Which country at the 2022 Olympics has the best national anthem? –LX
We’re running out of time before the opening ceremonies of the 2022 Winter Olympics begin. But we wanted to know: Which Winter Olympics powerhouse has the best anthem? We evaluated the instrumentals and lyrics of the anthems of the 15 most medal-winning nations at the last Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
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It goes without saying, but the rankings below are all subjective, from an American’s point of view, and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. After all, we’ve just slalomed down into a third calendar year of quarantine madness.
Really, we’re by no means qualified to do this, but here are our thoughts, straight out of the dome.
15. United States
Listen. I’m not just a hater for haters sake, okay? And I’m not saying anything that hasn’t already been said. You are, of course, allowed to like the US national anthem. You don’t need my permission.
Corn, musically, it’s a kind of roller coaster. It covers a huge vocal range, and also it is often heard performed by a solo singer with little or no accompaniment.
Some people (whitney houston was one) can nail it, fanfare or not, but other singers flex way too much. What do you mean, “ho oh ohhohohohohohmme brave ones?” Just sing “home of the brave” and let’s get it over with! Not everyone can be Whitney.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” is about a flag that lingered through a fierce battle over 200 years ago. Other hymns depict the majesty of the nation’s land and the strength of its people. Why isn’t “America the Beautiful” more of our anthem??
“Kimi Ga Yo” calls for the long reign of the Japanese emperor “until the pebbles become boulders lush with moss.” Today, however, the emperor occupies a largely ceremonial position and is not part of the Japanese government.
Knowing this story, I think “Kimi Ga Yo” Sounds Like Your Parents Are Forcing You To Give A Toast to a parent you barely know.
I’ll say something nice about this: Dutch violin phenom André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra really made it pop and wowed a crowd in the recording above.
As a stranger looking inside, I struggle unpack the whole story when it reminds me so much of church. It is certainly a source of national pride and a place where Rieu can show his talent. But it’s not, as the kids say, a bop. My apologies to the Dutch; I hope I will still be allowed to visit one day.
12. Czech Republic
The first stanza of “Kde domov můj” (English: “Where is my house”) has been the only component of the Czech national anthem since 1993, when Czechoslovakia split in two. We love to see the appreciation for nature in the room, and it’s a source of pride for Czechs.
That said, it’s opera. Works best as a poem.
“Du Gamla, Du Fria” (in English: “Thou Ancient, Thou Free”) offers many Scandinavian themes: forests, mountains, beautiful sky, fights to defend the land.
There is little to say that cannot be said about other hymns: a poem grafted onto the music. It delivers the message, but I’m not going to hum it. Verdict: not a bop.
Musically, some parts remind me of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, a solid holiday tune. Otherwise, not as remarkable as the historical dominance of Norwegian Olympians in winter sports.
If you are French or have pro-France sensitivities, please stop reading here and move on! I think Kylian Mbappé is a legend!
The Evening Standard in London called the French national anthem “bloodthirsty”. and it’s hard to disagree. The imagery in the lyrics oF “The Marseillaise” is rated M for Mature – Blood.
Did I listen to this while I had a searing headache? Yes. Did the exploding horns make the headache worse? Yes too. Do I know any French vocabulary that I didn’t learn from The Talking Heads? No.
I’ll say something nice about it: it’s good for sending a message.
I’m a little worried about the consequences for me, but I’ve given a verdict on La Marseillaise. It’s not bop.
The more commonly sung stanzas are more tame, speaking of the “rugged, storm-scarred” land and the nation’s warriors who stand ready to defend it.
Joseph Haydn composed the German national anthem in 1797, and the lyrics were added in 1841. Today only the third stanza of the hymn is used, and he urges Germans to flourish in the nation. It’s good!
Musically, the brass brings the song back to a common place. He has consistency and gets the job done before a sporting event. Not a favorite, but not bad.
“Maamme”, the unofficial Finnish anthem, is an anomaly. As a choral-only piece like in the video above, it’s brilliant. But once you hear it with the full orchestra, it starts to blend in with everything else.
Lyrically, the 2022 Winter Olympics host’s national anthem “Yìyǒngjūn Jìnxíngqǔ” (English: “March of the Volunteers”) uses an active voice. On several occasions, he urges the public to “get up” and “walk”.
In 1940, the American singer, actor and activist Paul Robeson recorded English and Mandarin covers of the anthem and sent the proceeds to benefit Chinese charities.
Oh, Canada, how you remind us of the name of your country. (It also reminds me how bitter I am about the 2010 result men’s hockey final). The listener is reminded that Canada is in the North, that it is loved and that people are on their guard.
Lyrically, a bit uninteresting. But it’s fun to hum!
4. South Korea
Some orchestral renditions of “Aegukga,” the South Korean anthem, give the same feeling of soaring as a blockbuster movie soundtrack. The people of the nation have been through a lot, and the song depicts the Korean people as resolute and steadfast to defend their nation.
A great choir can carry a national anthem far. The emphasis is on the love of the landscape. Mozart made this one, so you know it’s good.
The rhythm of the horns in “Il canto degli Italiani” (English: “Song of the Italians”) sets him apart from the rest of the pack. The video above shows the Italian men’s national football team singing the anthem during a game and you can see the players getting emotional.
There are a lot of death references here, which feels very 2022.
When I was a kid, we had the “Mr. Bean DVD box set”, and the choir-only version of that Reminds me a bit of that show, which I have watched too many times. Much like the intro to the BBC’s silent comedy starring Rowan Atkinson, the Swiss anthem sounds quite powerful, thanks to careful harmonies.
It’s called the “Swiss Psalm,” so its Christian-themed lyrics come as no surprise. But he mentions the Alps, and winter sports take place there, so kudos to the Swiss for staying on topic.
Honorable Mention: Jamaica
Look, we know Jamaica won’t top the overall medal standings in Beijing this year, but it’s exciting to see Jamaican four-man bobsled team back for first time in 24 years.
And this hymn! “Jamaica, land we love” builds anticipation with a drum intro, carries it all with a bass line. Plus, uplifting brass in the background and rhyming, measured lyrics. Definitely a bop!
There is camaraderie and hope for the future in the lyrics. All of this combined would help the Jamaican Anthem climb to the top spot if eligible for our highly technical ranking.