No matter how much you like your favorite song, if you hear it nonstop at midnight while you’re trying to sleep, blaring into your windows from passing cars outside, you’re bound to start hating it. Many Celine Dion fans in the small New Zealand city of Porirua are probably reevaluating their musical loyalties, as “siren battles” take over the city and Celine Dion’s music becomes inescapable. Siren battles, part of the local Porirua culture, involve car enthusiasts modifying their cars to play music at extremely high volumes, in an effort to drown out rivals. The winner is simply the one who blares music the loudest.
Participating siren battlers park their cars with engines running, blast music, and then move elsewhere before police can arrive. Nearly 300 local residents, however, have already signed a petition asking the city council to put a stop to the practice.
They “love Celine Dion,” mayor Anita Baker told Yahoo News, “they like anyone with a high pitch and a great tone in their voice.” For months, siren battlers have been blasting songs like “My Heart Will Go On,” “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now,” and other classic Dion ballads. “It’s really loud music,” Baker said. “They play only a quarter of the song, so it’s like having a turntable and it comes screeching out.”
The late-night tradition started in November 2022 when local fans celebrated Samoa’s run to the final in the Rugby League World Cup. The practice continued through the summer, and hasn’t died down.
“Although I enjoy Celine Dion in the comfort of my lounge and at my volume,” one resident wrote on the petition, “I do not enjoy hearing fragments of it stopping and starting at any time between 7 pm and 2 am.”
Baker has committed to meeting with police to find a resolution, but until then, Celine Dion’s music continues to be the unofficial anthem of Porirua.