Back in 2013, Switzerland announced it was seeking a new national anthem to replace the current Swiss Psalm, which sounds too much like a “Biblical weather forecast”.
I may have submitted an entry, and I may have been quickly rejected, but that isn’t a story for now! What is, is the fact they’ve just revealed the shortlist. It’s made up of six songs: four rewrites of the current lyrics and two new compositions.
But who should you vote for (anyone can by going here until May 15)? Here’s a handy cut out and keep guide:
The one everyone outside Switzerland will misinterpret
The phrase “un pour tous, et tous pour un” was being said all over Switzerland in 1868 as a way of uniting the country after devastating floods. It became so popular it was even carved into the roof of the Swiss parliament. It should be the perfect slogan, then, to make the centrepiece of the country’s national anthem, as entry C’s done. Unfortunately, the rest of the world knows that phrase as “All for one and one for all” and associates it with a cartoon dog so, er… Next!
The one that’s too clingy
“O my Switzerland, I love you so much”, starts the chorus to entry F, making the singer sound somewhat like a stalker shouting through a letterbox. They’re quite a weird stalker as then they start shouting about “my country of freedom, ideal of equality, true cradle of peace on earth” but they’re Swiss, they might be into such things!
The one that sounds like a child’s nightmare
The person behind Entry E deserves a lot of praise as they wrote an entirely new tune. It starts well enough too with a series of staccato phrases, as if mimicking a child skipping through some woods. Unfortunately, it then drops into a minor key as if the child’s skipped into a witch’s lair and is about to be murdered. But you can’t have everything can you?
The jazzy one
Entry D is an original tune too, and actually a very nice one until you start picturing a drunk uncle singing it at Christmas while winking at your mother, and that just isn’t right!
The one that sounds like a shopping list
“White cross on a red background,” opens Entry A before apparently deciding the best approach to writing an anthem is to just list every one of Switzerland’s values in a hope no one could possibility criticise it. “Freedom, independence, peace, open to the world in which we live,” it goes. I’d prefer something more emotional and less like a shopping list, but it’s certainly the most Swiss entry, which gives me a horrid feeling it might win.
For those who know a thing or two about national anthems, you may be wondering where the references to landscape are, well here they come, all two of them! “From the tops of our peaks to the heart of our cities,” this one goes, before proclaiming the singer’s love for this beautiful land. They may not be the most original words, but they are certainly the most traditionally anthemic. If I was going to go out on a limb, I’d say this entry – B – is the winner, but don’t be boring, Switzerland, go for the drunk uncle one!