So why is The Libertines’ Anthems for Doomed Youth on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?
Recently, in a piece ostensibly about Jamiroquai’s Travelling Without Moving (#377 of best 1,000 albums ever), I made sure to note that for me, The Libertines are a band that feels like living in England.
I was talking about The Libertines circa Up the Bracket (#599) from 2002 and particularly the stellar self-titled album from 2004 (spoiler: I haven’t covered this one as of this writing, but stay tuned).
Considering the tumultuous history of the band – particularly Pete Doherty’s well-known issues with drugs – it’s notable alone that The Libertines were able to eventually get back together to produce their first studio album in over a decade.
But what’s remarkable is how great Anthems for Doomed Youth is. And part of its greatness is that it’s not just more of the same we came to know, which might have been pleasing enough. Instead, it’s a wiser, more mature, and world-weary band that you can hear conveyed through both the sound and the lyrics.
I’m pretty floored by the quiet, contemplative, and delicate* “You’re My Waterloo.”
* The Libertines are now delicate, my brain wants to scream in question? And then it answers: yes, and it’s fantastic. And yeah, my brain has such conversations with itself, it’s a whole thing that likely needs looking into, but we’ll get to that another time.
The piano part is measured, pretty, and a bit melancholy. And I absolutely love the first line.
You’ll never fumigate the demons
No matter how much you smoke
And it’s a fascinating concept, if a bit a bummer, the notion that for two people embroiled in a relationship, each is the other’s final defeat – the place or time or situation where a final unsuccessful stand takes place.
When a song can put me in a mood and frame of mind to think about such a concept, I know I’m completely won over.
On songs like “Fame and Fortune” and the title track, “Anthem for Doomed Youth,” The Libertines show as usual their ability to produce some of the best melodies in rock music, and I remain a big fan of Pete Doherty’s vocals. It’s still rock music for sure, with the edges not so much smoothed down from the band’s early years but more worn down, but in a good way. Like settling into a comfortable old leather couch or taking a seat at a table at an established café or pub where you know the vibes are going to be super legit.
And “Barbarians” feels like an early era Libertines track in some respects, except it’s a bit groovier, and dare I say it has a bit more soul.
And I must admit that there are many days that I can get with lyrics like the following.
All I want is to scream out loud
And have it up with a mental crowd
‘Cause I believe somehow
The world’s f—ed but it won’t get me down
Other stuff that has something to do with The Libertines’ Anthems for Doomed Youth
When Waterloo is mentioned, it typically refers to the famous Battle of Waterloo of 1815, where Napoleon Bonaparte and the French were defeated by the Duke of Wellington’s English and other allied armies. Via the UK’s National Army Museum website, the Battle of Waterloo was, “the decisive battle of its age” and goes on to note that, “…it concluded a war that had raged for 23 years, ended French attempts to dominate Europe, and destroyed Napoleon’s imperial power forever.”
Some stats & info about The Libertines – Anthems for Doomed Youth
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Alternative Rock, Punk Rock, Punk Revival
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 3.5 out of 5 stars
- When was Anthems for Doomed Youth released? 2015
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #369 out of 1,000
The Libertines’ Anthems for Doomed Youth on Spotify
A lyrical snippet from The Libertines’ Anthems for Doomed Youth that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe
We’re going nowhere, but nowhere, nowhere’s on our way.
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.