Anthem (Less Than Jake album)

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anthem.
Studio album by Less Than Jake
Released May 20, 2003
Recorded Piety Street Recording in New Orleans, Morning View Studios in Malibu
Genre Ska punk, pop punk, punk rock
Length 42:52
41:17 (Japanese Version)
Label Sire
Producer Rob Cavallo
Less Than Jake chronology
Borders and Boundaries
(2000)
Anthem
(2003)
B Is for B-sides
(2004)
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (71/100)[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[2]
Alternative Press 4/5 stars[1]
Blender 2/5 stars[1]
Playlouder 3/5 stars[3]
Q 3.5/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[4]

Anthem (stylized as anthem.) is the fifth studio album by ska punk band Less Than Jake, released on May 20, 2003 on Sire, an imprint of Warner Bros. Records. Recording took place between October and December 2002 at Piety Street Recording in New Orleans, LA and Morning View Studio in Malibu, CA, with producer Rob Cavallo.

The album performed very well, debuting higher than any Less Than Jake album to date.[5] Songs released from the record include "She’s Gonna Break Soon" and "The Science of Selling Yourself Short", two of Less Than Jake's most commercially successful songs, and both of which became video singles. The album includes a re-recorded version of "Look What Happened" from the band's previous album, Borders & Boundaries, which omits the horn-driven bridge between the intro and first verse. Still another form of the song exists, used on the Grind soundtrack, omitting all horn section. The band continues to play the original version live.

The title of the album directly comes from a lyric in the song "Screws Fall Out", but also from its use among the band to describe a powerful song that the band can rally behind, similar to "My Very Own Flag" and "Gainesville Rock City" from Pezcore and Borders & Boundaries respectively. Bassist, Roger Manganelli, often jokes that the title was selected by the band writing down every single word in the English language, crossing out words until "Anthem" was the only one left uncrossed.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Welcome to the New South"   2:46
2. "The Ghosts of Me and You"   3:21
3. "Look What Happened"   3:06
4. "The Science of Selling Yourself Short"   3:07
5. "Short Fuse Burning"   2:19
6. "Motown Never Sounded So Good"   2:38
7. "The Upwards War and the Down Turned Cycle"   2:59
8. "Escape From the A-Bomb House"   3:31
9. "Best Wishes to Your Black Lung"   2:54
10. "She's Gonna Break Soon"   3:14
11. "That's Why They Call It a Union"   3:03
12. "Plastic Cup Politics"   2:17
13. "The Brightest Bulb Has Burned Out/Screws Fall Out"   4:54
14. "Surrender" (bonus track) 3:43
Japanese Version
No. Title Length
14. "A.S.A.O.K." (replaces bonus track "Surrender") 2:08

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2003) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard 200[6] 45

Artwork[edit]

The CD packaging included a different piece of artwork for each track except "Surrender", and two additional pieces not attached to a specific song, but still present and credited in the booklet. Each song's lyrics are printed on the back of a piece of artwork, but no lyrics are provided for "Surrender". The art direction was done by Vinnie Fiorello and Wendy Dougan, with Fiorello creating the concept for the CD booklet and Dougan designing the booklet itself. Most notable are a piece by Shepard Fairey of Obey Giant for "The Upwards War and the Down Turned Cycle" and Chip Wass's design for "The Science of Selling Yourself Short". The latter would inspire the music video for "The Science Of Selling Yourself Short" and be immortalized as a toy in Less Than Jake drummer Vinnie's Monkey Vs. Robot collection.

Cover Artwork
  • Concept by Stephanie Allen
  • Artwork by Erik Davison
Song Artwork
  • "Welcome to the New South" by Jeff Soto
  • "The Ghosts of Me And You" by Steve Vance
  • "Look What Happened" by Wendy Ann Garbner
  • "The Science of Selling Yourself Short" by Chip Wass
  • "Short Fuse Burning" by Florenzio Zavala
  • "Motown Never Sounded So Good" by Kurt Halsey Fredericksen
  • "The Upwards War and the Down Turned Cycle" by Shepard Fairey
  • "Escape From the A-Bomb House" by David Choe
  • "Best Wishes to Your Black Lung" by Alison Zawacki
  • "She's Gonna Break Soon" by Mitch O'Connell
  • "That's Why They Call It a Union" by Peter Wonsowski
  • "Plastic Cup Politics" by Scott Sinclair
  • "The Brightest Bulb Has Burned Out" by Camille Rose Garcia
  • "Screws Fall Out" by Speed Scott Hall
Additional Artwork
  • Jason Miracle
  • Shawn Hall

Personnel[edit]

  • Luis Conte - additional percussion
  • Jamie Muhoberac - additional keyboards
  • Heather Tabor - backup vocals ("Look What Happened")

Reception[edit]

Anthem is, commercially, the band's most successful to date; the album debuted at #45 on the Billboard 200 (the band's highest to date), spent 12 weeks on the Billboard 200, and debuted at #7 for Top Internet Albums. "The Science of Selling Yourself Short" was a last-minute idea for the record, and turned out to be the band's most successful song to date (#36 Billboard Modern Rock Chart).

Allusions[edit]

  • The guitar riff to "Short Fuse Burning" is a tribute to AC/DC's "Thunderstuck"
  • "Best Wishes To Your Black Lung" is written about Pete Anna, who left the band to go back to Chicago after Borders & Boundaries to become a firefighter
  • "The Brightest Bulb Has Burned Out" was written about Carter Graham, as was "Is This Thing On?"
  • A version of "The Brightest Bulb Has Burned Out" which features Billy Bragg singing the second verse appears on the compilation album Rock Against Bush, Vol. 1.
  • The band covers Cheap Trick's "Surrender" on the album.

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Critic reviews at Metacritic
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ Playlouder review at the Wayback Machine (archived June 3, 2003)
  4. ^ Rolling Stone review at the Wayback Machine (archived January 1, 2008)
  5. ^ AllMusic Charts: Anthem Accessed 19 October 2007
  6. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/anthem-mw0000028556

External links[edit]