The United States should change its national anthem to ‘America the Beautiful’. Actually, it should have done that a long time ago. It’s just a better piece of music. The tune is a hymn, not a drinking song (“To Anacreon in Heaven”). The lyrics actually mention the name of the country (should be requisite for any national anthem, except ‘La Marseillaise’), and it actually says something about the country in question (What does ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ actually say about the United States as a country?). It is also quite a bit easier to sing, and uses more familiar language.

However, I know that it will never change, because people really seem to hate that sort of thing. Can you imagine if/when Puerto Rico becomes a state and we have to add another star to the flag? People will act like it’s a national tragedy on par with Pearl Harbor.

So, it seems as if we’re stuck with ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’, as flawed as it is. At least it is better than just about every state song. Do you even know what your state’s song sounds like? Did you even know your state had one? At my brother’s college graduation, they played our state song, which I had never heard before. My grandma said she had never heard it either, and she had lived in this state for over 80 years. It’s a remarkably bland piece of music with lyrics that manage to be both dull and melodramatic.

Here are the words, with comments:

Minnesota, Hail to Thee! [yawn]
Hail to Thee, our state so dear, [yawn]
Thy light shall ever be [what does that mean?]
A beacon bright and clear. [???]
Thy sons and daughters true [okay…]
Will proclaim Thee near and far. [again, not sure what that means]
They shall guard Thy fame and adore Thy name; [cheesy]
Thou shalt be their Northern Star! [at least they dropped that bit in]
Like the stream that bends to sea, [better]
Like the pine that seeks the blue; [not bad]
Minnesota, still for Thee
Thy sons are strong and true! [I can accept that]
From Thy woods and waters fair, [now we’re getting somewhere?]
From Thy prairies waving far. [maybe]
At Thy call they throng with a shout and song; [eh?]
Hailing Thee their Northern Star! [hmm…]

A lot of other states have really boring songs too. A couple exceptions are Kansas (‘Home on the Range’, good for them) and Louisiana (natch).

 

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