’08 Reviews

I like Anberlin a whole lot.  I confess I have not heard their debut album but if it is anything like their sophmore release: Never Take Friendship Personal, or this, their third release: Cities, then I am sure I would be impressed yet again.

The problem with saying ”the third times’ a charm” is that they were great on their last album and by reading reviews about their first, they were good then as well.

Anberlin is one of those “quiet” Christian bands.  12 tracks coming in at about 47 minutes.  My favorite tracks being: The Unwinding Cable Car, Hello Alone, Alexithymia, and Inevitable.  I gave their Never Take Friendship Personal album to a friend to borrow and he said that they were too dark for him and thier new album can be the same way.  And for me, this is a good thing.  And yeah, there does seem to be a couple of troubling lines in a song or two, but i think they talk about real issues that all of us can face.  And instead of the standard christian fare of pain/jesus/hope all in a 3 1/2 minute song they are willing to explore more of the depths of pain and loneliness.  And that all of what we face doesn’t in real life get worked out in 3 or 4 minutes.

Case in point: one review (Christian site) was troubled by the song Hello Alone as majoring in ”loneliness and despair” and listed this, as part of their review, in their “objectional content” section of their review of the album.  Why is it that when a ”christian” band deals with loneliness and despair (or other issues) and doesn’t give a band-aide answer just to make the song end on a feel good note that they aren’t handling those issues in a right or responsible way?

This goes back to my frustration that many times, it seems, that christian bands are “forced” to have every song either talk about Jesus or deal with issues but then talk about how Jesus seemingly instantaneously makes everything better.  Anberlin doesn’t go that route and I think they will speak to a number of people because of that choice.  By the way, what the reviewer of the song Hello Alone doesn’t mention is that hope is introduced at the end of the song – but not in the Jesus makes everything better way.

Get the album, good stuff.

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