Summer is the time for anthems. Just check out this article on Strangers In Stereo all about it. One very important anthem – and one that is highly celebrated in the summer – was missing from that list though: the national anthem. That and the pledge of allegiance (for everyone still in grade school) are the only ways we honor our nation year round. With our nation’s birthday coming up this weekend, however, I started thinking to myself – what actually makes an anthem?

Every year – multiple times a year – certain songs are declared to be anthems, or “anthemic”. Summer anthems, break up anthems, girl power anthems, lots of fist pumping alt rock. But what is it that takes them to the next level? Is it the melody? Lyrics? Vocals? Guitar riffs? A good hook? A good build? If you can dance to it? Or is it purely timing?

I sure as hell don’t know, but here are a few songs all considered “anthems” over the years. What do you think?

Happy Birthday USA: Oh Say Can You See… by tadpole of july

And perhaps one of the most iconic versions of our own Star Spangled Banner: