wouldn’t want a group of proud athletes brandishing their gold medals at the upcoming London Olympics while the Black Eyed Peas rapped through it to a background of strobe lighting and sparkling jackets.
Give me a large, unknown suited gentleman, or an equally unknown lady in an evening dress with a microphone to carry a nation through the anthem in the spirit in which it was written, and keep the celebrities in their own arena.
Rant over 😉