A quick Google search will inform you that the noun “anthem” is defined as “a rousing or uplifting song identified with a particular group, body, or cause.” While listening to Teen Divorce’s song of that name, I tried and tried again to reaffirm its title in my mind. Because although indie rock of Jacksonville’s Ben Saunders is singable, the song’s cool, solemn atmosphere doesn’t immediately strike me as “rousing” or “uplifting.”
Now I could be just reading into much into the title — songs are often named after whatever word is said the most, and Teen Divorce repeats “anthem” throughout the song’s chorus and bridge — but this is the path I’m choosing to follow. After a mellow verse, the song’s pre-chorus build towards an exploding chorus — very grandiose — but instead goes a more subtle route into a smooth, dreamy repetition of the song’s title.
What I do think is anthemic about “Anthem” is its theme. “I wish you could see yourself as somebody new. I wish I still cared.” These lines stuck out from my first listen. They’re not “rousing” as we like to think anthems are, but do stir up passed memories and feelings. The one I’ve uncovered most is apathy. The song’s overall tone of wishing the best for someone, but only because you no longer give a shit, is without a doubt chant worthy. And what Teen Divorce does so well in “Anthem” is deliver that importance in a way that mirrors the song’s message.
See Ben perform a Teen Divorce solo set October 13 at Uncle Lou’s.