Anthems are songs that are meant to celebrate something, be it a country, a sports team, or even a state of mind. They can create a sense of pride, a sense of belonging, and even provide the soundtrack to one’s emotions. Everyone hears songs in different ways, so an anthem for one person, may not necessarily be an anthem for another person. But if you happen to be looking for anthems, songs that perfectly illustrate certain emotions, here’s a list of some of my favourites. Feel free to take note.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         “Wonderwall”. Oasis. What’s the Story (Morning Glory)? 1995.
This is my comfort food song, mac and cheese in form of music. I’ve known it for so long that it feels like a childhood friend, like home and I immediately feel at ease any time I hear it. It’s an anthem for friendship, for harmony, and it always manages to bring people together (well done Gallagher brothers, well done). Case in point. A work trip to Quebec City with a couple of friends lead us to a very French pub where we were asked to mingle with a bunch of strangers. Without any alcohol in our systems this proved to be quite the daunting task. Everyone was a little uncomfortable and no one was making any progress. Luckily there was a live performance on the way: a solo act with an acoustic guitar. He was doing his sound check, testing out the mics and in pure rehearsal form, he starts strumming the first few chords of “Wonderwall”. As the intro is being played, people start paying attention, heads start nodding to the music, all eyes on the guitar. As soon as the lyrics start, in some sort of knee-jerk reaction more than half the pub starts singing along – like they all recognized their good old friend. By the time the chorus hits, the entire crowd is singing in unison and minutes later, conversations became easier, friends were made and memories created. And the performance hadn’t even started yet.

“Still D.R.E.”. Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg. The Chronic 2001. 2001.
This track since the first time I heard it has always been my party anthem. It brings me back to my undergrad days where I vaguely recall parading down the streets of Toronto behind a blue pick up truck blasting this song – minus the hydraulics of course. Those days were carefree, fun and all about having a good time. And so is this song. Whether I’m cruising in my car, out with friends or just hanging out at home, my mood always improves when I hear this song. It’s always in the background during the hair straightening or make-up applying stage of getting ready to go out, to set the vibe for the rest of the night. In its versatility, this song is also a classic underdog song – the guy everyone forgot about who’s back with a vengeance and ready to take on all the haters. After all, who doesn’t feel good after telling a whole bunch of people off? Guaranteed to get any party started.

“Scream”. Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson. HIStory: Past, Present and Future. 1995.
The first feeling that comes to mind when hearing this song is frustration. Situations that are beyond your control, or that are influenced by other parties, or that you just can’t fix will take a toll on anyone and create such a high level of pressure and frustration because there’s nothing that you can do about it. You can’t change it, whether it’s a confusing relationship, a bad work day/week/month, or even an injustice you witnessed. The minute you realize that doesn’t it just make you want to scream? It’s the ultimate venting anthem because it vocalizes all of one’s pent up frustrations in 4:38. Janet’s presence on the track adds an element of conversation between her and Michael, almost like they’re screaming either at each other or in turn about the same issues that frustrate them. So if you’re ever feeling the heat, getting stressed out or flustered and you just don’t think you can handle it – throw this track on. And scream.

“Sunday Bloody Sunday”. U2. War. 1983.
This is my anger anthem. Sure anger and frustration are only separated by a fine line, but a line nonetheless. We all know this song refers to the infamous ‘ “Bloody Sunday” incident which occurred in Ireland when British troops killed unarmed civilians. It already stems from anger and outrage. When I’m completely livid about something (which happens more often than I’d like to admit), I need to hear this: it rallies all those feelings of anger and lets them out. Bono gets angry on the vocals, the Edge and Adam broadcast their anger on guitars and Larry displays it on his drums. They get angry, so you get angry. You can tell they’re pissed about something and since you are too, it’s like they just understand. I occasionally catch myself ‘drumming’ on my steering wheel after a bad day and it just makes me feel better. The steady beat throughout the song, almost like the sound of soldiers marching, is anthemic in itself and makes it impossible to sit still when it’s on. If you’re having trouble dealing with anger, try air-drumming to this song, it works wonders.

“Just A Girl”. No Doubt. Tragic Kingdom. 1995.
This is definitely a girl’s anthem. A combination of frustration, anger, confusion common amongst all females at one point in their lives or another. It perfectly describes everything I was feeling when I was a teenager. To a T. The song basically goes on about how society treats girls differently for the mere fact that they’re just girls and how us girls are just sick of it. We’re not these docile little dolls that need to be protected from the world and coddled and treated like children. At least I’m not. Growing up with two brothers I got to experience this double standard first hand and though most boys won’t admit it, I can guarantee you they still think girls can’t do half the things they do as well as they can. I’m sure some of you girls see it in the work place also – I sure do. It’s like people don’t take us as seriously, or don’t think we’re as capable, regardless of our qualifications just because we’re girls. Or when people assume a girl isn’t as good an athlete as a boy, and so the girl has to constantly prove herself. How is that fair?? It’s by far the worst feeling, feeling like you’re second rate compared to someone else, because of something you have no control over, because of who you are. And sure I have begrudgingly started to accept it as I get older, but that doesn’t mean this anthem still doesn’t resonate as strongly as it did back then.

Anthems have the ability to bring people from all walks of life together, get people feeling the same feeling, singing the same lyrics in unison. They evoke a certain sentiment in all of us, and when you feel it you’ll just want to sing along.

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