Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Monday, January 10, 2011 :::

Since it's been a slow news week, I'm going to blog about the national anthem as led before sporting events.

My reaction to one of these performances is usually to suggest that there be a licensing system in place for national anthem leaders, and that the singer(s) in question have his/her/their license revoked. James Taylor (and, arguably, Rosanne Barr) should be stripped of citizenship.

The usual problem is that professional singers are naturally inclined to "make the song their own", which means they embellish the song. Even if these embellishments were improvements - they never are - the singers aren't supposed to be making it their song, they are supposed to be singing our song, ideally in such a way that others can sing along. Two performances before college football games last week stood out to me: that of Darius Rucker, and that of Little Big Town.

Darius Rucker was known ten years ago as the lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, then took some time off; in the last few years, he has resumed singing under his own name. Hootie showed up on pop stations, and I think his recent songs have been mostly on country stations; none of his songs that I know would be out of place in either genre. He made a serious attempt to lead the anthem but missed quite a few notes. Unless each of his songs on the radio is the result of fifteen takes and heavy splicing, he is better than that performance. I would not revoke his license immediately, but he's on probation.

Little Big Town is a country group that makes heavy use of vocal harmony. This isn't entirely unheard of in country music — I've heard quite a bit of country music over the last couple of years, and I wouldn't say I've quite become a fan, but I appreciate the contrast with most pop singers, who think "polyphony" is what they do with their groupies after the concert — but Little Big Town is on the high end even within the genre. Their rendition of the national anthem did have their usual harmonies - maybe they're a little bit guilty of making the song their own - but it was very well done and it was still our song. If I'm to complain about anything, it's that the performance was too good to sing over, but it certainly wasn't rhythmically difficult to sing along with it. Little Big Town gets a license.

::: posted by Steven at 12:52 PM

Comments: Post a Comment

Comment Policy

Dollars and Jens
Steven's web-site

Kitchen Cabinet
Colby Cosh
The Volokh Conspiracy
The Corner
The Bleat from James Lileks
Tim Blair
Daily Ablution
Mickey Kaus
Dave Barry
How Appealing
Virginia Postrel
Reason's "Hit and Run"
Captain's Quarters
Roger L. Simon
Power Line
IWF's InkWell
Blogs for Bush
Chetly Zarko
Signifying Nothing
Cosmo Macero
Hub Blog
Ex Parte from Harvard Law's Federalists
Harvard CR blog
Priorities & Frivolities
Daley News
Emil Levitin
Politica Obscura
Wave Maker
Town Watch
Worcester County Repubs

Election '08
Don't Vote
Dave Barry
John McCain

Other Sites of Note
Townhall columnists Cambridge Republican City Committee
Cambridge Chronicle
Robert Winters
Boston Herald
Boston Globe
Boston Metro
Channel 5
Commonwealth Mag
Fox News
Massachusetts Republican Assembly
Robert Benchley Society

U.S. Constitution
9/11 commission report [7 Meg PDF]
Iraq Survey Group report
Fahrenheight 9/11 deceits


Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

Powered by Blogger