Album Spotlight: Anathema – “We’re Here Because We’re Here”


anathema cover

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.

“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”.

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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 transition track of sorts.  Here’s why.

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.

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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…”

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4. Everything

“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?

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5. Angels Walk Among Us

 “Mother, can you hear me?/ Can you tell me, are you there?/ Father, can you help me?/ ‘Cause I know that you care”  It must have been an angel.  Sometimes in life’s hardest moments, we assume that God has sent us an angel to cheer us, to give us a smile, to love us.  Sometimes we assume these things, but why?
Loved ones come and go, and we wish they could come back to us someday–if we could only see them one more time.  I know I miss my mother greatly.  In Anathema’s estimation, “Only you can heal your life/ Only you can heal inside/ Heal inside”.  Indeed, the band proposes we ourselves must find cheer.  We must heal ourselves.  And there are no angels that walk among us.

Honestly, I disagree.  To put trust in one’s self is rather foolish, not to mention vain and arrogant at times.  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.  Take that as you will.

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6. Presence

“Life is not the opposite of death. Death is the opposite of birth. Life is eternal.”  This sixth track on Anathema’s “We’re Here Because We’re Here” is possibly the most profound moment on the album.  The stumbling, endearing words of wisdom found therein reveal not only the band’s pantheistic beliefs, but also their hope and faith.
Indeed, life is eternal.  As the stated before, everything is energy, and, since energy is neither created nor destroyed, life is neither created nor destroyed.  Instead, death is the opposite of birth, as our lives will exist on and on in different forms.  “It’s there, and it’s going to be there, all the time, forevermore.”
Honestly, I completely agree with this track.  Life is eternal, though not on its own merit or under its own power.  No energy has that power.  It requires something outside of this universe to uphold it.  Perhaps the next life will be “pure consciousnesses, silence and stillness”.  I like to think it will be a kind of oneness with the presence of God.  Either way, life is eternal.

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7. A Simple Mistake

“See beyond”  One of the best tracks ever conceived by Anathema, “A Simple Mistake” is as thought-provoking as it is amazing musically. (Note: I’ve linked the DVD version of the song, as it is far superior to the album version).
So far, Anathema has been trying to convey a message: life is eternal and love is of vast importance in connecting to our true selves.  So, now, it’s time for application: Live your life!!!  See beyond the despair of this world and understand the greater picture.

“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.

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8. Get Off, Get Out

“It ain’t about yourself, get out of yourself/ Push it on out of yourself right out of sight”.  This little repetitive tune addresses something rather important to all of what Anathema is trying to say.  Get over yourself.
When approaching the concept of the oneness of the universe, when considering love and focusing on the good things in life; selfishness just doesn’t fit.  Look around you.  Advertisements are telling you to do something “because you’re worth it”.  Our humanistic educational system here in the USA is teaching kids to do what feels right for them, regardless of what others think (of course, they are taught what supposedly feels right, and, if anyone breaks the mold, they are persecuted).  Examples abound.

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.

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9. Universal

“Above the clouds,/ we flew to heaven/ Through the eye of the storm/ and into, to the light”.  Here it is: the grand climactic moment on “We’re Here Because We’re Here”.  Anathema in  “Universal” describes death, in essence.  All this talk about being connected spiritually comes to the moment where we all fly away from this place, and into the light.  Into the presence.  Into eternity.
The term “universal” is often applied to the idea that all people will end up at the same place in the afterlife.  It is a belief that every bundle of energy and consciousness will end up in a place of perfect love, communion, and peace.  And I really hope this is true—I really do.
Yet, I cannot help but disagree in the slightest.  I see this perfect place of rest as a place reserved for those that embrace this notion in the first place.  It’s for those that embrace their Creator and Jesus Christ; the Way, Truth, and Life by which we can be reconciled to God in the most spiritual sense.  Yes, this exists.  But, yes, I don’t believe in universality.  Though, my hope is that everyone comes to embrace the Truth.

“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

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10. Hindsight

“Intangible. Eternal. Without beginning nor end. The nameless, formless energy that permeates all living things”.  We’ve come to the end of this album from Anathema.  They have exhorted us to recognize the connection and meaning between all living things.  They have asked us to love and to look forward to a day when we will truly be free together.
Now, they reminisce about the joyous energy that flows through all living things: the gentle grace and balance of nature, so to speak.  They show us how a “sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all”, that is, our troubles and despair that have resulted from our one big mistake: letting ourselves lose the true connection and beauty all around us.

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.

anathema band

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One response to “Album Spotlight: Anathema – “We’re Here Because We’re Here”

  1. Pingback: Album Spotlight: Anathema – “We’re Here Because We’re Here” | Progarchy·

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