“Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl” by Broken Social Science
This lyrical presentation of “Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl” is so vague and repetitive that it can be interpreted in a number of ways. But it has been ascertained that what we’re dealing with here is the case of a vocalist who is reminiscing on her youth, i.e. comparing her current self to how she was at the age of 17.
And even with such an understanding in tow, confidently interpreting this piece still leaves something to be desired due to the liberal usage of pronouns and lingo in general.
That said the vocalist, albeit artistically, comes off as someone who perhaps feels as many of us do when harping back to our youth. That is to say that she recognizes her younger self as having been more free-spirited and unconcerned with the status quo, so to speak.
That is not to imply that in doing so she delves deeply into her current lifestyle. But it is firmly established in the first verse (and reiterated in the outro) that whereas Emily was “rotten” as a 17 year old, looking back she appreciates that attitude versus what she has become since.
But she also understands that side is “all gone” and “not coming back”, and what it has been replaced with instead is someone who for instance is preoccupied with wearing makeup.
So in conclusion this reads like a song in which, most simply put, the vocalist is lamenting having matured/aged. And her disposition would be based on perceiving her younger self, as different as she may have been, as also being her truer self.
Facts about “Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl”
Broken Social Scene is an indie act from Toronto. The band’s size is known to fluctuate very often. At the time this song was dropped, the musical collective, as they are classified, was 18 members’ deep.
“Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl” has an official release date of 15 October 2002.
Eight members of Broken Social Scene are credited with writing “Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl”. They are:
- Brendan Canning
- John Crossingham
- Kevin Drew
- Emily Haines (the vocalist, who was 28 at the time)
- Jessica Moss
- Justin Peroff
- Charles Spearin
- James Shaw
And the producer of the track is one of their bandmates, David Newfeld.
This song was released as part of Broken Social Scene’s second studio album, “You Forgot It in People” (2002). Said project, which was issued through Arts & Crafts Productions, failed to chart but was well received by professional music critics.
In a NYC performance celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2022, Broken Social Scene were joined in rendering “Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl” by British comedy legend Tracey Ullman and Hollywood A lister Meryl Streep.