The official top seven.
- Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit - Germany. This is the best cos it's nice, int'it? *
- La Marseillaise - France. This one fits best the country's national stereotype. There's something about letting impure blood water your furrows that can only be French. Maybe it makes the garlic grow better or something.
- Advance Australia Fair - I won't insult your intelligence. Some Aussies don't like this. They say it's too dull. But believe me, guys. You were right to choose it over GSTQ, which is simply the worst dirge ever written.
- O Canada - best used to make ironic statements about the United States. **
- Fratelli d'Italia - aside from an introduction that sounds like a fairground ride's music, this is absolutely brilliant. You just can't help but love it.
- Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau - inspiring and beautiful. This is why the Welsh often beat us at rugby. ***
- Het Wilhelmus - possibly the only anthem to be written in the first person. The reference to the king of Spain is admittedly odd, but this does sound wonderful, although I totally understand that it is slow and reverent and suffers from the two problems I always attack GSTQ for, being, a praising of God and a monarchical sentiment. Also, ik hou van hoe de Nederlanders spreuk woorden. (Sorry. Google translate.)
*Some stupid people think it's Deutschland über alles, which hasn't been true since Hitler and is totally at odds with modern German liberalism. They're not crazy militarists, you idiotic British racists.
** How many Americans know that their anthem's tune comes from an old English drinking song called To Anacreon In Heaven? The song was commonly used as a sobriety test: if you could sing a stanza of the notoriously difficult melody and stay on key, you were sober enough for another round. Haha. I'd buy a drink for anyone who could recite Francis Scott Key's lyrics after a couple, though.
*** Except this year!!! Yay for England. Boo for the Grand Slam fail. :(
- Auferstanden aus Ruinen. So yeah, this isn't an anthem anymore, and yeah, it was kinda the anthem of a repressive totalitarian regime... but come on. It's lovely. It's sweet and fluffy, like clouds and sheep in springtime and hummingbirds and pillows and the Stasi.
- The Internationale and The Land. Two anthems here, each not to a nation, but rather to political ideologies, socialism and liberalism ( the latter is more specifically for land value taxation, but let's not overcomplicate things). Regardless of your political inclinations (I sit uneasily between both these camps) these songs are magnificent anthems for what they claim to represent.
- Jerusalem. So this isn't actually the anthem of anywhere, but it should be. The only important patriotic song which actually mentions England, a progressive anthem to unity and a theologically and politically radical song (no, it isn't a hymn and the mentions of Jesus are deliberately ambiguous and ultimately negative) which is nicely complex and affords many potential interpretations, this is the only possible anthem for England.
I hope you enjoyed that. Procrastination over.