The title track from The Libertines forthcoming comeback album, Anthem For Doomed Youth, is perhaps the most exciting of the three singles they have released from the record so far. Whilst ‘Gunga Din’ blew away any inkling that the Libertines may have lost their artistic touch, ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’ has taken the band a step further – it elucidates a huge element of new-found maturity in Barat and Doherty’s song writing.
Musically, the single is reminiscent of The Libertines’ 2004 track, ‘Music When The Lights Go Out.’ It is driven by a heavily chord-based texture, which periodically builds into crescendo as the band come together as one to play a typically Libertines’ style chorus – melodic, catchy and powerful. This is very significant as it proves the band has the ability to stay true to its roots; if they can manage this level of loyalty to themselves on the album then there will be a huge amount of happy Libertines’ fans out there!
However, it is the lyrics that truly exemplify Barat and Doherty’s sheer talent. The track is a philosophical lament about youth. It tackles a number of issues that young people have faced – both historically and in modern times – ranging from conscription (the title of the track is actually taken from an anti-war poem by Wilfred Owen) to being thrown out of pubs on nights out. The most potent and ominous lyric is cleverly placed in the chorus: “We’re going nowhere / but nowhere’s on our way.” This forces the listener to ponder over the song’s message overall – the directionless, disillusioned and discordant state of youth.
In conclusion, The Libertines ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’ is possibly the most enthusing and interesting single released so far this year – one can only dream of an album that matches the standard of this tantalising title track.
Words by Harry Kite