Anberlin
Never Take Friendship Personal


4.0
excellent

Review

by H. USER (119 Reviews)
March 1st, 2014 | 53 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Over and over, these thoughts run through my head.

Chapter II: This Time Anberlin Gets Personal

Every band has that one song that becomes the subject of debate and criticism. Maybe it’s the song that launched them into the mainstream, or perhaps it was the one that saw them deviating from their typical sound. Anberlin’s claim to fame came when “Feel Good Drag” reached the top of the charts – in 2009. There’s been endless arguing over whether the original version of the song (titled “The Feel Good Drag”) on Never Take Friendship Personal or the rewritten one on New Surrender is better, and while each side has its own pros and cons, the dispute over which variant of the track has seemed to overshadow the greatness of the song itself. Stephen Christian’s vocal transitions and adrenalized screams are the backbone of the track, along with Joseph Milligan’s slow but sweet solo. The song holds a special place in my heart – it was the first Anberlin song and I had ever heard, and it unfurled me into the rest of the band’s discography.

The best thing about Never Take Friendship Personal is how it shows the band’s evolution from youthful innocence into a darker, more reflective sound. Even though Blueprints From the Black Market was a great album, it showed some signs of immaturity and juvenile lyrical content. The change in tone and subject matter could be a result of more tempestuous life experiences: the teenagers from Blueprints grew up, experiencing more painful escapades. The aggression of songs like “The Feel Good Drag” and the title track is what drives the passion in Christian’s vocals, creating an outlet for him to pour his emotions out.

Although Anberlin’s debut suffered from its youthful sound being driven into the ground, Never Take Friendship Personal improves on the band’s main flaw by adding some much needed diversity. The songs where they try and emulate their old sound end up being the album’s weakest moments – the middle stretch consisting of lead single “A Day Late”, “The Runaways” and “Time & Confusion” completely kill the increasing momentum. The former comes off as a lesser “Change the World (Lost Ones)”, with its banal vocals and lack of memorabiliity – in fact, it even repeats the arc phrase ‘we are’. They aren’t bad songs per se, but they do fall short compared to highlights like “Audrey, Start the Revolution!” and the title track.

Never Take Friendship Personal had Anberlin exploring new things that would soon become album staples on future releases, from lengthy closers to moving ballads. The record’s diversity reaches a peak at “The Symphony of Blasé”, which sees Anberlin doing something they had never done before. The stripped-down arrangement creates a melancholy atmosphere, allowing Stephen Christian’s emotional vocals to shine even more. It’s a nice contrast from the high energy jams, showing off the band’s sensitive side while still retaining the passion that made them such so great. “Dance, Dance Christa Päffgen” marks the first of the band’s epic closers, and although it may not be good as “(*Fin)”, the touching tribute to the late German singer Nico still strikes all the right chords with its moving lyrics about drug abuse, melancholic vocals and flawless musicianship. Clocking in at seven minutes, the song manages to stay interesting for its entire duration. The whole band gets a chance to shine as Nathan Young lays down one of his best drum fills over the track’s memorable bassline. “Christa Päffgen”’s sound is similar to the one of Blueprints’ closer, “Naïve Orleans” – the expansion of it is what truly shows the band’s maturation.

From the emotional yet catchy “Paperthin Hymn” to the aggressive title track, Never Take Friendship Personal refuses to sacrifice passion for energy. Blueprints For the Black Market was the first step to success, and their sophomore album is no slump as it improves over most of the flaws that prevented their debut from being the best it could. Although it does lag in some areas, particularly the middle, the band’s progression is one that earns my admiration. By exploring new sounds, Anberlin for the most part create a darker atmosphere than the one found on Blueprints. The youthful energy is replaced with a more yearning, contemplative one, giving the album a more mature feel. Even though Never Take Friendship Personal was filled to the top with greatness, there was still enough room to improve on what little flaws it had.

And improve they did.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Green Baron
March 1st 2014


20331 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Part II: Apologize for the long delay, was busy over the week

You know what's next

precursororbs
March 1st 2014


27 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol Periphery

Crawl
March 1st 2014


1648 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ONE SLEEPLESS NIGHT BECOMES BITTER OBLIVION

itchybutthole
March 1st 2014


2562 Comments


Chapter II: This Time Anberlin Gets Personal

oh shit niguh , it just got real

PistolPete
March 1st 2014


3650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is very nostalgic, it's what got me into them. I disagree I think the middle section of this album is where they truly shine. But then again, I really don't think there any bad songs on this. Good review man!

Nikkolae
March 1st 2014


4877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

amazing review, love love love this band ever since i was in middle school, props to you sir!

Digging: Modern Witch - Unknown Domain

InfamousGrouse
March 1st 2014


3596 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

dont need no druggssssss

you're my chemical

Green Baron
March 1st 2014


20331 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

wait i just realized this was review #69

KjSwantko
March 1st 2014


9448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Some killer jamzz on dis album

I THOUGHT YOU SAID FOREVER, OVERRRR AND OVERRRRRR
A SLEEPLESS NIGHT BECOMESSSSSS, BITTERRRR OBLIVIONNNNN

Rhyme
March 1st 2014


1203 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

paperthin hymn and the feel good drag are the only songs i like here

Digging: Godflesh - A World Lit Only by Fire

JM18
March 1st 2014


208 Comments


My fav Anberlin. pos

jacobybelgium
March 2nd 2014


67 Comments


Good review, also



praise helix

AmericnZero02
March 2nd 2014


3360 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I still can't decide if this or Cities is my favorite Anberlin record. Good review for a great record. I remember watching the video for the song Paperthin Hymn by some band called Anberlin on Comcast On Demand and getting hooked. Years later I own all of their records but that track is probably still my favorite of theirs. Definitely a nostalgic record.

Digging: Copeland - Ixora

WatchItExplode
June 20th 2014


3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So I just picked this up as my second Anberlin album and pretty much instantly liked it more than Cities.

Green Baron
June 20th 2014


20331 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is probably the most overrated Anberlin album personally

random
July 19th 2014


2270 Comments


Discovered this band through Amped 3.

Gyromania
July 21st 2014


16090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dance, dance, christa päffgen is their best song to this day imo

Ecnalzen
July 21st 2014


6825 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think Cities is their most "overrated." I like this more than it.

Gyromania
July 21st 2014


16090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i might agree with that. dance, dance > fin (i'm going to get in major shit for that). cities was amazingly good when i heard it back in high school, but it doesn't stand up as well today. in fact, i'm pretty certain i enjoy new surrender more than it

thelastsignal
July 21st 2014


1640 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Love this album, it's been forever since I've heard it.

Digging: The Banner - Greying



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