Monday, February 07, 2011

A Sign The Apocalypse Is Upon Us

"Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?" ~ Francis Scott Key

I daresay, one could simply read the lyrics of "The Star Spangled Banner" with more patriotic fervor and love of our country than was demonstrated by it's butchering by Christina Aquilera at last night's Super Bowl. Watch (if you can stomach it):

Horrible, and on Reagan's 100th birthday, too!

I'm not talking about just screwing up the lyrics, either. Many much more talented people have done that and still managed to make it sound respectful.

I couldn't even listen to the whole thing. I had to turn off the volume.

Perhaps I'm an old fuddy-duddy, but I don't understand why these modern pop singers seem to have to meander aimlessly around the scale on every note that comes out of their mouths when they "sing".

I have a theory: All of these pop singers who sing as though they are searching for the right note must be doing it because they know they can't carry a tune in a bucket, and are trying to fool real music lovers into thinking they have singing talent.

They don't convince me. In fact, as I see it, they are proving exactly opposite.

This version, although not sung exactly correctly, was so much better:

Perhaps it was because this was the first Super Bowl performance following 9/11 that this version resonated so strongly with Americans, or maybe her love of our country showed through in her rendition.

I don't know, but I'd take just about any version over Christina's.

Except Roseanne's.

By the way, have you ever heard the other verses? Read these:

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Perhaps Ms. Aquilera should familiarize herself with the remaining verses before attempting to sing it again. Perhaps then she would realize what the song means to real Americans.


Always On Watch said...

I guess that I'm an old fuddy-duddy, too.

I detest that wandering style of singing.

In my view, our National Anthem deserves more dignity than sounding like some kind of pop tune.

Fredd said...

I'm with the fuddy duddy above. Just belt it out straight, like Francis Scott Key wrote it.

Mark, I think you are being kinda hard on the bimbo. To expect more of her is unrealistic: she's a high school dropout who has relied on her voice and her looks for everything she's ever gotten in life. She has never put any effort whatsoever into anything that didn't involve her looks or her voice, ever. People like her don't bother. Accordingly, the history of the country or any of its cultural nuances are completely beyond her comprehension. She couldn't tell you who the vice president of the U.S. is right now. You think I am kidding, and I wish I was, but I'm serious.

To expect any kind of intelligence out of Ms. Aguilera is simply asking too much.

Jim said...

"Just belt it out straight, like Francis Scott Key wrote it."

Sorry, Key only wrote the lyrics, not the tune.

I think Aguilera has a terrific voice. However, I agree. Sing it straight. You're not on American Idol.

Lone Ranger said...

Let's look at the bright side. At least she didn't grab her crotch at the end like Roseanne did.

Trader Rick said...

I think people are being WAY too harsh on her. I do think that all those mind numbing runs just shriek "Look what I can do!" and diminish the feeling of the lyrics--but that is a very popular style of singing nowadays. As for her flubbing the lines, instead of chastising her, people should feel empathy for her. It's the biggest live stage in the world and she messed up. She didn't do it on purpose.

I have always liked Whitney's version--it's always been a favorite of many people...And it is FAR from a traditional rendering.

Trader Rick said...

And BTW Mark, she spells her name with a "g"...

Mark said...

Rick, I agree with you. And, I said, many much more talented singers have flubbed the lyrics. I am referring mostly to the horrendous "style" that so many of today's pop singers have adopted.

I grew up in a musical family. I have two siblings that have college degrees in music, one has a Masters, and teaches music at Eastern University in Pennsylvania. The other was a high school music teacher before she retired, and twice sang opera with the great Sam Ramey of Metropolitan Opera fame. Another of my siblings is a member of the city Chorale where he lives. You have to pass auditions to get in. I myself have had music education.

Christina makes mistakes in her singing that would make an elementary school music teacher cringe. The first thing she does in that rendition that makes me want to hurl is in the first line, where she takes a breath between "you" and "see".

You don't do that. Every music teacher will tell you never take a breath in the middle of a phrase. Take your breaths at the end of the phrase.

She's simply a bad singer with no obvious music training at all.

Mark said...

And, she should have never been allowed to butcher that song the way she did. Surely the producers of the Super Bowl entertainment attended the rehearsals and knew in advance what she was going to do to the song. I fault them, too.

Bill said...

Here, this is how it's supposed to be:

Trader Rick said...

Mark, I don't think Christina needs to Audition; I wonder if there even WAS a rehearsal?? And even if there was, what are the producers supposed to do? "Uh, Miss Ag, that was pretty zooked up. Can't you just sing it the way it would be sung in church?--hey, Mac, is it too late to get somebody else? She's singing the anthem like it was a cut on one of her albums!!"

If you don't want it rapped, don't book a rapper, I always say.

But then again, I always want more cowbell in my music, so what do I know?

Barry O said...

Come on now, no one in our beloved 57 states can actually remember all those words.

Marshall Art said...


Your offering was terrific! I also like the version done by the Cactus Cuties, five little girls who knock it out of the park as well.

I attended a few conventions for a network marketing company with which I was once associated. They kicked them off with the same dude doing the anthem, all the verses, and it was extremely powerful. A barrel-chested black man with a rich baritone voice. Absolutely stunning and powerful. I wish I knew the guy's name.

I, too, can do without the type of singing to which Mark refers. I believe the term is "melisma", where one sings several notes for one syllable. I think it's incredible showboating for the most part. It has its place, but done all the time makes every song an epic, and not every song deserves it or is enhanced by it. Those who do this for every song seem to think they're topping themselves, it seems, but really are boring the hell out of me. Not everyone can do it, but few do it tastefully.

I also hate it on Christmas carols.