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Old 02-19-2018, 07:42 AM
WordMan WordMan is offline
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In which Fergie (Black-Eyed Peas) attempts to sing *her* amazing National Anthem - and misses.

A link to her performance of the US National Anthem at this year’s NBA All Star Game: https://deadspin.com/words-cannot-be...-al-1823122519

The history of “definitive and artistic” versions of the national anthem at sporting events has a storied history. In this case, Marvin Gaye’s version at the 1983 NBA All Star Game - which is a truly amazing, artistic reinterpretation that set the tone for NBA All Star games as a key place for singers to put “their” stamp on a version of the anthem. Link here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QRvVzaQ6i8A

So, Fergie is clearly thinking “Go Big or Go Home” .....and misses. Her version has a simple beat track (kinda Marvin-ish, but not nearly as good) for the underlying music and she goes for an “interpretive” version - lots of stretching and complex-ifying phrases and really just overselling every aspect of the song. Her technique is fine - I didn’t find myself distracted by pitchiness or anything - but man, she just misses it here. She is doing the vocalist equivalent of an actor “chewing the scenery.”

Anyone else seen it? Her performance is getting trashed on YouTube from what I can see.
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Old 02-19-2018, 07:48 AM
Lucas Jackson Lucas Jackson is offline
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Haters gonna hate. Meh, it’s not that bad.

My favorite celebrity version:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=c8BCp9WgUCE
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Old 02-19-2018, 07:55 AM
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I find the tendency to sing it so slow to be annoying all on its own. I hadn't noticed it before the Superbowl this year.

That version sounded like she was biting off more than she could handle, honestly--that she was trying to do vocal tricks she couldn't actually pull off. And it's apparently too slow for her to keep the phrasing.
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Old 02-19-2018, 08:01 AM
CairoCarol CairoCarol is offline
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Wow. That was pretty cringe-inducing. What do you mean by "not distracted by pitchiness"? I thought she sounded flat in spots, but maybe that's just me - or maybe I'm misunderstanding what you meant.

The really sad thing is that even though I thought her rendition was awful, it was about 3000 times better than what I could ever produce. (Part of me would love to be forced to perform in identical circumstances, just in order to marvel at how cosmically bad it would be.)
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Old 02-19-2018, 08:06 AM
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I seriously wish singers would stop fucking with the National Anthem. I'd rather hear Roseanne sing it again than sit through yet another twenty-notes-per-syllable rendition.
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Old 02-19-2018, 08:06 AM
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She would stretch out how she would “get into” some of the notes - it was painful to watch, but with my limited listening, it sounded in tune...just painful on its own merit (IMHO).
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Old 02-19-2018, 08:09 AM
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The thing is, maybe if it was a good piece to begin with people wouldn't feel compelled to put wildly interpreted spins on it. I give her props fro trying. Does anyone know if she made mistakes? That is, was the outcome different from what she intended?
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Old 02-19-2018, 08:13 AM
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Old 02-19-2018, 10:36 AM
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The funniest thing about the video is the intro: "acclaimed singer-songwriter" (when did she become the next Joni Mitchell?) and "8 time Grammy winner" (thus proving how useless the Grammies are). I forgot where on the internet I read this, but it's spot on: it sounds like Carol Channing's first atttempt to sing gospel music.
Really you might as well have played this attempt at the anthem.
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Old 02-19-2018, 10:53 AM
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Haters gonna hate. Meh, it’s not that bad.

My favorite celebrity version:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=c8BCp9WgUCE
Holy crap. I hate patriotism and Marc Anthony just made me feel a little patriotic.

He do good job.

I think for a performance of the National Anthem as a ceremonial celebration during a formal public event, it makes no sense to do anything that gives a hint of the performer intentionally inserting his or her own self into the thing as the thing to be watched. They should be trying to disappear (or really, give the impression of such, since this is literally impossible, but such is the paradox of performance) behind the song. That doesn't mean not interpreting it, rather, it means certain interpretations are out. "Sultry" would be really really hard to pull off under this stricture. Lookin' at you Ferg.
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Old 02-19-2018, 10:54 AM
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People are there to watch the game. Sing the song if you must, but just get it over with and sit down.
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Old 02-19-2018, 11:04 AM
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It sounded to me like this particular bit from Phoebe Buffay.
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Old 02-19-2018, 11:16 AM
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Another detractor from stylized national anthem singing. It (the event, national pride, everything about the event that calls for national identity) has nothing to do with you as an individual unless you're, like, George Washington or someone of similar stature in our folklore. Making it about you makes it a marketing gimmick for your brand, and I find that despicable.

As an aside, I've teared up twice during the anthem. Once was at a high school robotics meet when the singer was one of the participants. Performed like a random 10th grader, but she did it in the spirit and style of a random high school kid. As a small part of a much greater whole that depends on the small parts for its greatness. Like one of thousands of nondescript but necessary parts of a winning machine. The other was at a 4th of July fireworks display in our neighborhood. As with the rest of the nation, our 'hood is pretty deeply divided politically, and everyone was in attendance. The park played only the music, but by the end all in attendance were singing along. Gave me hope.
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Old 02-19-2018, 11:28 AM
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I read an article that said it was such a bad rendition that Colin Kapernick got up and told her to stop disrespecting the flag......
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Old 02-19-2018, 12:29 PM
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I read an article that said it was such a bad rendition that Colin Kapernick got up and told her to stop disrespecting the flag......
I'm very tempted to extrapolate on how Kapernick and others who take a knee during the anthem are expressing sorrow rather than disrespect, but that would be counter to the spirit of this thread.

What I will say is that I've seen Fergie's rendition a few times now, and it's simply not that bad. It's not good by any means, but it's not on the short list of "Star-Spangled Banner" renditions mangled by professional vocalists.

This does go to show what an...inappropriate national anthem the United States has. I'm a reasonably good singer, albeit without training, and I wouldn't attempt the anthem in public. I can play it just fine, but it's tough to sing well. An arduous compiler could easily put together a perfectly wretched series of clips with professional/semiprofessional singers doing a number on the US anthem. I doubt the same could be said for other national anthems.
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Old 02-19-2018, 12:38 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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Pretty bad, but I was expecting much worse.

The late Lewis Grizzard wrote an article on bad versions of the TSSB, and two that he threw shaded on were Billy Ray Cyrus (“I’d never heart anyone bump and grind to the national anthem before) and Johnny Paycheck (“He didn’t know the words or the tune.”)
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Old 02-19-2018, 12:56 PM
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I thought nothing could top this. I was wrong.
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Old 02-19-2018, 01:12 PM
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Y'know, in the first two posts of this thread, you have Fergie's version, then you have Marc Anthony's version. Sort of unfair, talk about an uneven battle.

To her credit, at least she did not flat out forget the lyrics halfway through, as a number of other performers have. THAT is embarassing. This was just sort of awkward. My view is you can give it your personal imprint but a little goes a long way AND you have to be aware of the venue and audience.

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Old 02-19-2018, 01:27 PM
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I really don't like it when performers "personalize" the National Anthem. Neither did my dad. When we both heard Roseanne Barr sing it, my dad, who was definitely not an activist, said "It would have been worth it to get arrested if I could have got onto the field and grabbed the mike, and said 'Now let's do it right!' " I told him I would have run interference with the security guards.

I remember two performances that I truly enjoyed, that stand out in my memory.

One was by The Oak Ridge Boys, in the sixth game of the 1985 World Series. I was watching with my dad. Now, we'd heard of the group but I'd never seen them. When they came out we both thought "What's going to happen?" Just a beautiful performance was all, four part harmony at a normal pace folks could sing along to.

The other was another World Series game, and singer Toni Tenille was the performer.. Before she began she addressed the crowd "Won't you all please join me in singing our National Anthem?" She sang it straight, no special flourishes. I'll always remember her for that.
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Old 02-19-2018, 01:28 PM
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Even Jack Black did it better.
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Old 02-19-2018, 02:02 PM
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Was I the only kid who thought "dawnserly" was an adjective?

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Old 02-19-2018, 02:11 PM
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Even Jack Black did it better.
Jack Black is actually talented, so that's not surprising.
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Old 02-19-2018, 02:12 PM
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Was I the only kid who thought "dawnserly" was an adjective?
Ramona Quimby thought so too.
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Old 02-19-2018, 02:41 PM
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She tried to blues it up. Didn't work but not the end of the world.

Unpopular Opinion: it ain't that nice a song when done right anyway.
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Old 02-19-2018, 03:07 PM
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Ramona Quimby thought so too.
Like
I hear it that way every time. The Donserly song.
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Old 02-19-2018, 03:33 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Well, she made it her own, that's for sure.

(I can't stand the articulation on this. It starts off relatively okay, and then once it hits "early light," with the vocal fry and pitch drops at the end of the syllables, it's over for me.)
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Old 02-19-2018, 03:40 PM
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Make the vocal fry stop.

Oh God, just got to "oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave"

MAKE IT STOP!

EDIT: We mixed some Mariah Carey with some Idina Menzel, tossed in some Marilyn Monroe, and finished it with an overabundance of Angsty Teenage Girl. That was absurd.

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Old 02-19-2018, 03:45 PM
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The best solution is to not have it performed at sporting events at all. It is pointless. If it is, it's either good or not. The whole thing about messing with it and interpreting it is irrelevant. It's a song. Maybe people should just do their own version of that shitty lee Greenwood song to push the absurdity to new levels.
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Old 02-19-2018, 04:16 PM
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The best solution is to not have it performed at sporting events at all. It is pointless. If it is, it's either good or not. The whole thing about messing with it and interpreting it is irrelevant. It's a song. Maybe people should just do their own version of that shitty lee Greenwood song to push the absurdity to new levels.
I agree. Just skip it. We don't do it at other events.
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Old 02-19-2018, 04:26 PM
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Two and a half minutes? I wouldn't want to listen to Fergie's voice for that long on purpose for anything that didn't involve a large cash payout.
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Old 02-19-2018, 04:28 PM
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I thought nothing could top this. I was wrong.
Huh. That just sounds like an opera singer, not a bad performance. ?


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Old 02-19-2018, 05:35 PM
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Just sing the song.

I saw Whitney Houston sing it in 1991 and it almost literally the only one I ever remember thinking, "Wow, that was amazing."

Whitney Houston Super Bowl 1991
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Old 02-19-2018, 05:36 PM
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I'll stick with Trump's version.
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Old 02-19-2018, 05:39 PM
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Look, pro singers. You've got a talent, and a work ethic, that I'll never have. I acknowledge that gladly.

That said, when a song is as difficult to sing straight as the Star Spangled Banner, you're better off just singing it. If you can pull it off, you're pretty much a master of your craft. If you try to fancy up an already difficult song, you're more apt than not to mess it up.
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Old 02-19-2018, 06:28 PM
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Just sing the song.

I saw Whitney Houston sing it in 1991 and it almost literally the only one I ever remember thinking, "Wow, that was amazing."

Whitney Houston Super Bowl 1991
Yep, that one was awesome and now almost legendary.

Usually Opera Singers do excellent jobs. Robert Merrill was also very good.

No matter how bad Fergie was, it was not as bad as a Roseanne Barr's. Google it if you dare.
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Old 02-19-2018, 06:32 PM
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Y'see, Jack Black has a good sense of both situational and self-awareness, so he knew what the time, the place and the event called for and what he could deliver.

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Maybe people should just do their own version of that shitty lee Greenwood song to push the absurdity to new levels.
Good God man, there are laws about crimes against humanity... not worth all the suffering.

Last edited by JRDelirious; 02-19-2018 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 02-19-2018, 06:37 PM
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It was very bad, but it was amusing to see many of the players try to hold it together and fail.
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Old 02-19-2018, 06:51 PM
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Just sing the song.

I saw Whitney Houston sing it in 1991 and it almost literally the only one I ever remember thinking, "Wow, that was amazing."

Whitney Houston Super Bowl 1991
It was absolutely horrible. She forced a song written in 3/4 in to 4/4 by ham-fistedly shoving an extra beat in every measure. As a veteran of and long time observer of high school choirs, I can attest that girls who cover up for not being able to find the right note by sliding all over the place until they accidentally land on it are no more than 1-2 cents a dozen.
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Old 02-19-2018, 06:54 PM
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It was absolutely horrible. She forced a song written in 3/4 in to 4/4 by ham-fistedly shoving an extra beat in every measure. As a veteran of and long time observer of high school choirs, I can attest that girls who cover up for not being able to find the right note by sliding all over the place until they accidentally land on it are no more than 1-2 cents a dozen.
You hold a minority opinion, enjoy.
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Old 02-19-2018, 07:42 PM
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My post from about 6 years ago regarding the Star Spangled Banner: https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...light=national

I've heard many, many renditions of our national anthem. Some good, some bad, some horrible and some outstanding. The link to Marc Anthony made me want to stand up and salute my monitor, while I found the rendition by Fergie to be disgraceful. Was she trying to be sexy?! If she had any sense of history she would know that the words she sang were a description of a battle during the War of 1812 in which a prisoner of war was hopeful that Fort McHenry did not fall to the British. If she finds that to be sexy the girl needs therapy. I have nothing against singers who put their own stamp, so to speak, on the national anthem, but please, show some respect.
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Old 02-19-2018, 08:08 PM
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It was absolutely horrible. She forced a song written in 3/4 in to 4/4 by ham-fistedly shoving an extra beat in every measure. As a veteran of and long time observer of high school choirs, I can attest that girls who cover up for not being able to find the right note by sliding all over the place until they accidentally land on it are no more than 1-2 cents a dozen.
"Whitney Houston doesn't know how to match a pitch, and can't count any but 4/4 time."

--Doug K.
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Old 02-19-2018, 08:12 PM
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I agree that Fergie was awful. But no worse than Jose Feliciano at the 1968 World Series, or James Brown at the Ali-Foreman fight, or any number of singers who've tried to put their own spin on the anthem.

My take is, this is not the song to play around with. Either skip the anthem or get someone to sing it conventionally.
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Old 02-19-2018, 08:19 PM
Scarlett67 Scarlett67 is offline
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I've sung the national anthem in public something like 23 times (and counting). I've gotten lots of compliments on it, I think because of my two rules for singing it:

(1) That first "say" has to be the lowest note you can comfortably sing, or you'll never get to the land of the free. I've heard so many singers (especially female) break this rule. There's nothing wrong with singing alto.

(2) It's not about me (as others have said here). I sing it fairly straight, similar to how many men sing it. Straight melody, straight tempo with a few slight holds/pauses (mostly for breath, and I put four notes in "banner" to smooth it out). I wouldn't do the melisma thing even if I could. People should be able to sing along, without trying to guess what I'm going to do next. I often sing along in harmony when someone else is performing, and it sucks when they mess with it. When I do it, I consider it a public service, not an audition for America's Got Talent.
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Old 02-19-2018, 08:22 PM
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I just keep waiting for the rare few that can hit the high "B" on "...land of the free....FREE" and so few dare to try that when it happens, it's kinda cool. Otherwise I'm watching the F-22's fly overhead and thinking "Damn, they could totally kill a lot of us right now if they wanted to."
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Old 02-19-2018, 08:37 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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You hold a minority opinion, enjoy.
Never heard that version before, but I have to say, it truly is gorgeous. Respectful and powerful. Wow.

Last edited by pulykamell; 02-19-2018 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 02-19-2018, 08:39 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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I agree that Fergie was awful. But no worse than Jose Feliciano at the 1968 World Series, or James Brown at the Ali-Foreman fight, or any number of singers who've tried to put their own spin on the anthem.
I actually find Jose's version quite cool. (And also in 4/4, but with oddball phrasing over it.)
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Old 02-19-2018, 09:05 PM
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IShe forced a song written in 3/4 in to 4/4 by ham-fistedly shoving an extra beat in every measure.
I haven't listened to the Whitney Houston version yet, so I have no opinion on that. But based on your comment above, I think you'll appreciate this joke that several of us Javanese gamelan players came up with years ago. To play gamelan well - or play it at all, really - you MUST have a solid sense of rhythm and a keen ability to follow tempo changes as cued by the drummer. As a group of amateur musicians, many of us had been put in the position of, for example, accompanying Aunt Sally on the piano while she sang a church solo with a pretty but untrained voice, utterly oblivious to the rhythm and forcing us poor accompanists to fit ourselves around her erratic performance. So perhaps unfairly, this was our mean joke:

Q: How does a singer count 8 beats?

A: (each line to be said out loud as a beat):

One.
Two.
Three.
Four.
Five.
Six.
Sev.
Ven.
Eight.
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Old 02-19-2018, 10:03 PM
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If she had any sense of history she would know that the words she sang were a description of a battle during the War of 1812 in which a prisoner of war was hopeful that Fort McHenry did not fall to the British.
This! So much this! He's out at sea "It's day light, look! Our flag, it's still flying! They didn't take the fort!"

Combined with, all night long, the only way he could tell the British hasn't won was by seeing the flag fly through rocket glare.

It may sound cheesy, but I first really got it when I saw that flag at the Smithsonian.

My dream version of the anthem is to have Morgan Freeman read it as a poem.

In the 2016 World Series Cleveland had their orchestra play and announced that the fans would be singing the anthem -- that was pretty cool.
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Old 02-19-2018, 10:17 PM
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The Fergie version is like some weird mash-up between the "Star Spangled Banner" and "Santa Baby."

To quote Typo Knig: "I'm not sure if she loves the country or just wants to take it down to the local motel."
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Old 02-20-2018, 12:21 AM
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No, Ramona thought that "Dawnzer" was another name for a lamp.

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Huh. That just sounds like an opera singer, not a bad performance. ?


Yeah, but national anthem isn't opera. She may be fantastic at opera, but not here.

(Although forget Whitney, my favorite will always be Jimi Hendrix)
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