1. Thin Air
Love. “Love is free”. Anathema opens their 2010 album “We’re Here Because We’re Here” in grand style and crescendo. “Thin Air” is an ode to love. To courage. To things that last.
“And it feels like we’re already flying/ But the air is too thin and we’re dying/ The clouds all around take us higher/ the world far below is on fire”. The world isn’t perfect. Far from it, in fact. Love. Love is something that lasts, even through the storms of life. I get the idea that the title of this song refers to two things. First, the thin air refers to the shallow breathing of lovers that feel their hearts beating out of their chests. I’ve been there, and still am. The sweaty palms. The butterflies in my stomach. The thin air.
Yet, thin air also refers to something else far more serious. When truly in love, you feel like you are flying. The air can be thin, sometimes. The world can try to bring you down, try to snuff you out. To have someone so close and that will share this life with you—that is priceless. They can keep you flying when you are about to fall.
“Thin Air” is not just an ode to love, then. It is a tribute to lasting, selfless love that transcends circumstances and time: soulmates. “You’re just a whisper away”.
2. Summernight Horizon
“In the moonlight/ Moonlight’s pale embrace/ To know the space between us/ The space between us”. The second track off of “WHBWH” is somewhat vague, but I feel as if it is a transitional track of sorts.
I think the track is borrowing some of the ethereal imagery of flight from the first track to endow this “Summernight Horizon” with a sense of the love and awe felt in personal relationships. However, this song seems to touch on something even more metaphysical: the relationship between all living things.
“Fly in a dream so high/ Feel so alive/ The world is like a jewel in your eyes/ One life – Feel it”. Indeed, Anathema feels that there is an innate connection between all living things. This connection has its source in the space inside each of us—the band certainly does not espouse a naturalist worldview. They believe in a soul or spirit or something of that ilk, and it connects us to each other and the universe as if we were all one life and one being.
This pantheistic idea has some truth to it, and I personally believe we are all connected and that we are all a family. Obviously, I don’t believe in some impersonal spirituality in the universe in which our collective being could be dubbed “God”, but I do believe Anathema has hit upon some truly amazing truths that they will explore even further as this album progresses.
3. Dreaming Light
The next track on this wondrous Anathema album happens to be one of my favorite songs. This video is also one of the best music videos I’ve ever seen (my kids love it, too). This song also happens to be one of the most uplifting songs you’ll find, though it has a dark side.
The dark side, however, is merely the starting point. This video does a great job of showing the loneliness, chaos, decadence, and crisis that is part of the human condition. And we run from it. And we hide. We are so alone.
“And you shine inside/ And love stills my mind like the sunrise/ Dreaming light of the sunrise”. Anathema does a great job of relating nature to human emotions. I’m sure this is yet another way of showing how we are connecting inextricably to the universe around us, but it also somehow comes across as deeper and more enlightening.
The theme of this song, then, seems to be that love and human unity will help us get through the storms of life. It will heal our hurts and our hearts, and it will become our world in and of itself. In a world of love and companionship, chaos has no power over us. “So live your dream beneath the northern horizon/ Be at peace, set your heart in flight again/ For the light is truth…/ The light is you…”
“Needed time to clear my mind/ Breathe the free air, find some peace there/ I used to keep my heart in jail,/ but the choice was love or fear of pain,/ and I chose love”. It’s at this point that Anathema begins to delve into some more profound concepts that are all based on this fascination with love and connection. “Everything” is a song about the universe. It’s also a song about you and me.
There are sad people traveling this world of ours. These emotional nomads are looking for something—anything—to fill the void in their very being. Yet, all along, Anathema asserts, they have been doing themselves a disservice. They have been locking out their own hearts from tapping into the energy at the heart of everything in existence. “‘Cause everything is energy/ and energy is you and me/ Everything is energy/ and you and me”.
When someone that is lost and alone finally sees the truth, it is like a sunbeam shining through a window into their soul. They can see purpose and meaning in their lives now, and they can embrace the connections they share with all human beings. Indeed, why hate when we are all the same? Why fight when we are all in the same boat?
5. Angels Walk Among Us
Honestly, I disagree to some extent. To put trust in one’s self is rather foolish, not to mention vain and arrogant at times. It also seems like this song contradicts the basic feelings of “Thin Air”. Anyways, are there angels that walk among us? I’m not so sure about that. But I do believe in a spiritual world where our Creator may reach down and gently revive our spirits. For me, then, it is not ourselves that we must trust to heal our insides, but God himself. Sometimes, that takes the form of willpower and self-love, though. Take that as you will.
7. A Simple Mistake
“Time can be the answer, take a chance or lose it all/ It’s a simple mistake to make, to create love and to fall/ So rise and be your master, ‘cause you don’t need to be a slave/ of memory ensnared in a web, in a cage”. You see, when we free our minds from worrying about the future, we can free ourselves from the shackles of the past, too. Take a chance at love—at freedom. Take a chance at faith and hope. Don’t listen to what the world tells you to fear, to hate, or to be. It is such a simple mistake to get so lost in all the wrong things. If you choose to remain in your chains, a slave you will be forevermore.
8. Get Off, Get Out
Push yourself out of the equation. Start focusing on the the universe as a whole, organic being. Stop living to please yourself, and you might find yourself happier than ever.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” ~ John 17:20-23
You know me, though. While I agree with all of this, I can’t help but point out that nature is not truly balanced or gracious. It isn’t always beautiful or peaceful. Sometimes, nature can be downright hideous and brutal; murderous and predatory. There’s something missing to this whole picture that Anathema has offered. Or, rather, it’s missing Someone. It’s easy to miss the beauty and connection in a world that is purely accidental: It’s hard to miss the beauty and connection in a universe that has its very being in a Master Creator.