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The 15 Best National Anthems to Take a Knee To – RANKED

September 30th, 2017 by Mike Coughlin

A Pick-Up Game of Football on the Front Lawn

The United Nations



For some, their nation’s National Anthem is an important tradition.  For others, it is a song they mumble their way through when society deems it appropriate.  Others still, a third camp, see it as a time to kneel and therefore forever tarnish the image of America as the land of the Free.


But what is the best National Anthem?  It’s easy to say your country is the best but we all know that’s not true (I’m looking at you, Armenia).  Lucky for all of you – and you are indeed lucky – I’m here to rank the national anthems of the world!


How I Chose Which National Anthems to Rank


This is simple enough: I just grabbed countries I thought would work.  They aren’t random so much as they are roughly my knowledge of world geography.  If you’re upset I didn’t do a ranking for all, like, 200 countries/member nations/partial states/half-countries like Hong Kong and Puerto Rico, then you’re also likely going to be upset at the existence of time and space limitations in general.



What are the Ranking Criteria when Ranking The World’s National Anthems?


I can’t pretend this was easy but these are the rigorous standards of logic and thought I used in putting pen to paper whilst ranking everything:


  1. Does it sound cool?
    • Extra points given if it makes you want to run across a battlefield and stab a Kraut with a bayonet.
  2. Does it fit the country?


I also emphasize the first 30 seconds or so, as that’s all any of us really know, and my attention span has been abused by years of video games and 30 second porn clips.



The 15 Best National Anthems – RANKED


15. Ireland – Amhrán na bhFiann (“The Soldier’s Song”)

My initial note for this read, “Gay.”  Which is homophobic and not fair: equating homosexuals to a lame song like this is rude as fuck.


(Seriously, is that a flute at the beginning?)





12/13/14. Spain & Portugal & Mexico – La Marcha Real (“The Royal March”) (Spain)

Neither of them sound anything like their respective countries.  These should be much more dance-y feeling.  Setting aside that there’s no reason for Spain and Portugal to be separate countries, the songs mostly sound the same.  Honestly, they’re only on the list because I was trying to think of countries that exist.  And because I wanted an excuse to rip on Mexicans that wasn’t rooted in racism.





11. Israel – HaTikvah (“The Hope”)

I remember watching the cartoon Beauty and the Beast and wondering where they got the music.  Now I know.  Hebrew is a very ugly language when spoken and this is it being sung – shudder as Walt Disney montages Aladdin across a desert. (No way I put anything Jewish as dead last, not in this political climate.)





10. China – Yìyǒngjūn Jìnxíngqǔ (“March of the Volunteers”)

China is USSR-lite and so is this.  It sounds far too Western for my tastes, however.  Nothing about it says, “CHINA” to me.


trump and china





9. Germany – Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit (“Unity and justice and freedom”) – the Third Stanza of the “Lied der Deutschen” (“Song of the Germans”)

I expected more. It’s not horrible, like Ireland’s, but compared to Russia and other historically evil countries, this is sissy stuff.




8. England – God Save the Queen

America has a better version of your song in “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”  And, seriously, “God save the Queen”?  Just her?  Fuck that.  Get with the times and abolish state sponsored religion.  Also, it sounds kinda depressing and I can’t picture being all, “LET US GO KILL THE FRENCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”





7. Scotland – Flower of Scotland

I saw some Scots online not liking their anthem, which is stupid because I like it and I’m always right.  Frankly, I think most of why I like it is the use of bagpipes, which obviously sound Scottish as hell, and I’m even kinda surprised are involved because it’s so stereotypical.  I’m not even Scottish and feel pride when I hear this badboy, so it gets a thumbs up.



(True Fact: On Wikipedia’s List of National Anthems, Scotland isn’t featured.  Northern Cyprus is listed but not Scotland.  Not just Cyprus but Northern Cyprus.  Get it together, Scotland.)



6. Japan – Kimigayo (“His Majesty’s Reign”)

I like the ominous opening, fits very well with 5 year old me’s belief that everyone in Japan was either a ninja or a geisha girl.  It won’t make you want to run through a wall made of fire snakes but it would be fabulous to listen to as the sun sets on the last days of your empire.



(His Majesty’s Reign?  Why do I always feel like the Japanese are faking the whole, “We got rid of our emperor except for ceremonial purposes” thing and are secretly plotting another attack on Pearl Harbor?)



5. USA – The Star Spangled Banner

I’ve been hearing a lot of folks slagging on The Star Spangled Banner lately and they’re all wrong and dumb to do so.  “It’s tough to sing,” I keep seeing.  So?  I don’t give a fuck if people not named Jewel have trouble hitting the high notes; Jimi Hendrix songs aren’t easy to play but we don’t knock them, do we?  Speaking of Jimi, he showed how cool it could be instrumentally.



Like Canada’s, the opening is badass.  And the crescendo, “And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,” is pretty inspirational if you’re the type who likes to be inspired.  You have rockets and bombs blowing up and you get to all yell real loud when it happens.  It being yet another example of America giving England the middle finger.


The song loses a bit, though, because the lyrics kinda slur into one another and I’m not always sure what’s correct.  “Bombs bursting in air” or “bombs burst in mid-air”?  Beats me.  It’s not a big deal, because I mumble through the boring parts, like how I do church.



See also Canada.



4. Italy – Il Canto degli Italiani (“The Song of the Italians”)

Wasn’t even on my initial list as I thought it would be boring.  Then I saw this:



I wish I was Italian so bad, now.  The song is what it is but this rendition alone vaults the song into legendary status.  Seriously, watch the whole 90 seconds and if by the end you’re not ready to be the center of the world for several centuries then I don’t know what to tell you.


Also, whoever she is – wowsa.



3. Russia – Gosudarstvenny Gimn Rossiyskoy Federatsii (“State Hymn of the Russian Federation”)

The fucking Russians, man, what can you say?  They have their problems, what with the mass genocide committed in the name of single payer health care, but they’re awesome at iconography.  I would murder, cheat at a basketball game, rig elections foreign and domestic, and tacitly endorse beating your wife and gay son for this song.  If I was on one side of an open field with a banner, sitting on a horse, and greasing up my lance, only to hear this from out in the distance?  I’d shit myself in surrender.




(It kinda sounds like Star Wars at the beginning too!)


2. Canada – O Canada

Liking Canada’s National Anthem is a very trendy position these days and it’s not altogether unwarranted.  It has a great opening with, “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, CAAAAAAAAAAAANADAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!”  and Americans like it because we’re exposed to it at hockey games, which are fun.  I can see getting behind it too, as the lyrics are just bad-ass enough, what with the whole, “Yeah, we stand for this country and will FUCK you up if you challenge us.”


It loses a BUNCH of points though, as the current Leader of Canada (and his limp wristed buddies), are going to change the lyrics to be “gender neutral.”  Fuck. Off.  Is nothing sacred?  Are women that sensitive? (No and no.)




Canadians are the best people and it isn’t even close.





1. France – La Marseillaise

I mentioned anthems on Facebook and this was one of the top picks from folks, which is fine with me.  It sounds French, I can see being inspired by it, and the lyrics – holy SHIT, they’re good:


To arms, citizens,
Form your battalions,
Let’s march, let’s march!
Let an impure blood
Soak our fields!
What does this horde of slaves,
Of traitors and conspiratorial kings want?
For whom are these vile chains,
These long-prepared irons? (repeat)
Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
What fury it must arouse!
It is us they dare plan
To return to the old slavery!
To arms, citizens…
What! Foreign cohorts
Would make the law in our homes!
What! These mercenary phalanxes
Would strike down our proud warriors! (repeat)
Great God! By chained hands
Our brows would yield under the yoke
Vile despots would have themselves
The masters of our destinies!
To arms, citizens…
Tremble, tyrants and you traitors
The shame of all parties,
Tremble! Your parricidal schemes
Will finally receive their reward! (repeat)
Everyone is a soldier to combat you
If they fall, our young heroes,
The earth will produce new ones,
Ready to fight against you!
To arms, citizens…
Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors,
Bear or hold back your blows!
Spare those sorry victims,
Who arm against us with regret. (repeat)
But not these bloodthirsty despots,
These accomplices of Bouillé,
All these tigers who, mercilessly,
Rip their mother’s breast!
To arms, citizens…
Sacred love of the Fatherland,
Lead, support our avenging arms
Liberty, cherished Liberty,
Fight with thy defenders! (repeat)
Under our flags, may victory
Hurry to thy manly accents,
May thy expiring enemies,
See thy triumph and our glory!
To arms, citizens…
(Children’s Verse)
We shall enter the (military) career
When our elders are no longer there,
There we shall find their dust
And the trace of their virtues (repeat)
Much less keen to survive them
Than to share their coffins,
We shall have the sublime pride
Of avenging or following them
To arms, citizens…


This is from the French?!  Jeezuz, man, what badasses they turned out to be, eh?



(Yeah, I’m a bit uncomfortable too with the still image of what appear to be Nazi salutes.)



What is YOUR favorite National Anthem?  Let us know below!




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