Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Anberlin leaves listeners in the “Dark” with new album

Have you ever found yourself in the
situation were a friend is crying inconsolably in your arms over a recent lost
love, and you stand there looking up at the sky asking yourself, “What did I do
to deserve this?” Then, in the sake of trying to be a good friend, you sit
there speechless and wait for the emotionally charged situation to end so you
can both move on with your lives. If the answer is no, then you should consider
listening to Anberlin’s new album, Dark is the way, Light is the place, so
you understand how it feels. With this second release under Universal Republic
Records, Anberlin will probably break the hearts of screaming pre-teens around
the world, but after 41 minutes of listening to ambiguous songs whining about
lost love and broken friendships, you too will find yourself asking, “What did
I do to deserve this?”

In, Dark Is A Way, Light Is A
Anberlin tries to create this idea of darkness being a means to
finding the light, but they often times kept the listener in the dark as to
what they were singing about. Their failed ability to develop a concrete
concept behind their music affected their overall delivery. You can see this in songs such as, “To
the Wolves.” It starts out with a cool battle between a pop fusion waah-waahs
and hard rock power chords. This
song is clearly a better song in the album, but then they start singing, “Who
needs enemies when we’ve got friends like you?” The song turns into an overly
emotional ballad about some about a vague bitter friendship.  In “Art of War,” a funky drum and
metallic guitar beats open to a pipe organ, a creative and promising beginning.
But then they begin singing, “Because of you I’ll never write another love
song…You’re no good at what you said you’d do to me.” You can’t help but think,
“Ugh, Anberlin, stop pitying yourself and move on.” By the time you get to the end of the album, all the songs
mesh together in this stagnant message about the truth in love and friendship,
and how it isn’t always glorious. 
It is like they tried hard to make the listener understand the emotional
depth behind the message, but it just turned out to be superficial and lame;
like they faked it all.

Regardless of Anberlin’s
semi-generic message and repetitive lyrics, they did well in certain parts of
some songs. Like in the track “We
Owe This to Ourselves,” where, even though they keep repeating the song title, the
music is all right. The guitar is cold and they have a piano-like harmony and
simple drum beats to keep the song moving. When lead vocalist Stephen Christian
comes on, he sounds like he is singing on top of a mountain, working magic with
the tone of the song. Then in “You
Belong Here,” the band opens up with a light sound that resonates from one side
of your body to another, finally settling deep in your chest-they already have
you captivated before the singing even begins. However, Where Anberlin truly shines
in this album was in their ability to work the dynamics of each song. You can see how they kept the music
moving in their infectious hit single, “Impossible,” where they take you from crazy
breakdown, build you back up to insane heights, and then tear you back down
like an alternative-rock rollercoaster.


If one thing could be said about
Anberlin’s new album,Dark is a Way, Light is a Place, it is that they
tried. They tried to make
listeners understand the some greater depth to life, but failed to convey
sincerity with pride. They tried to form an alternative rock identity, but
instead shaped an emo-pop-rock identity in crisis. They tried show us the way
to light, but only kept us in the dark were we ask ourselves, “Where is the soulful
passion? Where is the gut wrenching truth? Where is the mind blowing message?”
But Instead Anberlin has given the world another hyped up CD that has to be
flipped through in-order to find the good stuff.

1.5 Stars

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