Used to be the one of the rotten ones
And I liked you for that
Now you're all gone, got your make-up on
And you're not coming back

Bleachin' your teeth, smiling flash
Talking trash, under your breath
Bleachin' your teeth, smiling flash
Talking trash, under my window

Park that car, drop that phone,
Sleep on the floor, dream about me

Used to be the one of the rotten ones
And I liked you for that
Now you're all gone, got your make-up on
And you're not coming back


Lyrics submitted by fallacies, edited by krosm, sarahnorthway

Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl song meanings
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  • +7
    General CommentI was listening to Anthems... this evening and a new perspective hit me. Not only is she talking about adolescence in general, but about her's in particular. The older, "grown-up" version is looking back lovingly at the person she was growing up, the person that turned into what she is now. She uses the second-person pronouns to refer to the young girl to not only separate her from herself, but to allow the audience to more easily identify with her.

    Brilliant.
    botono9on March 02, 2005   Link
  • +6
    General CommentIt seems that all the guys seem to be saying that the girl is singing about a guy. Wishful thinking. The song is actually about a 17 year old girl who had someone she looked up to who spent time with her. This someone was a female, could be in the form of an older friend, older sister, etc. As she grew up, the other girl, being the older one, naturally moved on and left the childhood/adolescent years behind and moved into her adult life. Got a car, got a job, always on the phone, bleaches teeth, wears make-up, becomes too busy for the young girl who is left a little bit lost and confused.

    My younger sister, who is 17, feels this way. Me being ten years her senior, I no longer have the time to horse around and have had to put away the childish things.
    universe111on January 26, 2011   Link
  • +5
    Lyric CorrectionThis is the full set of lyrics from start to finish--the entire song, not just the verses squashed together. These are the lyrics in its entirety--no skipping, no miscounting, nothing. This is it. I hope I helped. :)

    Used to be the one of the rotten ones
    And I liked you for that
    Used to be the one of the rotten ones
    And I liked you for that
    Used to be the one of the rotten ones
    And I liked you for that

    Now you're all gone, got your make-up on
    And you're not coming back
    Can't you come back?


    Used to be the one of the rotten ones
    And I liked you for that
    Used to be the one of the rotten ones
    And I liked you for that
    Used to be the one of the rotten ones
    And I liked you for that

    Now you're all gone, got your make-up on
    And you're not coming back

    Bleachin' your teeth, smiling flash
    Talking trash, under your breath
    Bleachin' your teeth, smiling flash
    Talking trash, under your breath
    Bleachin' your teeth, smiling flash
    Talking trash, under your breath
    Bleachin' your teeth, smiling flash
    Talking trash, under my window


    Park that car, drop that phone,
    Sleep on the floor, dream about me

    Park that car, drop that phone,
    Sleep on the floor, dream about me

    Park that car, drop that phone,
    Sleep on the floor, dream about me

    Park that car, drop that phone,
    Sleep on the floor, dream about me

    Park that car, drop that phone,
    Sleep on the floor, dream about me

    Park that car, drop that phone,
    Sleep on the floor, dream about me

    Park that car, drop that phone,
    Sleep on the floor, dream about me

    Park that car, drop that phone,
    Sleep on the floor, dream about me

    Park that car, drop that phone,
    Sleep on the floor, dream about me

    Park that car, drop that phone,
    Sleep on the floor, dream about me

    Park that car, drop that phone,
    Sleep on the floor, dream about me

    Park that car, drop that phone,
    Sleep on the floor, dream about me

    Park that car, drop that phone,
    Sleep on the floor, dream about me



    Park that car, drop that phone
    Park that car, drop that phone
    Park that car, drop that phone
    Park that car, drop that phone
    Park that car, drop that phone

    Used to be the one of the rotten ones
    And I liked you for that
    Now you're all gone, got your make-up on
    And you're not coming back
    shelizabethyon December 23, 2011   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI like the "Park that car, drop that phone, sleep on the floor, dream about me." Dunno why, probably because I wish there was a girl out there who wanted me to dream about her.
    WeGaveEmHellon November 29, 2004   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI think this song is about a woman looking back on how she used to be as a teenager.

    Used to be the one of the rotten ones
    And I liked you for that
    Now you're all gone, got your make-up on
    And you're not coming back

    Pretty obvious, she used to be rebellious and she liked that about her old self. Now she's grown up and has lost that side of herself. The line "got your make-up on" makes me think of her as being a smart businesswoman now. She knows she can't get her teenage self back again.

    Bleachin' your teeth, smiling flash
    Talking trash, under your breath (I'm sure it IS under your breath first time round!)

    Again, the bleaching teeth and smiling flash make me think of the businesswoman trying to impress others and make deals, always smiling fakely. Then the talking trash, under your breath is like she hasn't got the courage (or the lack of responsibility) to say what she really feels anymore, like she did when she was a teenager. She has to say it under her breath instead.

    Park that car
    Drop that phone
    Sleep on the floor
    Dream about me

    Ok, best verse! This just makes me see her having a breakdown, or moment of realization. Like, she's on the phone to some big business client (sorry, im obsessed with her being a businesswoman! :D) and then suddenly she just can't take it anymore so she just drops her phone, stops her car, curls up in the back seat and... dreams of her old self

    beautiful :)



    flozbozon February 03, 2009   Link
  • +4
    My InterpretationThe song is simple, in my opinion; a really relatable experience for a lot of people: A relationship is really innocent and close--then people grow up; they change; they grow apart.

    In the speaker's opinion: the other party is growing for the worse--they've become materialistic and shallow; they hide their real self from the world ("make up on" and "bleaching [their] teeth").

    The stanza about the car, phone, and floor: it's symbolic for the other party's materialism--by jettisoning a car, phone, and bed, the other party would be losing objects that now define their life. And by doing that, the party could "dream about" the speaker again (and a simpler time before that materialism).

    And I think that the title is a little tongue-and-cheek in that regard--I think that the "anthem" part of the title suggests how it's supposed to be almost cliche. High School Aged kids lose close friends all of the time as they near adulthood, and a common statement will be "oh, so-and-so was once a really close friend, but they have changed so much!"

    This song is about wanting that other person to miss your lost-friendship too ("dream about me").

    Also, there is nothing in the song to suggest it is about a romantic-relationship; it might be, but I almost believe it is about a platonic friendship (two girls, maybe). We are just conditioned to think of songs as being about romance before we really look at them closely.
    u2dyon August 23, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti love the repetition, gentle at first, then seeming to drive, to grind, to crush you.
    balalínon April 12, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Commenta street smart kid and her partner in crime, parter in crime gets caught by the plastic world.
    Courtney.25on April 07, 2005   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningThe emotional nuance of this song is spot on, which I think is the sadness in leaving childhood behind and attempts to make it last just a little bit longer. It's full of nostalgia. The narrative behind it goes like this: A young girl at the cusp of adolescence [adulthood is possible here too, the narrator here can be anywhere from 8-17], a time of confusion, enormous change, and general emotional tumult. Social links change too as people change, move away,attend different schools, etc. It can be hard to see an another [older?] childhood friend or a sister excited at the prospect of "growing up" so to speak who is moving into a different path in her life [figuratively and literally] and knowing that you can't share that with her and the sadness this separation brings. There is the feeling of being left behind and perhaps being forgotten in the process...

    In a nutshell, the narrator sees all the signs of maturation [learning to drive, putting makeup on, moving away to live alone, starting a different life] in her friend is generally accepting of it all, but hopes that she won't be forgotten in her fervent plea, to "dream about me". Alternatively the song is a retrospective of a younger self as a youth... to never forget...
    pragmaticon March 16, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI'm going to go with those that say it's about growing up :)

    To me, this is what your teenage self would say about you when they would see you later in life. Before you settled, but after you sold out and became part of "the system" I think it's both in first person and second person. First part is in first person, the rest in second (from the POV of your teenage self)

    "Used to be the one of the rotten ones
    And I liked you for that
    Now you're all gone, got your make-up on
    And you're not coming back"

    The first person part. You miss being crazy, principled, fun, "yourself" and non-comformist. But you've grown out of that because you got more responsible with age and pressured to be part of society.

    And then your teenage you says:

    "Bleachin' your teeth, smiling flash
    Talking trash, under your breath
    Bleachin' your teeth, smiling flash
    Talking trash, under my window"

    Criticizing your older self about what it has become. I think the "under my window" refers to how "the 17 year old girl" is still there and can hear everything that you're saying and doing.

    "Park that car, drop that phone"
    Sleep on the floor, dream about me"

    Be less "responsible/serious/grown-up" sometimes, let go ("sleep on the floor") and remember your old self ("dream about me").

    It sounds really mournful to me too.

    I think it's about your "17 year old self" because you're still technically a kid then, but you've already developed emotionally and intellectually. This is the most evolved "you" there is before you become an adult (turn 18).
    seaparlouron May 03, 2013   Link

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