Top positive review
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Pretty much the best album you are ever likely to hear
on 9 November 2012
Ok, so from the go, as in hearing Self-Starter and Someone Anyone back in the summer, I was pretty sure this album would be something special. Anberlin have never failed to disappoint me in the past. I've been a fan for a short time in truth, not three years yet, but in that time they have gone from one cover song I adore to, songs I can't stop listening to, to albums I need constantly, to one of my favourite bands, and finally coming to rest as my favourite band of all time. I quickly collected their five previous albums and was blown away each time. They just keep getting better!
Through all that though, I was not prepared for Vital. I was excited for this album, very excited. I put it on for the first time. Self-Starter came on, a song I thought wouldn't ever be topped. Approximately forty minutes later, I ate my words without regret.
I had to go get a hug after my first listening. I actually had to sit away from the album for ten minutes. It physically shook me. I mean that in a good way, this album hit me in ways no music has before, including previous Anberlin. This was something different. I went and listened again, carefully this time, taking in each song.
This is a necessary album for any Anberlin fan. If you love the band, or just like them, you need this album. Some bands have a peak album then get worst. Anberlin are still peaking. Buy this.
If you haven't heard Anberlin yet, still, get this! If you start your collection with this, I promise, the other albums will not be a let down. They are all great, but this is the sort of album I can't see anyone not liking (who isn't at drastic ends of the music spectrum anyway). It's the best thing 2012 has to offer.
If you want a bit more insight into the album, here's what I have to say about each track:
Self-Starter: What can I say? It's a masterpiece and the perfect opener for this album. There's something loud, fierce and new about this, but it's so signature. Julia Marie adds so much to this, her and Stephen's voices were made to be together. Just a really amazing song. Haunting.
Little Tyrants: I wasn't expecting this. It's a pure rock and roll track. It really hits home. Different, but still really very good. No complaints. Someone Anyone was billed at the political track, but this is just as much I'd say.
Other Side: Now here is something more like you'd expect on an Anberlin album. It slows a bit here, there's some synth, and it completes the feel of the album. It's more of a desperation song than a love song, and though it's more gentle than the first two tracks it burns. These first three tracks tell you exactly what to expect: something vital.
Someone Anyone: Would you believe me if I said this was one of my least favourite tracks? Because it's brilliant. I love the concept, I love the lyrics, I love the sound, I really just love this song. And in my opinion, it's one of the least strong, which is amazing for such a STRONG SONG.
Intentions: This is a great song. It's like a perfect cross between Little Tyrants and Other Side. It's also a song you could easily dance to, it has a very good beat and there's something deliciously sinful and selfish about the lyrics.
Innocent: I had to listen to this a few times to get properly into it, but I'm glad I did. It's a beautiful, slow, sweet, gentle song, the likes of Inevitable. At first hearing it's simple and sweet. It's a soft break in the middle of the storm of Vital, but the more you hear it, the more you feel the lyrics hold the same fierceness. Something bad has happened to the subject of this song, but the speaker has learnt from it.
Desires: another very strong rock song. There's almost an angry bark to this, there's nothing rational about it. There's no love for the antagonist of this song. Such a violent thrust back into the turbulent of this album, I love it.
Type Three: I heard this before, on youtube, they played it live. I was so pleased to hear it on the album. I think we always expect the speaker in songs to be in the right, but the more you listen to this, the more you feel he might not be, that something is not quite right here. It's another slow song, but really not at all as sweet at Innocent. There's something dark about this.
Orpheum: Probably my least favourite track, but as you've realised, that means it's still great. It's something very different, it has a sound which seems slightly...I'm not sure. There's an unsettling, one-note-off feel to it that I love. Not the sort of song I'd listen to on shuffle, but perfect for the album. Happy, fast. bubbly.
Modern Age: I adore this song. From the first note I went "Self-Starter's beaten". It has the very rock song vibe that this album has, but there's a lot of classic Anberlin in there. The chorus lyrics ring on a very personal level, I've got them written on the back of my door. I...I'm not even sure. Oh my.
God, Drugs and Sex: As fans will know, with the exception of Blueprints for the Blackmarket, Anberlin always end their albums on an epic. Songs which must be five minutes or more and include the best composition and powerful lyrics. Dance, Dance Christa Paffgen (Never Take Friendship Personal) is some of the best lyric writing I've heard, filled with addictive emotion. (*Fin) (Cities) is...the most beautiful hymn I've heard. Miserabile Visu (ex malo bonum) (New Surrender) is an epic story which should be shouted from the edges of the earth. And Depraved (Dark is the Way, Light is a Place) was until Vital my favourite song, lyrics which cut and notation which chilled me to the bone. And I agree with previous reviewers, maybe God, Drugs and Sex isn't as musically brilliant or lyrically inspired as (*Fin) or the others.
But I still think I prefer it. It's a song about the loss of love and trust from a relation and the differences of two people. I don't think barriers were meant to be broken here. But the mix of Stephen and Christie DuPree's angel sweet voice is like taking a bite of Snow White's apple. It's the last half of the song though, with the gang vocals of the rest of the band. The music here is hauntingly beautiful, in fact, I've already decided I want the notation tattooed on me, I've never heard something I loved more. It goes perfectly with the simple mantra "Let go of me, I'm not here. Let go of me now, I'm already gone."
I've only heard one b-side so far, Unstable, and it's easily as good as the rest of the album. It's just the perfect album. I'm not sure you can get better than this.