09 Jun Oh Say Can You Sing?

The Best National Anthems You Haven't Heard Though you may not agree with the politics behind the flag, it’s generally accepted that the United States of America has an excellent national anthem. Originally written by Francis Scott Key as a poem expressing his feelings during the War of 1812, the poignant words were later paired with the music of “Anacreon in Heaven”, a gentleman’s club song from London. The most common places to hear the tune are sports matches, the Olympics, and memorial services, and it’s safe to say that even if you don’t know all the words you can hum a few stanzas. Britain’s “God Save the Queen” and Canada’s “Oh, Canada” are similarly recognizable, and the Francophiles amongst us will certainly know France’s “La Marseillaise”. However, there are 196 countries in the world, all with songs to honor their land. In addition, if we work off the definition of nation as “a large aggregate of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory”, there are even more anthems to consider. It can all get a bit overwhelming, but never fear! Here are 5 of the best national anthems you’ve probably never heard. Qatar – “Peace Be to the Emir” [embed]https://youtu.be/_Ub4frgwRTw[/embed] “Al-Salam Al-Amiri” is a baby as far as national anthems go, only instated in 1996 when the current Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani ascended to the seat of power. The song opens with a great thrill of strings...

Read More

22 May Hit or Miss: North American songs that failed to chart in the US, and their successes abroad

With the advent of the Internet and streaming services such as YouTube and Spotify, music has become more readily accessible, in terms of both delivery platform and price. In turn, this has allowed for greater exposure for musical groups, both foreign and domestic, as users share music with each other effortlessly after a few simple clicks. Streaming services have had such a major impact on popular music that Billboard Magazine, which produces internationally recognized record charts each week, tweaked its algorithms to include on-demand streaming of individual songs to calculate its charts. Before the addition of streaming music plays, Billboard’s charts, along with most other international record charts, were constructed according to record sales (physical, and later digital). Radio was the most ubiquitous form of advertising and marketing musical groups, and the lack of open, easy, and inexpensive communication across the world created musical markets that were distinct from one another: what you heard in London would differ from what you heard in Berlin (and further still, it could differ between East and West Berlin). Of course, there were still international sensations (see the British Invasion), but on the whole, becoming a global hit was a more difficult achievement; artists were more likely to have regional success, simply by proximity. North-American artists would be more likely to sell well in North America, but there’s no guarantee for success in, say, the European markets. But what about artists that had little-to-no success within their...

Read More