Anthems. They are the most important part of being a music fan. These are the songs that help you get out of bed in the morning when you have to face a hard day. They are the songs that make moments infinite and perfect – the kind you want to live inside forever. The songs whose lyrics define who you are as a person.
In short, anthems are everything.
Earlier this year, I started thinking about my own anthems and began building a playlist of songs that fit the criteria above, with the intention of sharing it here…or maybe even turning it into a series. But then Hanson announced the title of their new album that almost never was (out today), and it was clear this idea was going to grow into something bigger.
The title of their album, by the way? Anthem. It’s kind of uncanny how those boys and I always seem to be on the same page…
So instead of just putting together a post in honor of the album’s release today, I thought I’d ask “the girls” for some of their personal anthems. Who are “the girls?” You’ll meet them all below, but in short…these are the lovely ladies I’ve had the privilege to meet because we all love this silly little band who wrote the biggest pop hit of 1997 about a nonsense word. We’ve traveled the country seeing Hanson on tour. We giggle together on Google Hangouts when we’re apart (we’re spread across four, soon to be five states), and we generally love each other for “getting it.”
As you read on, you’ll meet each girl and learn what her anthem is and why. (I love that not only do their songs reflect them so perfectly, but so do their writing styles.)
Lauren – Austin, TX (formerly Oklahoma and soon-to-be New York City!)
“S.O.G. Burning in Hell” by Steel Train
To me, this song really captures the feelings of loving a band or a song so much it hurts. “A thousand girls they sing along…” This song just captures what it’s like to be a good groupie and there for a love of the music.
Katie – Midwest City, OK
(Yes, I let her get away with two…)
“La La Lie” by Jack’s Mannequin
“I’ve got friends who,
(la la la lie)
will help me pull through…”
Doesn’t that line say it all? My “girls” mean the world to me and they truly understand my love and passion for music. This song is one of those songs that hits me in the gut. It’s very sentimental. I’ve heard this song performed many times and I still get that chill and rush of happiness every time I hear it!
“Heart of Life” by John Mayer
“Pain throws your heart to the ground
love turns the whole thing around,
fear is a friend who’s misunderstood,
but I know the heart of life is good.”
The line “Fear is a friend who’s misunderstood” echos over and over in my head when I hear this song and it just gives me chills. It’s so true. Fear can open your eyes. Which also points out another favorite lyric “Don’t lose yourself in your fear” by a certain band I love.
Jenny – Speedway, IN
“After All These Years” by Silverchair
It’s been my favorite song, period, since it came out in 2002. It’s so pretty it’s insane, and the lyrics are amazing. I never get sick of it, and it doesn’t sound like anything else they have.
Samantha – Moore, OK
‘Some music needs air.’
“American Girl” by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
This is my jam! Okay, in all seriousness this song is my anthem and has been for years. This is the song that will stop me dead in my tracks no matter where I am or what I’m doing. This is the song that even catches the attention of ‘the girls’ – any one of them will turn around and give me that tell-tale smile to make sure I’m listening.
I was much younger when that iconic melody first played through my ears and even as a teenager I thought I knew what those lyrics meant but it wasn’t until my twenties that I really started to understand the lyrics. The fact that this tune has molded to fit so many to different times in my life is part of the reason that I love this song so much, even though it’s kind of the cliche – everyone knows this tune.
I have many great memories of this song being performed live (I’m still waiting on ‘the boys’ to cover it) but my favorite live performance was August 4th, 2006 in Dallas, Texas. This was my first (and so far only) Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers concert – the show was mind blowing but as the evening came to a close I realized that they had yet to play ‘my song’, I began to shake with nerves – they had to play it, right? The encore started and he played those first cords and my heart jumped into my throat and I just started to cry – it was everything I could have ever hoped for and so much more.
I realize that the majority of you have heard this song multiple times before but my advice to you is simple – just push play. Turn the volume up, roll the windows down and drive. A clear night sky is preferred but not essential.
“She couldn’t help thinkin’, that there was a little more to life somewhere else. After all it was a great big world with lots of places to run to, and if she had to die tryin’, she had one little promise she was gonna keep.”
Melanie – Carver, MA
“Across the Universe” by The Beatles
Jai Guru Deva. Om.
Is it an anthem if it only occurs to you in a moment of panic and deep contemplation, when you’ve thought way too hard about something that maybe isn’t as hidden as you think it is?
Nothing resonates. I searched through my index of songs, listed Hanson tracks in texts and remembered lots and lots of songs that I love, that are part of my core, but nothing made sense for this answer. Those songs (mr jones, when the stars go blue, a song to song, weird, fast car, name, semi charmed life) all belonged to a girl from a decade ago and that girl isn’t me anymore.
So instead I spent days trying to think of a song that resonates with this wanna be hippie girl who can’t quite figure out how to be in the moment and love and relax and create. An hour into intense thinking and texts with The Good Groupie, this Beatles song started playing while I was eating my margarita pizza in Cosi. I hadn’t even realized part of the song was in another language, so I looked it up and it all came together. Jai Guru Deva. Om. This means honor thy goddess/praise (or give thanks to) the heavenly teacher. Om is a vibration with the universe. I’m not religious at all and I might be allergic to meditation but where I am in this moment is searching for spirituality and the universe to help me experience life they way I think everyone should.
Of course it is still an anthem, because it showed itself to me in a moment when I was looking for it in other places, the universe guided the answer right to me. Om.
Miranda – Houston, TX
“Been There Before” by Hanson
Leave it to me to be the only one who actually picks a Hanson song after doling out this assignment…I love music about music. Hearing a song, like “Been There Before,” describing why you love the very thing you’re listening to has this fantastic sense of validation to it. Doesn’t hurt that this particular song has a ton of great musical references throughout it. No matter how many times I hear it…it makes me feel at home. I am that girl who listens to a young man’s song that fills my heart and soul with the roots of rock-n-roll. (Perhaps fatally so…)
Plus, I can’t count the number of times I’ve muttered to myself, when you can’t get through it, you can listen to it… It’s my mantra – and defines exactly what an anthem is to me…something to listen to when you can’t get through it.
Your turn: what is your personal anthem?