Star Mangled Banner

They haven’t even kicked off yet and I’m disgusted. No, not that my team isn’t playing today – I got over that weeks ago. But that yet again, the person given the honor of singing our National Anthem at the Super Bowl, chose to honor herself and punish the rest of us.

It started out great, with John Legend playing piano and singing “America The Beautiful”. John’s performance was clean, tasty and respectful of both the song and the audience. Bravo! You made a new fan. The best version for my money since Brother Ray Charles nailed this for all time back in 1972.

But then the big star chosen for the “The Star Spangled Banner” steps up and throws out a testament to herself: an overblown, drawn out, American Idol “make it your own” version that tortured pitch and tempo like a warped 45.

Listen lady, “The Star Spangled Banner” is a story of American survival during the War of 1812. The British Royal Navy bombed Fort McHenry all night, but when the dust settled and the sun rose, the Americans had raised the flag to show their countrymen they had withstood the barrage and were still in the fight. The song is a testament to every American who’s fought for this country, and a symbol that American democracy could take what the world dished out and survive.

So when you step up to the mic, you’re there to remind us of the commitment and sacrifice it took to hold this country together. It is not the time for a vainglorious display of your ability to hold a note beyond reason.

Display your musicianship, not your ego. Pick one tempo and sing the song in time, straight through. Sure, you can interpret the song in your way. But no starting and stopping, slowing down and speeding up, and don’t fuck with the lyrics; pronounce them so we can hear the story.

I hate you right now, and so does every musician in the country.

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