Ranking Anberlin’s Discography
March 14, 2011Posted by on
The interesting thing about being a fan of indie labels and indie bands is what to do when a small time band makes it big. Maybe it’s too early to say that Anberlin “made it”, but they’ve come a long way over the course of five albums. The question remains, however, do we applaud their success or long for the old days? Let’s take a look.
#5 New Surrender
To say this was anything less than a “miss” for the band would be to sell a statement short of the truth. Some will say that this was a huge success thanks to a hit single and pretty good album sales, while others will say it was an artistic travesty. The reality is somewhere in the middle, as album sales are often based on hype, but this isn’t the total train wreck that some would want to paint the picture into being. The album starts off well, kind of wanes in the middle, and finishes strong with an enjoyable closer in “Miserabile Visu (Ex Malo Bonum)”.
#4 Blueprints for the Black Market
It is simply amazing that this is a debut release, with the maturity and tightness that the band at such young ages. Sure, some of the guys had been in a pop-punk band together, named Sagoh 24/7, but that was abandoned for something that would actually last. This early album is highlighted by youthful angst in songs like “Readyfuels” and “Glass to the Arson”, as well as the ballad “Autobahn”, showing off the pure voice of Stephen Christian, as well as poetic lyricism.
#3 Never Take Friendship Personal
The sophomore output isn’t all that different from it’s predecessor in quality, but amps up the pop feel for a slightly more aesthetically pleasing experience for those who don’t want to work so hard on getting into something. Highlighted by “Paperthin Hymn” and “A Day Late”, the real benefit from this album for the band comes in the form of the original version of “The Feel Good Drag”, which would later come to be their biggest hit when re-recorded for New Surrender.
#2 Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place
Believe it or not, I did not take points off for the title of the album, which is impossible for me to remember, causing me to look up the title every single time, or refer to it as Dark/Light. Working with Brendan O’Brien as producer made all the difference, drawing out Christian’s vocals as the center piece, Dark/Light is a pure pop/rock album in the way of the mid-90’s, with the hit song “Impossible” and the follow up single “Closer”, but personally I’m a big fan of the angst-driven “To The Wolves”. This is their biggest commercial success as far as chart positions go, but that doesn’t mean it quite makes number one in our hearts.
While you may feel free to disagree, the general consensus (and my own personal opinion) is that this isn’t simply Anberlin’s best album to date, and one difficult to top, but also one of the best albums a Christian band has to offer this generation. Starting off with one of the few instrumental tracks worth listening to on an alternative rock album, the album segues into the aggressive “Godspeed”, an astonishing opening that sets the pace for a ground breaking album. The dark mood and lyricism found in Cities pounds through a collection of song explosions, such as “Adelaide”, “The Unwinding Cable Car” and “Dismantle. Repair.”, up until the absolutely epic closer of the indiscernible “(*fin)”
There’s my list, what would yours look like?