Sunday, March 27, 2011

Beyond Yakko's World

I'm way behind on my reading, so I'd like to entertain you instead with some good ol' fashioned YouTube!

As an overgrown kid of the '90s, I was thrilled when I first encountered the smart-aleck world of Animaniacs, including the following informative song, featuring all the nations of the world to the tune of the Mexican Hat Dance:

It's a classic, and the lyrics are easy to find on the Net. Unfortunately, it was out of date even before it was televised in 1993 - no former Soviet states (USSR broke up in 1991), an assumption that the Czech Republic and Slovakia were still united (Czechoslovakia dissolved in 1992), that Yemen was still divided (Aden and Sana unified in 1990) and that Cambodia was still Kampuchea (renamed 1990). And of course the writer assumes that San Juan is a nation and Singapore isn't, and Israel is misspelt on the mad as "Isreal". Great song, very shoddy research.

Sadly, most people doing covers on YouTube today don't bother to correct these glaring inaccuracies. Fortunately, there've been some attempts to update the song, some half-hearted:

And some actually pretty good!

What is fundamentally needed, of course, is a complete reinvention. I've been hunting online for a version I once saw: an alphabetical run-down of the world's nations to the tune of REM's "It's the End of the World As We Know It", but I can't track it down. Chaotic, but the video had some pretty good visuals.

The best candidate we've got right now is this very entertaining cover, which of course doesn't include non-UN states like Taiwan or the Vatican or Bermuda, but is nonetheless very pleasing to the ear:

Being from a small country, I aspire towards the ultimate Platonic ideal of a truly comprehensive song that encompasses the entire globe. Any suggestions?

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