National anthems are an integral part of every country. An anthem’s lyrics depict the history, culture, and values of its people group, and its melody and instrumentation relay an aesthetic that should seek to inspire ardency and dignity in the hearts of its citizens. National anthems come and go, and often are altered to better reflect a nation’s changing ideals.
Many people have an opinion when it comes to the “best” national anthem, with many opting to vote for their own country’s anthem if given the chance. Russia’s old USSR anthem is incredibly catchy, and Welsh’s anthem, “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” (The Land of my Fathers) is moving enough to make any listener want to have been born Welsh. Perhaps the best known anthem is the United States “Star-Spangled Banner,” which deserves its own list of God-awful renditions.
But today, we’re not here to discuss opinions regarding the greatest national anthem in history. Instead, we would like to offer you the world’s objectively worst national anthem ever created, followed by some runner-ups.
The Objectively Worst Anthem Award Goes To: Congo
Evidently, the Congolese have discovered Auto-Tune; though, nobody told them that it might not be the greatest idea to digitally engineer their national anthem. Although the chorus might get stuck in your head, it will only do so out of its annoying, high-pitched character.
Below are two runner-ups, each receiving an award corresponding to the nature of the anthem.
World’s Creepiest Anthem Award: Eritrea
“They sound like chipmunks mixed with Indians,” writes one commenter on YouTube, and we can’t say that we disagree. Although, for a generally non-cheery country, Eritrea has produced a relatively cheery national anthem. Maybe a little bit too cheery. The lyrics are essentially repeating the same thing over and over again (“Eritrea!”), so no deeply thought-provoking substance can be found in this part of the Horn of Africa.
World’s Most Depressing Anthem Award: Hungary
Although possessing a timeless, soothing melody, Hungary’s national anthem “Himnusz” is one the most depressing anthem in the history of civilization. Whereas most national anthems boast about the glory or beauty of its country, Hungary’s national anthem includes an extremely melancholic, fatalistic depiction of the Nation of Hungary:
Castle stood, now a heap of stones
Happiness and joy fluttered,
Groans of death, weeping
Now sound in their place.
And Ah! Freedom does not bloom
From the blood of the dead,
Torturous slavery’s tears fall
From the burning eyes of the orphans!
Pity, O Lord, the Hungarians
Who are tossed by waves of danger
Extend over it your guarding arm
On the sea of its misery
Long torn by ill fate
Bring upon it a time of relief
They who have suffered for all sins
Of the past and of the future!
Well, damn, Hungary. Why don’t you tell us how you really feel?
In conclusion, it’s very clear that a country’s anthem says a lot about its national aesthetic. If a country adopts a less-than-stellar national anthem to represent itself, one automatically assumes that the country itself will be inferior to others. Beauty and taste are relative, though, so the above list is only accurate insofar that it reflects the opinion of a single columnist. There is plenty of freedom to disagree, so please, understand that this column is light-hearted in nature and not intended to be taken seriously in any way.