Take a knee as we look to replace “The Star-Spangled Banner”
The Fourth of July ranks high on the list of the most American of holidays, being that the day features thousands of people dressing in their finest flag-themed gear and blowing shit up. As the nation looks to the bombs fireworks bursting in air, we at Alive are stopping to consider whether it’s time for a new national anthem, seeing that Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner” is both a nightmare to sing (there have only been three good performances of the anthem ever: Marvin Gaye, Whitney Houston and Jimi Hendrix) and a crass celebration of warfare. Here are some better choices.
Unranked: “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood
We’d actually be far better off not making a change than adopting this flag-colored pap.
11. “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” by Toby Keith
It’s even odds that many of the people currently decrying a lack of civility on the left have stood in a bar and drunkenly belted out Keith’s line about putting a “boot in your ass” being the American way.
10. “America the Beautiful” by Katharine Lee Bates and Samuel A. Ward
Always a popular pick when people bring up replacing our current anthem, but its idyllic presentation of the U.S.A. feels a bit quaint these days.
9. “America, Fuck Yeah” by Trey Parker and Matt Stone
We’re getting closer, but this one gets docked for feeling slightly less satirical than its creators meant, in all likelihood.
8. “Made in America” by Kanye West and Jay-Z
Who wouldn’t get behind lines such as, “I pledge allegiance, uh, to my grandma”? Besides, the pair’s distillation of the American dream trumpets a by-the-bootstraps mentality conservatives should admire. “I got my liberty/Chopping grams up.” Salute.
7. “The National Anthem” by Radiohead
At least now when people reference a song titled “The National Anthem” it will be accurate.
6. “Real American” by Rick Derringer
The video, which features pro wrestler Hulk Hogan — a man whose Peter Thiel-funded lawsuit helped bring down Gawker, one of the more courageous modern journalism enterprises — strumming an American flag-painted guitar is maybe the most-apt visual depiction of our country in this moment.
5. “Living in America” by James Brown
Or its Weird Al-approved alternate version, “Livin’ With a Hernia.”
4. “God Bless Amerika” by Lil Wayne
“My country ’tis of thee/Sweet land of kill ’em all and let ’em die/God Bless America/This ol' godless America.”
3. “This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie
And we’re talking the full song here, including the two “lost” verses.
2. “American Idiot” by Green Day
1. “The Boys Are Back in Town” by Thin Lizzy
Sure, it was written by Irishmen and has nothing at all to do with America or patriotism or really anything (save for the boys being back in town), but the song bangs, which really should be the only criterion if we’re going to continue playing the anthem daily in sports stadiums and arenas across the country.