Andrew Smiler wonders why there has never been a true “male anthem” in popular music.
Women have “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” by Cyndi Lauper and “Man! I feel Like a Woman!” by Shania Twain.
Guys? I’m not sure. I listen to a lot of music, especially pop music. In the three decades I’ve been listening, I can’t think of a song that talks about guys the way Cyndi and Shania talk about girls.
I’m starting to wonder if there are any “male anthems”—songs that the vast majority of guys can connect with, but relatively few girls will really “get.” It’s the kind of song that when it comes on, all the guys start singing along, but none of the women do.
Some female anthem songs are relationship songs. On the down side, there are things like Meredith Brooks’ “Bitch” and Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughtta Know.” Then there are songs like Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” and Kelly Clarkson’s “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)”. Admittedly, Clarkson’s song tells basically the same story as “I Will Survive,” just updated for a new century.
The late Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money” speaks to women’s strength to endure hardship.
At parties, women sing along and dance to these songs, but guys avoid these songs. Well, the straight guys anyway. Several of the effeminate gay men I know celebrate these songs the way that women do.
I don’t hear—and can’t really come up with—any songs that make me think “male anthem.” I know that there’s a subgenre of rap songs where the performers basically introduce themselves and talk about how great they are, but none of those seem like they have a broad enough appeal.
In fact, I’m not quite sure what a male anthem would sound like. The closest I can get are things like George Thorogood’s “Born to Be Bad,” but I think the only parties where I’ve heard that played—and sung loudly by a group of guys—happened in fraternity houses. Personally, I’m not sure that bad-ass image is something we should be celebrating. It certainly doesn’t really sound like a “good man.”
The Good Men Project has agreed to take nominations and help figure it out. Please leave your suggestions in the comments below. Give us the title and the artist’s name and we’ll do the rest. Remember that comments with 2 or more links are automatically held for moderation, so there may be a short time before they appear.
Deadline: July 27 (the opening of the Summer Olympics)
Photo of music instruments courtesy of Shutterstock