Awesome Music: National Anthem

Play "La Marseillaise". Play it.
-Victor Laszlo, Casablanca

  • The national anthem of Mexico. Perhaps it's because it oozes nationalism without the lyrics.
  • "Indonesia Raya a.k.a. Great Indonesia". A truly majestic anthem, especially when played by an orchestra.
  • "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  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.
  • The anthem of the short-lived Russian 1917 republic was awesome, because it is based on La Marseillaise: See these three great renditions. (The last one is Tear Jerker and a Dying Moment of Awesome.)
  • In the land of Everything Trying to Kill You, it has to be "I Am Australian".
    • 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.
  • The Greek National Anthem is pretty good too. Defines Greece and the people. The original one is over 100 verses long!
  • The Israeli national anthem "Hatikvah". Most national anthems sound good when sung aloud, possibly with a backing orchestra. How many sound just as awesome when sung quietly?
    • While we're on Israeli music, "Kan Noladti" has got to be the sweetest little song: "Here, you're with me as well and here are all my thousand friends. And after 2000 years, an end to my wandering!"
    • Israel's unofficial anthem, "Yerushalaim Shel Zahav", in English "Jerusalem of Gold". Best known for its treatment at the end of Schindler's List, but this performance by Ofra Haza is simply beautiful.
  • "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...
  • The East German anthem also qualifies as awesome music. It is also one of the only national anthems to acknowledge that it is peace that the world desires, and takes the time to talk about the mother that weeps over her dead son.
  • "The Star-Spangled Banner", the national anthem of the United States. Unfortunately, in modern times, it has been butchered beyond all recognition when rendered into pop form.
    • How about Jimi Hendrix's version? If that ain't Awesome Music...
    • 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.
    • Fun fact: The tune comes from the drinking song for the Anacreontic Society, an upper-crust British society carried forward into the U.S. colonies. The lyrics to the Anacreontic Song are couched in imagery from Classical Mythology, but the gist basically boils down to "I'll show you how to get laid by getting women drunk."
    • Speaking of performances of the Star-Spangled Banner, many have butchered it but there are few that are just exemplary. The first is Marvin Gaye's soulful performance at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game, backed with only a drum machine, the second being Whitney Houston's showstopper at Super Bowl XXV which became a nationwide hit single and the Dixie Chicks glorious three-piece harmony at Super Bowl XXXVII.
    • Here is a heavenly performance of The Star-Spangled Banner by the Massachusetts All-State Choir. Choir members were crying while singing.
    • This is how it was meant to be heard, sung by the choirs of the US Servce Academies. Absolutely beautiful.
  • "La Marseillaise". Just look.
  • The Soviet National anthem. Defines epic. One of the few things Russia kept after The Great Politics Mess-Up. Regarded as the best national anthem, ever.
    • That tune has had no less than 4 sets of official lyricsnote . The fact that the tune remained unchanged each time attests to its awesomeness:
    1. It was the Bolshevik Party anthem in the 1930s.
    2. Stalin adopted it as the official Soviet National Anthem in 1944, with lyrics praising him.
    3. Breznev did away with all references to Stalin, and all references to World War II, in 1977.
    4. 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.
  • 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.
    • Georgia's former anthem, "Dideba", which was used during the rather short-lived Democratic Republic of Georgia and later on after its independence from the Soviet Union is just as awesome as its present day counterpart.
  • 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.
  • The national anthem of India is incredibly inspirational. Even if you don't understand the lyrics, the whole melody is hauntingly uplifting.
  • The melody of Finland's (and Estonia's) official national anthem was allegedly stolen from a German drinking song, but "Finlandia" by Jean Sibelius? Boy oh boy.
  • Latin American anthems are very distinctive and operatic, to the point that 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!" ("I want to live, I want to die in the North/Nordic Region").
    • And even then it's not terribly patriotic as "Norden" is usually used to referee to the whole Nordic region and not just Sweden. The two later verses, added in 1910 after the song was criticized for being too vague and unpatriotic compared to (among others) Norway's, are much more patriotic but are usually not considered a part of the anthem and are therefore not often sung.
  • 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..."
  • The Scottish national songs:
    "O flower of Scotland
    When will we see your like again
    That fought and died for
    Your wee bit hill and glen
    And stood against him!"
    "If I should become a stranger
    You know that it would make me more than sad
    Caledonia's been everything I've ever had."
  • "Mawtini", the former national anthem of Palestine and the new one of Iraq.
  • The Japanese national anthem is beautiful, and one of the few national anthems based on poetry.
  • The beautiful "Swiss Psalm".
  • 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 , English and currently Filipino.
  • The WELSH national anthem, "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" ("Land of Our Fathers").
    • And a well-known patriotic song, "Men of Harlech", about the seven year long siege of Harlech Castle.
    Tongues of fire, on Idris flaring,
    News of foe-men near declaring
    To heroic deeds of daring,
    Call you Harlech men!
  • The Kenyan national anthem is one of the most exotic and majestic anthems.
  • STRONG AND PEACEFUL, WISE AND BRAVE / FIGHTING THE FIGHT FOR THE WHOLE WORLD TO SAVE... Now, take a guess what anthem that one is. It's the Oceanian one, composed for the film adaptation of 1984. Yes, it may not be a real-life anthem (and does therefore not truly belong on this page either), but is does deserve mention for being a very realistic fictional Awesome Music anthem, being based to a very high extent on old Soviet and other communist anthems.
  • Libya, Libya, Libya! What makes this song awesome is its pure jovialness in nature, a welcome change for a country liberated from 42 years of dictatorship, war from the US and NATO, and such.
  • The National Anthem of South Korea. Majestic and graceful, it's quite befitting of the country it represents. Uri nara mansae!
  • "Ey Iran", the former national anthem of Iran. "Dar rāhe to, key arzeši dārad in jāne mā? (In your cause, when do our lives have value?)"
  • Nigeria's national anthem, Arise O Compatriots. Very upbeat in nature, and one of the best African anthems, and really easy to play on a piano.
    • Also the old anthem, Nigeria we hail thee. The melody is average, but the lyrics are more Nigerian.
  • Although it's not a national anthem anymore, the Austro-Hungarian anthem is, quite simply, beautiful.
  • The Mongolian anthem. Using electric guitars. That alone makes it awesome.
  • The Sealand national anthem sounds pretty epic. Too bad you'll never be a real country.
  • Kazakhstan's new national anthem (not the one from Borat).
    • 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").
  • Syria's national anthem, Guardians of the Homeland, is simply majestic. Pity it's so short.
  • Romania's anthem, "Desteapta-te, romane!" ("Wake up, Romanians!"), is impressive. The one used during the Kingdom days, "Traiasca Regele" ("Long live the King"), isn't bad either.
  • South Africa's national anthem's lyrics and music are pretty awesome by themselves, but it gets cooler when you consider that it's basically two songs combined together, sung in five different languages.
    • Tanzania's anthem "Mungu ibariki Afrika" is basically a slightly modified Swahili version of "Nkosi sikelel iAfrika" and it's just as awesome.
    • Speaking of which, Zambia's anthem uses the same melody as the above two as well. "Zambia, praise to thee! All one, strong and free!"
  • Ok, so it's not the national anthem, but given that the state was effectively centered around him during his rule, Kim Jong-il's personal tune No Motherland Without You comes close enough.
  • Mauritania's national anthem is scary, frightening, and nightmarish. It is abrupt, and its lyrics are just as, well, awkward to a Western audience. Hearing the song, according to some people, reminds you of endless monotone marching into the deserts of the north, or, even worse, the chopping off of heads to the rhythmic beat. You can't even sing along to it, as doing so requires awesome effort, according to the freaking CIA. But it is just beautifully haunting, and is a fine piece of music, and is one of the few national anthems of a non-Western country to be traditional-sounding in its official manner. Counts as Ear Worm as well. For the more elegant version, go here, and for the more traditional one, go here Your mind will be hooked.
  • 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 several absolutely majestic renditions 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.
  • "Mila Rodino", Bulgaria's national anthem. One of the most Ruritanian-sounding songs around, it contains the epic imagery of Bulgaria's mountains.
  • "Lofsöngur", Iceland's national anthem. It's considered hard to sing because of a sudden increase in volume, but it also makes it more epic.
  • "L-Innu Malti", Malta's national anthem. Its epic music and lyrics referring to pray to God protecting the country. If the music is played in a really lower key of F major, it will sound more angelic. This video of the national anthem and the flag will show you that the sun is shining on the flag.
  • The peaceful "Druk tesendhen", Bhutan's anthem.
  • The national anthem of Ireland, "The Soldier's Song"/"Amhrán na bhFiann", is a very stirring and powerful piece of music, and sounds equally kick-ass whether it's sung in Irish or in English. The most awesome part is the Badass Boast at the very end: "Mid cannon's roar and rifle's peal.../We'll sing a soldier's song!"
  • The national anthem of China, known as the "March of the Volunteers", makes you wanna kick enemy ass and smash their stuff.
  • The national anthem of Spain may have no lyrics, but that doesn't mean it's bad.
  • Sayaun Thunga Phool Ka, the national anthem of Nepal, is beautiful and simple.
  • Singapore's "Majulah Singapura" ("Onward, Singapore") is very stirring and inspirational, especially the chorus. However, most Singaporeans today do not speak Malay, and thus don't really understand the meaning of the anthem. Nevertheless, it's only a minor flaw, and not the point of this page.
  • Most of the anthems with an unusual modality. The minor scale (e.g. Turkey, Bulgaria, etc.) is grandiose and majestic, the pentatonic scale (e.g. Bhutan, Kenya, etc.) has a feeling of tradition, and the two anthems left are Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, both awesome in their own, almost indescribable way.
  • Oj svijetla majska zoro, the Montenegrin anthem, is based on a music piece in a patriotic play. It also uses unusual time signitures of 6/4 and 8/4, and is so popular it existed as a folk song for 136 years.
  • Puerto Rico's national anthem, "La Borinqueña", has a moment of (possibly unintentional) Fridge Brilliance with the lyric "When at her beaches Columbus arrived/full of awe he exclaimed/Oh! Oh! Oh! This is the lovely land/that I seek." Although it may appear to be Artistic License – History since Columbus was looking for India, not Puerto Rico, he thought he was in India when he landed and thus may have actually exclaimed something to that effect.
  • The national anthem of the Netherlands is a real winner. "Wilhelmus van Nassouwe! Ben ick van Duytschen bloet!"
  • The national anthem of Portugal, "A Portuguesa" (whose title is not mentioned, only implied, like in the case of "La Marsellaise"), which is about "raising once again today, / The splendor of Portugal". Bonus points if it's played at a rugby match or a football/soccer match.
  • The Chant of the Italians is so bouncy a melody that it wouldn't sound out of place in a fairground.
  • Corsica's national anthem, "Dio vi salvi Regina", is both Darker and Edgier and a Tear Jerker due to its lyrics and the way it was sung (Warning: Due to this fact, this video will make you sad, if you watch this video, try not to cry).
  • For a small island nation, the people of Tonga can boast a pretty darn epic anthem. Bonus points if it's being played before a rugby match.