Broken Social Anthems

Jul 11th, 2010 in Music

According to Tom Waits, sometimes you fall out of a window with confetti in your hair.  At other times it’s a song that falls like confetti into your consciousness from beyond the constellations.

We were driving home this week when Broken Social Scenes’ Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl suddenly came on the car stereo, with Emily Haines (now Metric, or solo), Feist and friends nailing it.  Once again the favorable force of music met us head-on.  Ask those who know us, and they will attest to our (some would say annoying) willingness to take any two-to-three words you might suggest, and invoke the lyrics of a song from years past.  We can’t help it.

But at other times, we are caught out and have no words to match the visceral slam of a song.

When Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl came on we happened to have with us a girl who just turned seventeen years old.  It had been a long time since we had listened intently to this song, but suddenly the song floated ponderous and weighty into our ears.  When moments like this happen, if you’re not careful, these convergences of music and circumstance will leave you in a heap, murmuring, maundering and muttering.  We reckon a reckoning is coming next June, and we are dreading the emotional wreckage.

As set out below, the song seems to be about a girl’s loss of a girlfriend to change and transition.  You could, however, construe the lyrics in other obvious ways.  But for the first time, we heard the lyrics to be about our seventeen-year old passenger and her seemingly imminent departure to a life all her own.  And the effect was enough to stop the world and our car, in addition to our words.

Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl (emphasis added):

“Used to be the one of the rotten ones
And I liked you for that
Now you’re all gone, got your make-up on
And you’re not coming back

Bleachin’ your teeth, smiling flash
Talking trash, under your breath
Bleachin’ your teeth, smiling flash
Talking trash, under my window

Park that car, drop that phone,
Sleep on the floor, dream about me

Used to be the one of the rotten ones
And I liked you for that
Now you’re all gone, got your make-up on
And you’re not coming back.

As we have often found with the songs of Broken Social Scene, it’s the music that carries the day and the lyrics oft-times supply the missing element that conveys the life-and-death situation.  Anthems is certainly not the best song from the BSS discography (more about this soon), but when it came on during our drive it seemed near-perfect.

Broken Social Scene–Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/07-Anthems-For-A-Seventeen-Year-Old.mp3|titles=07 Anthems For A Seventeen-Year-Old]

And here’s a worthy live rendering to check out, with Emily and Feist firing towards the end.

Such was the moment Thursday when Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl came on our car stereo.

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/07-Anthems-For-A-Seventeen-Year-Old.mp3|titles=07 Anthems For A Seventeen-Year-Old]

4 Comments

 

Comments have been closed for this post.