I dislike the Star Spangled Banner immensely. Among other reasons, I have a serious problem with this joke of a song because my fourth grade music teacher made us sing it at the elementary school graduation ceremony for the fifth graders. What gave them the idea fifth graders deserved to be serenaded by members of a lower class? The Board of Education will be receiving a copy of this complaint letter.
Allow me to break down the specific gripes I have with the song compared to an objectively better song, 2009’s modern-classic Boom Boom Pow by America’s number one (by default) electronic-R&B-pop fusion group, The Black Eyed Peas.
Star Spangled Banner
The melody spans a baker’s dozen octaves in the first few lines. I exaggerate only slightly; try to hum the first three lines and see if you don’t have to re-adjust the key you started humming when you hit that first “by” or the “through” on line three.
This corroborates my theory the melody was created by someone who was recently dumped by a choir member and they held a grudge against all choirs.
The Star Spangled Banner’s lyrics are convoluted as fuck. They were written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, who probably had horse teeth dentures. Stanky ass. Look at this baloney:
O say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
A few notes for Mr. Key:
- “Rocket’s red glare” my ass. You mean these soup cans on a stick? You were lucky the British didn’t bring a trebuchet and pancaked your militia of paupers to kingdom come.
- I was gonna make not knowing what a rampart is but I lost interest. It’s a terrible line. It’s a wall. A rampart is a wall. You knew what you were doing. I bet you said “present” in roll call when everyone else said “here”.
- STOP. SAYING. O’ER. THERE IS NARY A BITCH WHO SAYS O’ER.
- Why were you shocked that nobody touched the flag overnight? The British were able to draw clear boundaries around work hours. They weren’t going to take the flag down at 3AM to own some star spangled dipshits.
Is it any wonder why, on multiple occasions, a singer has forgotten the lyrics? You couldn’t pay me enough to remember the line “broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight”.
Boom Boom Pow
Since Boom Boom Pow was released in 2009, it has sold six million copies in the US alone. We do not know how many copies the Star Spangled Banner has sold because the cowards at the US Department of Shitty Music are pulling a Netflix and won’t release the numbers.
It’s fun. It’s a very fun song. The beat is influenced by 80s electro music and the lyrics acknowledge how fun and funky it is. It’s littered with pitch correction artifacts and electronic clicks and buzzes, it’s like a washing machine’s fever dream. I love it. And the entire melody falls within “grunt range” where you can grunt-hum the entire melody like a caveman and still be pitch perfect. That’s the innovation I’ve come to expect from William (a.k.a Will.i.am).
If you only have space to remember four words per song, you can still get by. “Gotta get that” and “Boom” are the only words in the chorus. If you decide to go further and learn the entire song (like I have), you will be blessed with some extraordinary lyrics.
“I'm so three thousand and eight You so two thousand and late”
“Y'all stuck on super 8-shit That lo-fi's stupid 8-bit I'm on that HD flat This beat go boom boom pat”
“Here we go, here we go, satellite radio Y'all gettin' hit with the (boom boom) Beat's so big, I'm steppin' on leprechauns Shittin' on y'all with the (boom boom) Shittin' on y'all with the (boom boom) Shittin' on y'all with the…
This beat be bumpin' bumpin' This beat go boom boom”
Absolute perfection, no notes. I would've been proud to sing this at an elementary school graduation.
Francis Scott Key owned seven slaves. Will.i.am does not nor has ever owned slaves. This is an easy win for The Black Eyed Peas.
If that's not enough for you, look no further than the very titles of each song. "Star Spangled Banner" First of all it's a flag sweetie, get it right. "Boom Boom Boom" on the other hand is about fireworks on the July 4. "Gotta get that" lies betwixt each set "boom boom boom"s and references our duty as Americans to "get that" taxation with representation, a clear foreshadowing of the unjust taxation of DC residents and Puerto Ricans.
So why am I so pissed about this? A lot of people have been asking me if Boom Boom Pow copied the Star Spangled Banner and frankly I’m getting sick and tired of it. As I’ve discussed – in great detail – Boom Boom Pow is awesome sauce and the Star Spangled Banner is not le epic. It bewilders me why not-my-president Biden has not repealed and replaced the national anthem at this point. Making Boom Boom Pow the anthem is an easy, bipartisan slam-dunk that is the first real step we can take to mend the ever-widening divide in our country.