The Soundtrack of our Lives: A Steve Baltin Book Review

by - November 03, 2022

Southern-California based author and journalist Steve Baltin has lived a life most writers dream of. With bylines in Rolling Stone, Billboard, Playboy and more, he has had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interview many music legends.

His latest book, Anthems We Love: 29 Iconic Artists On The Hit Songs That Shaped Our Lives, examines anthems from The Temptations to My Chemical Romance and answers the question: what transforms a song into an anthem?

Interviews with these artists reveal their creative processes, making the reader feel as though they were sitting in the room during a writing session or backstage at a show. While it offers a behind-the-scenes look at the songs, it mostly shares how the song grew in popularity and how fans made them personal. Songs are meant to transport someone back to a certain time - a wedding, a high school graduation, a first love - and reading about how these artists watched their songs grow into something beyond their imaginations is fascinating.

“If you’ve ever bounced along to TLC’s ‘Scrubs’ in your car on a girls’ night out, acted out a three-act play in your head to My Chemical Romance’s ‘The Black Parade,’ or swooned to Barry Manilow’s ‘Could It Be Magic,’ and wondered, How did these anthemic songs come to be? - join the club!” singer-songwriter Deborah Gibson wrote as praise for Anthems We Love. “Steve Baltin so brilliantly takes you deep into an insightful journey of these songs from inception to recording and beyond… So many fascinating artists and songs that are woven into the soundtrack of our lives in a new and unique way that will leave you hungry for a next edition. This book resonates with me as a songwriter, but more importantly, it hits home for the music fan that lives in all of us!”

In the foreword written by fellow journalist Cameron Crowe, he shares his belief that most great anthems start as a want to please everyone, and when that backfires, a song emerges that was meant for one person but instead resonates with the world. Having a song that means so much to someone is widely discussed, whether they are sharing the song with their friends or seeing the song performed live while standing next to a group of strangers, but hardly ever have the artists delved deep into what it was like for them to watch fans make those songs their own.

“I have done thousands of interviews over the years and one of the most common refrains, no matter how big the artist, is songs are like children,” Baltin said in a press release. “Anthems is what happens when those songs have grown up. All 29 of these songs have gone into the world and been a huge part of people’s lives, whether they’ve been played at weddings, funerals, births. And my favorite part of writing this book was hearing from the artists how they’ve been moved - and even shocked - by the way these songs have become part of the fabrics of listeners’ worlds in ways the artist could never have imagined. Anthems proves that when a song leaves the nest, it becomes the world’s.”

Anthems We Love: 29 Iconic Artists On The Hit Songs That Shaped Our Lives is available here.

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