As a patriotic American, I regularly hear two songs that I despise. My dislike for the two songs come from similar reasons. Allow me to explain:
1. “Happy Birthday”
The melody of this song is sung around the world hundreds of times a day, and I’m sure that everybody and their grandmothers know how to sing it. Have you ever wondered why it’s not used in movies or TV shows?
It’s because it’s been copyrighted by Warner Bros (or at least, it was until January 2017), and that is unapologetically American.
How many times have you had trouble singing it? If you’re like most people, the answer is: almost every time. If a girl starts the song, it’s uncomfortable for guys to sing, and vice versa. I’ve discovered that there’s only one key that’s comfortable for guys and girls (if you must know, it’s Eb, which means that the starting pitch is a Bb).
The most notably difficult part of the song is on the third “happy BIRthday,” in which you have to make a leap of an octave. Not only is that difficult to sing accurately, it’s also quite unbecoming.
I would very much like if we could adopt a new song to sing for people on their birthdays. Here’s one that I like:
2. “The Star Spangled Banner”
A national anthem is a song that “evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, and struggles of its people.” (Wikipedia) If that’s true, then what good is a national anthem that can’t be sung by a majority of people?
Our beloved anthem suffers from many of the same problems as the aforementioned “Happy Birthday,” only to a much greater extent: it’s notably difficult to sing for the untrained musician; and the range of the melody is an octave and a half (two octaves, if you’re fancy).
On top of this, the lyrics are impossible to memorize and don’t work well with the melody. And it just SUCKS. It’s not fun or pleasant to listen to, and nobody can even sing it.
We should take notes from the Russian national anthem (which is probably my favorite one):
Below is a history and opinion piece of our anthem, expressed more coherently than my own thoughts here:
Do you agree? Disagree? Would you add any other songs to this list? Let me know!