The Hit List: Anberlin
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When you think alternative rock, you probably think of bands like Green Day, Weezer, the Foo Fighters, and the White Stripes. When I think alternative rock, I automatically think of Florida fivesome Anberlin. Formed in the late 1990s, Anberlin has released five albums, three of which have made the top 20 in the Billboard 200 list of the most popular CDs. And yet, you probably don't know them, despite lead singer Stephen Christian's epic hairstyles (which I would love to have). Here's a few of their songs that should get you singing along.
1. Readyfuels: Anberlin signed to Tooth & Nail Records (my all-time favorite record label) in 2003 and released their first album, Blueprints for the Black Market, the same year. "Readyfuels" is one of the major hits from the album, and for good reason. The band's unique sound, which combines heavy guitars and driving drums with lead singer Stephen Christian's amazing voice, shows through in this song—the main guitar riff will get stuck in your head and you'll be singing "We're running hot tonight and it feels so good" for a little while afterwards.
2. Never Take Friendship Personal: The title track from the band's second album has an equally infectious riff, but the band takes a much more aggressive approach to their music, even going so far as to feature the lead singer from metal band Demon Hunter on this song. Christian also takes his voice to an awesome new level, combining his poppier style with some aggressive growls. It's still an awesome rock track, and the lyrics give you something to think about: "If you can't find yourself then how can I expect to find you?...The greatest tragedy is not your death, but that your life has no reason, that your life has no purpose!"
3. A Whisper and a Clamor: With their third album, Cities, Anberlin really found their groove in modern music. "A Whisper and a Clamor" is one of the band's best tracks from Cities. The lyrics are as profound as ever ("For those who live and breathe, hell is never knowing who they are now. Tell me who you are now."), Stephen's vocals have matured, and the riff that backs it all is catchy and is definitely going to get stuck in your head. So clap your hands, all yea children.
4. Feel Good Drag: After leaving Tooth & Nail, Anberlin signed with Universal Republic Records, where they now reside among artists like Enrique Iglesias, Colbie Caillat, and Owl City. But they didn't change their tune on their fourth album (and first on Universal) New Surrender, keeping their signature style while maturing even further. Case in point: "Feel Good Drag," the band's all-time biggest hit. This song was originally on Friendship, but this re-recorded version drops some of the aggression and shows more of Christian's amazing voice while hitting you in the face with heavy drums and driving guitars.
5. Impossible: The band's latest, Dark is the Way, Light is a Place, brings some controversy over whether it's a true Anberlin CD or not, but as long as I'm listening to "Impossible," I can stay out of that debate. One of my friends called this song "80's new wave without the synthesizers," and I agree. The band lightens up the guitars for this song and leaves most of the work to Christian, and he does an amazing job of holding it all together as he sings a well-written love/hate song: "You make my teeth clench and my hands shake...you're wearing me out, but I'm wearing you down. Take what you want from me; it means nothing now. You're not so easy to forgive, harder to forget." Anberlin's lyrical styles come to a peak with this song, and they don't show any signs of slowing down. Anberlin has been around for eight years and it doesn't look like they're going to stop any time soon. Anyone can relate to their lyrics and their music will leave you begging for more.
Do you listen to Anberlin?
Related post: The Hit List