It's time for a new national anthem

21:14, May 20 2010

I don't know about you but I don't really dig our national anthem. Or should I say anthems. We apparently hold "a rare position in the world" in that we have both God Defend New Zealand and God Save the Queen available, though I guess we basically go with God Defend New Zealand - thanks a lot Thomas Bracken! When I think of it I remember the nearly sonorous school choir attempts; fighting against the piano, having no luck herding the musical lines into any real shape or form.

So - let's imagine we could ditch God Save the Queen altogether (just pretend you are Australian for the day; that's it, reach into your actor's toolbox). And let's also bin God Defend New Zealand (just pretend you are Richard Dawkins; reach back into that toolbox).

What would you pick as a new national anthem? Let's get a vote going - it would be interesting to tally your picks - see if there are a few recurring favourites.

I've no doubt a few of you will suggest Shihad's Home Again. I'm not sure it really works in this context but it's a catchy pop-rock song.

There'll be people perhaps recommending Dragon and Hello Sailor and The Exponents. I guess with a new season of Outrageous Fortune on the way, there'll be a vote or two for Gutter Black, won't there?


Split Enz's Six Months in a Leaky Boat is obviously a worthy candidate - I know I've referred to it a couple of times in reviews as our alternative national anthem. And I wouldn't be the only hack to think they had come up with that. It is a good song though, right? Its "tyranny of distance" line is a good'un.

Dave Dobbyn writes anthems. Most recently he added Welcome Home to the pile. Does anyone want that as our national anthem? Or will some of you suggest Loyal?

It was Tim Finn that put together Leaky Boat but Brother Neil (it's clear many of you are fans) has written a few Crowded House anthem-contenders. Don't Dream It's Over and Better Be Home Soon for starters.

And of course there's Nature - available in both Fourmyula flavour and Mutton Birds variety.

So far so Nature's Best. Or if you remember last year's pointless update, The Great New Zealand Songbook (I still think they got the wrong version of the word great in the title).

Let's think outside the box. I mean, by all means, if you think one of those songs named already, or a song from one of the artists mentioned above is the key contender for a new anthem then that's fine - but what about something by a newer band? Or a far older band?

What about something by Vorn? I've been listening to Vorn's Modern Classics - it's got some pretty cool songs on it - I reckon An Act of Good Faith would work.

My first pick is Sonny Day's Saving Up. But then I think, well, it wasn't written by a Kiwi - it was written by Bruce Springsteen. So I'm feeling like Natalie Imbruglia there; let's face it, a) The Boss writes anthems and b) you always could do a lot worse than Springsteen.

Also, last I checked Thomas Bracken wasn't a Kiwi. He was born in Ireland. And then, adding insult to injury, he settled in Geelong!

So I'd be happy with Saving Up. I'm not sure it's the right message, but maybe it is - in times of Budget changes, GST increases and a gymnastic Government perhaps we all need to be "saving up for the things that money can't buy" (i.e. eventually everything).

And perhaps John Key will agree to the anthem change. It might get him back on Letterman. If the new anthem is by Liam Finn then he and Key - both Letterman veterans - could even duet it.

It's a Small World After All...

There's also a joke there about it being in the wrong Key - but I'll let you write that.

So - back to the serious suggestions. I do like The Chills' Come Home - but can you really sing a song called Come Home when and while you are at home? It would be a similar problem if Dobbyn's Welcome Home was welcomed as the anthem. Or, for that matter, if Shihad's Home Again was in the running.

The added issue with The Chills would be that you'd be getting a different lineup arriving to perform the tune every time there was a rugby test. (And you would want to make sure pies and flavoured milk was part of the rider.)

Let us not forget what this is all about, after all. We're really just in need of a new song for Hayley Westenra or Yulia or the chorus from Melody Rules: The Musical to sing before a game; before we drop the ball again at a certain upcoming World Cup or forget we're not allowed to pick the ball up at another upcoming World Cup.

That of course means someone will have the feelers come in and record their version of Sonny Day's version of the Clarence Clemons version of that Bruce Springsteen song, Saving Up.

Well, dreams may be free but the GST on them has just been raised by 2.5 per cent.

You have one choice - you get to pick our new national anthem. You want to include the whole country - so perhaps consider Scribe. I mean he even started inventing places to honour like East Canterbury (aka: the sea) on one of his anthems.

You can even - if you like - pick who gets to cover it. So long as it is not the feelers. What new New Zealand national anthem would you like to hear? Then we'll tally them; Tally Ho!

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