It’s fun to compare national anthems. Unfortunately, “Oh Canada” doesn’t come close in melodic inventiveness or historical relevance. After all, Canadian history is relatively short of momentous events (my apologies to the Metis and the Riel Rebellion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North-West_Rebellion).
So, here is one Youtube evaluation of the best national anthems: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuhKE1XkGK8.
#10 – Japan. I’m not sure the melody is worthy of appreciation. However, it has the advantage of being short. “Kimigayo” also has a ton of ambiguity with respect to Japan’s historical militancy.
#9 – France, “La Marseillaise”. Are you kidding me? It’s one of the most blood thirsty, nationalistic, heart appealing of all national anthems. Plus, great tune! It deserves a much higher rating. However, take away points for being way too long.
#8 – Spain “Marcha Real”. What? A tune that could be song by kids on the playground?l Not even close to being important.
#7 – United Kingdom “God Save the Queen / King”. Whoa. You think this is a better tune than “Marcha Real”? No way. This anthem has its origins in a drinking song. As much as I love our Canadian constitutional monarchy, I recognize “God Save the Queen” as an especially wimpy effort.
#6 – “Oh Canada”. Thank you so much, but you are out of your mind. Yes, “True North Strong and Free” is inspiring, but the tune is so simplistic. I’ll keep singing it with pride, but compared to other countries, “Oh Canada” is too simplistic and pastoral. (Wait, that might be a good thing!)
#5 – United States, “Star Spangled Banner”. I’m going to get in trouble for these comments, but what kind of anthem stirs patriotic pride when most citizens can’t actually sing it? Interesting tune, but totally inappropriate. “America the Beautiful” would be a far better choice.
#4 – “Advance Australia Fair” Did you know that there was a referendum to replace this dud with “Waltzing Matilda”? All credibility lost.
#3 – “State Anthem of the Russian National Federation”. When there was a USSR, this anthem played during international hockey tournaments spread fear among all concerned Canadians. What a great tune! We had no idea what the words meant, but assumed it had something to do with the unstoppable goal tending skills of Vladislav Tretiak. Sorry to get so personal, but hearing this anthem will always stir a fundamental anxiety.
#2 – South Africa – “Nkosi Sekelil iAfrica”. Totally not fair. Of course this anthem has been one of the most important international political statements of the 20th century. I won’t say anything about it’s melodic simplicity.
#1 – New Zealand “God Defend New Zealand”. Alright – it’s very cool that they start with Maori lyrics. It would be a great idea if the Canadian anthem used some indigenous words – unfortunately it would be awkward to pick from the thirty or more languages still in use by our First Nations (although I think Plains Cree has a good claim for superiority). But the tune? Typical boring English Imperialistic pablum!