National anthems are an interesting phenomenon. You can come to understand a lot about a nation by studying the song they've chosen to represent them to the world. It's not a coincidence that the American anthem is a battle hymn, a story about war. And Britain hardly even has an anthem at all. I find it difficult to really count God Save the Queen, since that's also in use in other countries too - here in Norway, for one.
Some examples: The Norwegian anthem is about the country's physical appearance and about its people's struggle against superior outside forces. The Swedish anthem is about how Sweden's great and they like it a lot. :-) There's nothing about anything historical or troubles in the past - and indeed, why should there be; they had no such trouble, they only made it for others. ;-) The Danish is about physical features, again, as well as the country's ancient history. It refers to some of the old Norse gods, even. Really ancient history. :-) The French anthem is about their modern history, about ideology and politics. The Saudi Arabian one is about how Allah rocks and please will he give their king a long life. Sheesh, the poor saps. The Israeli anthem is about Zionism. As far as I understand the lyrics they seem rather whiny and irrational. Quel surprise. ;-) The Icelandic anthem is about how Iceland is the best, Iceland rules, Iceland is the best EVAR, and God loves them more than anyone. Again, not a surprise, is it. ;-) The Spanish anthem has no official lyrics, because apparently they haven't been able to agree on any. :-D I've seen a couple of versions of the lyrics and ... to be honest, they sound kind of fascist. The Dutch anthem is the oldest in the entire world. Of course. :-) It's about history from centuries ago and how it's best to be friends and get along. Aww. :-)
My favorite national anthem, out of all the ones I've heard, is of course the Norwegian one. Discount that, I am hopelessly biased. :-) My second favorite is the Russian anthem, the Hymn of the Federation. Now that is a hell of a national anthem. I dig it. :-) And since this is - hooray! - Russia Day, it seemed like a great reason to post it here on the blog. Have a listen. Oh, and if you think it sounds kinda suspicious, well, it was written for the Soviet Union in 1944. So ... yeah. It is kinda suspicious. But it sounds fantastic. :-)
2 weeks ago