Single Review: Good Charlotte “The Anthem”

The Anthem
Album: The Young and the Hopeless
Year: 2003

Some people want a family or career which fulfills them. Others look for volunteer activies or support their favorite candidate. Some travel to various cities while others prefer to view paintings and read novels.

Then there are some people who really don’t care and only want to be a teenager forever. In “The Anthem,” those people are Good Charlotte. From MTV.com “And it’s kind of like celebrating that we don’t really want to adhere to or fulfill the status quo way of life, I guess the average thing you’re taught — to, like, grow up and get a job.” Joel Madden doesn’t ever want to be grow up. ‘Cause if he did, he wouldn’t be able to be a Toys ‘R Us kid or talk about anything beyond the newest toy on the market.

In the first verse, Joel Madden is bored with his life and doesn’t feel like the “good life” is real. (“It’s a new day/But it all feels old/It’s a good life/That’s what I’m told/But everything, it all just feels the same”). He continues with an unoriginal simile (comparing high school to a jail)

Instead of making him wanting more and move beyond something bigger than high school, he rather stay in the place as reveals in the chorus. He doesn’t want to be like his parents (“That I don’t ever wanna be like you/I don’t wanna do the things you do”). What? Pay for all the meals he will eat? Live in a decent, air-conditioned home? Those aren’t things that aren’t wanted to be done, they are needed to done.

In the second verse, his says that his parents told him to “Go to college,
A university/Get a real job”/That’s what they said to me.” However, he rather “get by” and sees the working people as sheep. (“And just do my time/Out of step while/They all get in line/I’m just a Minor Threat so pay no mind”). It’s hilarious Good Charlotte thinks it’s a “minor threat” to think this way. Actually, it’s childish and dumb. While partying may look like an attractive lifestyle, in the long-term it’s going to amount to a lot of regrets and what-ifs.

He claims people going to college and working are following a trend or being part of a crowd (“Do you really wanna be like them?/Do you really wanna be another trend?/Do you wanna be part of that crowd?”). An inane bridge follows where Joel Madden says “Shake it once, that’s fine/Shake it twice, that’s okay/Shake it three times, you’re playing with yourself again”). The bridge is an excuse to make a crude joke. However, it’s not funny. There isn’t a punchline or any connection to sense whatsoever.

Good Charlotte has contempt for anyone with intellectual curiousity or desire to achieve. Somehow, it’s reverse logic in which it’s seen as a weakness.

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