Trouble Busting

February 9th, 2011

There appears to be some kind of “controversy” over how Christina Aguilera sang the National Anthem at the Superbowl.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that one thing our great country has always stood for is being there for the underdog in times of trouble (usually. Sometimes we are a little late).

That is why I am here now to defend Christina.

The Star Spangled Banner is one the hardest songs in the world to sing (besides Happy Birthday). I can back up this statement with the following fact:

Not only are the words in The Star Spangled Banner confusing (what is a rampart, anyway?) and old-timey, but it is a song that requires a vocal range most people, except dogs, Christina Aguilera, and possibly Mariah Carey, do not possess.

This is why when you were a little kid and you were auditioning for a part in the touring production of the Broadway musical of Annie, they made you stand up on stage and sing The Star Spangled Banner.

Wait. Are you telling me you didn’t audition for the touring production of the Broadway musical of Annie when you were a kid?

Well, I did. And I can tell you, they made you sing The Star Spangled Banner to see if you could hit that high note mentioning the rockets red glare without dropping an octave, because so few people can (they also made me sing Happy Birthday, in chest voice, which is impossible for most people except Lea Michele and that lady from Wicked, because it contains the same note).

(No, I did not get the part, because I could not hit that note, which Christina hit with such ease in front of so many millions of people.)

Look, my grandfather got a purple heart in World War II fighting against the Nazis (he served under General Eisenhower and was shot in France). Though I have not been shot for it (yet), I love this country and consider myself a patriot.

But because no one but a professional can sing it well, much less remember the lines, I think it might be time to consider choosing a national anthem that all of us — not just professionals — can sing without fear of messing up because it’s just too hard.

We had a lively discussion about this on Twitter, and everyone had some thought-provoking suggestions for an alternative national anthem.

My husband was in favor of The Gambler by Kenny Rogers:

You got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealing’s done

He also strongly argued for Horse With No Name by the band America:

I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain

I have no comment except to say that I happen to know for a fact when we went for a trail ride in the Tucson desert with his younger brothers on Valentine’s Day once, his horse did indeed have a name, and it was Pancho.

My favorite suggestion — because everyone knows it and it would be very rousing to sing at sporting events — was the theme song to the famous 80s movie Ghostbusters.

It would be quite simple to change the words to this song so it is about our country, as I have done here:

If there’s something strange
in your neighborhood
Who ya gonna call?

AMERICA

If there’s something weird
and it don’t look good
Who ya gonna call?

AMERICA

If ya all alone
Best pick up the phone
and call

AMERICA

Lemme tell ya something
AMERICA
makes me feel good!

Don’t get caught alone no no
Call
AMERICA

When it comes through your door
Unless you just want some more
I think you better call
AMERICA

Who ya gonna call?
AMERICA

I think you better call
AMERICA

I can’t hear you…
Who ya gonna call?
AMERICA

Louder now:
AMERICA!

Who ya gonna call?
AMERICA!

However, there are some troublesome verses about a “freaky ghost baby” that even I just can’t fix.

So I feel perhaps a more traditional selection might be in order.

A million of you, including Whoopi Goldberg on The View this morning, said it. It’s obvious:

America the Beautiful (here is Beyonce singing it at Barack Obama’s inauguration).

Why isn’t America the Beautiful our national anthem? It is a beautiful song with lovely words–not about war (or ghostbusting), but about how pretty our country is, and how we are all brothers (and sisters), and shouldn’t pick on one another.

As an added plus, everyone knows this song, and can pretty easily hit all the notes, because it is in one octave, as opposed to an octave and a half, like The Star Spangled Banner.

So, I think we’ve solved the problem. Well, that problem, anyway.

But honestly, we can only solve one problem at a time. So let’s pat ourselves on the back and move on. Yay!

More later.

Much love,

Meg