We Americans are a proud people. It’s no surprise that we expect our national anthem to be sung correctly. So I do understand those of you upset at Steven Tyler for flubbing one teensy lyric during his performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens playoffs game Sunday night. (The American Idol judge sang “as bomb bursting in air” instead of “the bombs bursting in air.”) But I’d also like to think that we Americans are a smart people. So, I have no choice to say that, folks, you’re going all too “Crazy.” (Sorry, pun Monday!)
Yes, the Aerosmith frontman delivered a version of the song that was loud and screechy. But what did you expect? Much like how we can expect a Mariah Carey version to be filled with runs and a Roseanne Barr version to be filled with crotch-grabbing, a Steven Tyler “Star-Spangled Banner” is bound to be harder and harsher than more traditional performances of the national anthem.
But that’s precisely what makes Tyler’s version interesting. As sports fans, we have heard “The Star-Spangled Banner” sung countless times by pretty musicians eager to deliver pretty — if a bit passionless — renditions of the pretty song. Whether or not you liked Tyler’s vocals, you have to appreciate that he did something different with the tune. (Or, as we would say if we were Idol judges: Steven, you “made it your own!”) After all, the outrage only proves one thing: He managed to capture our attention. An accomplishment, when you consider how many versions have been seen and forgotten from the best of singers on Astroturf.
Sure, there have been better “Star-Spangled Banner” performances. But to expect Tyler’s version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” would be free of some Tyler-patented screeching? As Tyler himself would scream, “Dream On“!
Am I alone?
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