"Rule Britannia/Britannia rules the waaaaaaves/Britons never, never, never shall be slaaaaaves!" Even if it isn't technically the national anthem, it's lively, stirring, and patriotic to wake up to in the morning.
Additional heights of awesome are reached when Jeremiah Clarke's "Prince of Denmark's March" is overlaid onto it, as was the case with the now-defunct BBC Radio 4 Theme.
The actual anthem for Britain, "God Save the Queen" is awesome on its own, as is England's, "Land of Hope and Glory".
"Jerusalem", used by some English sporting teams, was composed by Hubert Parry and orchestrated by Edward Elgar. It was adapted from William Blake's poetry during World War I and the King himself said he preferred it! To demonstrate how good it is, here it is being sung by 5 000 people.
The tune of "God Save the Queen" was used as the national anthem of a number of countries, including Liechtenstein and (formerly) Switzerland. It was also, in the form of "Heil dir im Siegerskranz" the Royal Anthem of the Kingdom of Prussia.
Just the two or so lines that John Lennon sings in Help! is enough to get it lodged in your head. Amazingly catchy national song.
"Zadok the Priest", the music that is played - live - in Westminster Abbey when a new British monarch is anointed as ruler. Perhaps Handel's most epic piece of music. It was first played at the coronation of King George II in 1727.note The Bible verses which it sets to music, meanwhile, had been read at every coronation since that of King Edgar the Peaceable in 973. It is said that the new king paused and closed his eyes for a moment as it played. Considering he was the last British monarch to actually lead the army in the field, its awesomeness clearly rubbed off on him.
Tragically, the actual Australian anthem, "Advance Australia Fair" is probably one of the most boring, uninspiring anthems around. But sung by Adam Hills and set to the tune of "Working Class Man" by Jimmy Barnes? Very awesome.
"Waltzing Matilda" is often referred to as the the unofficial national anthem of Australia and with good reason.
Canada may not be the first country that comes to mind when it comes to kick-ass music, but its national anthem can be quite majestic.
"Das Deutschlandlied", out of all currently used national anthems, though the original form of "Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser" is better. It is also the only national anthem with a tune by a composer of the first rank, Joseph Haydn.
Which is a bit funny, as Haydn was an Austrian who spent most of his life working for Hungarians...
Sung a cappella by a choir can make your spine tingle. Something spine-tingling about it without backing. When you take into account the lyrics - the anxiety of not knowing if your country and your fellow men have survived through the night, and then that sight of seeing your flag rising higher and flying and realizing that yes, everything is alright... it's pretty chilling stuff.
That tune has had no less than 4 sets of official lyricsnote most of which, regrettably, had all the poetry of the section on tractor production from the last Five-Year Plan, making it a rare case where not understanding the language actually added to the experience. The fact that the tune remained unchanged each time attests to its awesomeness:
It was the Bolshevik Party anthem in the 1930s.
Stalin adopted it as the official Soviet National Anthem in 1944, with lyrics praising him.
Breznev did away with all references to Stalin, and all references to World War II, in 1977.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian Federation got rid of the anthem altogether, but public sentiment pressured Vladimir Putin to reinstate it (with a completely Communism-free set of lyrics) in 2000.
Really, just about anything sung by the Red Army Choir qualifies as awesome. Even "Volga Boatman" — especially at 1:57 when the full choir comes in, or the roaring climax at 2:39. Absolutely spine-tingling.
Dyed in the wool Yankees can find "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" totally awesome. (There's a reason that "The Song That Gets On Everybody's Nerves" is set to the same tune...)
The Republic of Georgia can be proud to have as its national anthem "Tavisupleba" ("Freedom"), a short, sweet, and proudly Georgian anthem whose melody is based on classical opera tunes.
The Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic had a national anthem written by Aram Khachaturian that far outclasses the present-day Armenian anthem. Probably because it was written by frickin' Aram Khachaturian.
Remember in Casablanca when the Germans got "Die Wacht am Rhein" drowned out by the French? Here it is, in the original version from the time of the Kaiser, a song too good to have been a Third Reich anthem.
Latin American anthems are very distinctive and operatic, to the point that nationalanthems.info had put them into a distinct category of national anthems called the Latin American Epic Anthems. And many of them truly deserve the word epic. They are usually identified as having a quick patriotic section of music, plus a slower stately part.
The Swedish National Anthem "Du gamla Du fria" is worthy to join the ranks of the above. For it's the simple fact that unlike most other anthems mentioned here, the Swedish one focuses on the beauty of Scandinavia as a country and place to live, and not the superiority of any nationality, nor how the people of Scandinavia should prepare for war. The only part of the song that could be considered patriotic is when the lyrics focus on "Jag vill leva, jag vill dö i Norden!".
While it isn't precisely a national anthem, it's an anthem nonetheless: "The Internationale", the international anthem of the socialist movement. The music is stirring no matter what language is in (and since there are socialists everywhere, it's been in pretty much every language), but the best versions are in the original French and in Russian (it was the national anthem of the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1948). English versions are less awesome, as it is rather difficult to translate.
"So, comrades, come rally, for this is the time and plaaace..."
Egypt's anthem, "Bilady, Bilady, Bilady" is not epic in the usual sense: it was written by one of the leaders of the Egyptian folk-music scene, Sayyid Darwish. For those playing along at home, it's as though Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" was the US anthem (the title even translates to "My Country, My Country, My Country," which given the vagaries of Arabic could also mean, "My Land..."). Sung as a folk song, it's actually pretty cool; as an instrumental, it sounds like a fairly normal anthem, if a well-executed one.
Poland's anthem's title translates to "Poland Has Not Yet Perished". It was first written by the Polish soldiers of Bonaparte's armies during their campaigns, after Napoleon promised that he would restore them their Polish homeland, which had been partitioned by Austria, Prussia, and Russia. It rose to the fore in 1945, when Artur Rubinstein, a Polish pianist invited to play at the opening of the UN, seeing no Polish delegation and no Polish flag, played it instead of his planned lineup, to a standing ovation.
We'll cross the Vistula and the Warta, We shall be Polish. Bonaparte has given us the example, Of how we should prevail.
March, march, Dąbrowski, To Poland from the Italian land. Under your command, We shall rejoin the nation.
The Philippine national anthem is so awesome that through the decades it's been in Spanishnote the original language the anthem was in, English and currently Filipino.
Any Turkic anthem is awesome, like Turkey's and Azerbaijan's. Then again, they also have the most awesome word in the world: Muvaffakiyetsizleştiricileştiriveremeyebileceklerimizdenmişsinizcesine (translated: "as though you are from those whom we may not be able to easily make into a maker of unsuccessful ones").
The Brazilian National Anthem is known by both its beauty and the power of its composition and lyrics. It's written in very archaic and poetical Portuguese, resulting in one hell of a piece.
The national anthem of New Zealand, sung in the modern day both in Māori and English, is easily one of the most powerful national anthems there is. There are severalabsolutelymajesticrenditions on YouTube, mostly as performed at large sporting events.
"Le chant du départ", the national anthem of the first French Empire and current regional anthem of French Guiana. Popularized by Maximilien Robespierre, it was distributed to Revolutionary France's field armies during the beginning of the French Revolutionary Wars. It's a musical tableau, supposedly with each verse sung by a different group of French (ie, soldiers, children, mothers, etc). It's quite something.