You know anthems. The songs that, despite location- from humble local pubs to seedy super clubs, despite audience and levels of inebriation seem infallible in their ability to incite loud singing, fist pumping, finger pointing, head banging excitement from The People. Anthems bring together and unite The People in a way UN Peace talks and treaties never seem able to. Examples of anthems sometimes range from cultures; you will struggle to find an Australian who doesn’t know the lyrics to popular anthem Khe Sahn by Cold Chisel. Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey was a long loved anthem on dance floors in the States and often Canada (before it was sung on Glee and became a tween anthem). Wonderwall by Oasis has been known as a pensive anthem at the end of a night or on the more drunken, sombre occasion. The subject of a song is irrelevant in determining an anthem, whether about a small town girl meeting a city boy from south Detroit, or a Vietnam Veteran’s escapades with a Hong Kong prostitute, no one chooses to write an them. The anthem is determined by The People. The anthem is obviously an important agent in social interaction and cohesion.
However, it has come to my attention that certain artists (and I use the term ‘artist’ loosely) have attempted to construct and disseminate anthems at their own will. Fake Anthems. Or ‘Fanthems’ if you will. Songs like I Got A Feeling [tonight’s gonna be a good night] by the Black Eyed Peas or On the Floor by Jennifer Lopez or any song which describes a) a group of friends going out b) a dance floor c) the consumption of alcohol IS NOT AN ANTHEM. What these songs attempt to do is attract audiences who think ‘Hey! That’s totally us on a saturday night! It’s a party anthem!’. Let me reiterate this is NOT AN ANTHEM. This is a pathetic, cheap, gimmick and an embarrassment to the concept of the anthem. The other day I heard Last Friday Night by Katy Perry on the radio which is possibly the most crass attempt to construct an anthem i’ve ever heard. Lyrics such as ‘Last Friday night, we went streaking in the park, skinny-dipping in the dark, then had a menage a trois, last Friday night’ are to quote Ms Perry herself ‘[think I need a ginger ale that was] such an epic fail’. Anthems are not a how-to party guide for The People.
One naysayer suggested to me that anthems are simply shit songs glorified by age and that said anthems are only from the 1980’s and 1990’s. Not true. Paper Planes (2008) by M.I.A is a massive anthem thanks in large part to the gun-shot sound bites which enable dance floor revellers to make a gun with their hand and ‘shoot’ in time to the music. Womaniser by Britney Spears, although controversial, has been said to be an anthem particularly among the female contingent of The People.
My message to The People: reject Fanthems. They are offensive to the intelligence and high-brow taste of The People and cheapen the value of true anthems. Please name and shame Fanthems below.
Anthem Devotee & Advocate
(Images from VEVO)