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Thursday, December 01, 2005

The most pressing question of our time 

Which country has the best national anthem? Here are my candidates:

  1. La Marseillaise. This will take a lot of beating. Uplifting and bloodcurdling. It makes you want to torch a car. How do you keep losing wars with such a cool anthem (listen to the Mireille Mathieu version here).
  2. The Soviet Union anthem. Admittedly, this was not enough to win them the Cold War, but it is mightily stirring. I could imagine this warming the hearts of many a good comrade waiting in a bread line (Red Army chorus version here).
  3. Advance Australia Fair. A confident and optimistic anthem for a confident and optimistic country, who beat us at sport just too damn often (except for this year!). No mention of penal colony origins or treating Aborigines badly (MP3 version here).
  4. Il Canto degli Italiani (Italy). Trust them to have an athem that sounds like it was written by Verdi; repetition of how ready Italians are to die and that they don't like Austria very much (link here).
  5. Britain. Although I am a royalist, God Save the Queen is about as stirring as a tepid cup of tea. Therefore, I deem Britain's entry to be Land of Hope and Glory (this is the best MP3 version I could find on the web).
  6. The Star Spangled Banner. Where would baseball be with out it? (Link here).
  7. God Defend New Zealand. I'm only really putting this in because I'm such a patriot. Anyway, the Maori version is better than the insipid English one. Actually, the best one was the one they used to play in the morning when TV awoke from its slumber (remember when tv started broadcasting at 9am, and there were only two channels?). (Link here. Note to Jewish readers: the second word in the Maori version is the tetragrammaton; so you should say Ikowa...)

So, those are my nominations. Votes and suggestions for other candidates are welcome in comments.


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