NordicMindset
User

Reviews 160
Approval 89%

Soundoffs 63
News Articles 39
Band Edits + Tags 348
Album Edits 622

Album Ratings 3778
Objectivity 83%

Last Active 04-09-22 4:38 am
Joined 11-09-12

Review Comments 25,137

 Lists
06.11.17 All Rise Against Songs Ranked (1-100)06.09.17 All Rise Against Songs Ranked (101-118)
03.22.17 RIP Dallas Green02.15.15 Ranking Every Brand New Song (with Desc
10.28.14 The Lord Of The Flies08.28.14 Official Sputnik Fantasy Football Threa
07.18.14 All Anberlin Songs Ranked (with Descrip 05.09.14 24: Live Another Day
04.01.14 New Tool Album

All Anberlin Songs Ranked (with Descriptions)

This'll be an ongoing series.
88Anberlin
New Surrender


"Disappear" - So you may be wondering, what is Green's least favorite Anberlin
song? The answer is this little track off of New Surrender, which is an album I will always
defend as one of the band's most underrated efforts. You wouldn't get that from
"Disappear", though. It's pretty hard for me to consider an Anberlin song "bad" - hell,
most of their worst ones are just plain out boring. "Disappear" comes close though -
everything plays out like a normal decent Anberlin song - until the chorus. The
drums kick in, and you think something great would follow, but what does follow is
one of Anberlin's most annoying choruses ever. Goddamn, Stephen Christian's
vocals are downright unbearable on this when he cries, "Watch us slowly disappear
with time", and he falls flat on the word "disappear" so badly it hurts.
87Anberlin
Dark is the Way, Light is a Place


"We Owe This to Ourselves" - I'm in the minority when it comes to this, but Dark is
the Way, Light is a Place is my least favorite Anberlin album, and guess what, "We
Owe This" is my least favorite Anberlin opener. While the instruments do hit hard
like all Anberlin openers do, the most important part of the band falls flat, and
that's Stephen Christian himself. The riffs and drums are on the heavier side, but
save for a few lines in the opening verse, there's no energy in his vocals, especially
in the chorus. Not to mention, the track is pretty repetitive - the chorus, which
consists of two goddamn lines, is repeated six times throughout the whole song. By
round #3, I'm practically begging for this song to just end already.
86Anberlin
Lost Songs


"Everywhere In Between" - There are four B-sides included on this list, and this is the first one to leave. Let's address the
elephant in the room first, which is the fact that "Everything in Between" is a demo. As a result, the production is awful, and
it does sound like it was made in Stephen's basement. Vocally, he provides emotion but also sings off-key and falls flat too
many times. It's also incredibly hard to hear the instrumental section, which is drowned out in the background. To make
matters worse, there's even a key change towards the end that takes a turn for the worse. The song isn't even all that bad,
and it's main problems mostly stem from the fact that it is a demo and it is pretty unrefined. Maybe I'm being too harsh on
this song for being a demo, but I rarely see myself coming back to this one.
85Anberlin
Dark is the Way, Light is a Place


"Closer" - This was chosen as Dark is the Way's second single, and flopped commercially, peaking at #39 on Billboard's
Alternative charts. It's not hard to see why, though - even if the verses do contain a small trace of emotion in Christian's
vocals, I can't look past the terrible chorus, which just consists him monotonously mumbling "Closer, cloooooooooser" with no
energy whatsoever. The main problem with Dark is the Way is that the album contains some of the most boring songs
Anberlin have ever done, yet it was hyped up as dark and visceral. "Closer" runs for only four minutes, but it seems like much
longer with the whole track dragging on what seems like five. As far as the songs on Dark is the Way go, this definitely ranks
at the bottom, with almost nothing working in its favor.
84Anberlin
Blueprints for the Black Market


"Love Song" - While I didn't include any covers that were featured on the B-sides compilation Lost Songs, "Love Song" was
featured on the band's first album, Blueprints for the Black Market, which gets a lot more flack then it deserves. It's filled with
so much youthful energy that it reminds me of the hot summer days, and all the fun associated with it. This cover of The
Cure classic isn't a bad one, but it's definitely not one I come back to that often. It's clearly inferior to the original, and
doesn't do anything to distinguish itself from the original or any other Anberlin songs. At least 311's version managed to
incorporate their signature reggae-rock sound into something interesting, which Anberlin's doesn't. Overall, it's not a horrible
song, but there's definitely nothing special or unique about it at all, and I can't ever listen to it without wanting to spin
Disintegration and witness the greatness of The Cure's original.
83Anberlin
Cities


"(Debut)" - Ohh shit, a song from Cities got dropped this early? Don't fret, Cities lovers, because it's just a prelude. I
consider the songs from here on out to be in a different tier than the first five. Those were songs that I cringe when listening
to, with multiple factors working against their favor. The songs that are being eliminated soon aren't horrible, but they're just
short instrumental pieces that barely last over a minute, and therefore I can't place them any higher. I don't hate anything
about them (unlike the prior five), but it's hard to justify putting an instrumental prelude above, y'know, actual songs, even if
those songs are boring. With that said, "(Debut)" does a pretty good job of opening up Cities. A dark ambiance is provided
through the main riff, low piano chords and track skipping. The out-of-tune violins remind me of city traffic and the
foreboding darkness that disaster will soon occur. A short acoustic lick comes in and the volume cranks up before...
82Anberlin
Never Take Friendship Personal


"A Heavy Hearted Work of Staggering Genius" - I'm not sure if I made it clear enough in my write-up for "(Debut)", but I
consider these two tracks in a separate tier than the first five tracks I eliminated. Had "A Heavy Hearted Work..." been a full-
length song, I could easily put it a lot higher on the list. Alas, it's only a minute and fourteen seconds long, but all of that
time is well spent. The track begins with some simple strumming on the acoustic guitar before blasts of guitar distortion wave
in and a drumfill starts to play. While the electric riff soon overpowers the acoustic, both intertwine with each other towards
the end. Had the song been at least four minutes long, it would have had more time to fully expand on its ideas and reach a
more satisfying climax.
81Anberlin
Never Take Friendship Personal


"The Runaways" - So, a song from Never Take Friendship Personal that is not an interlude has finally been eliminated. Before
we go on about this song, I'd like to note that the tracks from here on out are in a different tier than the rest of the list. The
first few songs were ones I had little to no fondness for, and the last two were nothing more than interludes that I couldn't
have ranked any higher. The next 81 positions will be a standard ranking, with no benefits or unbenefits allowed. Anyways,
let's talk about Never Take Friendship Personal. It's Anberlin's most overrated album in my opinion, mainly because they still
hadn't found their sound completely yet, and there are a couple of boring clunkers in the middle stretch. "The Runaways" is
one of them. This is mainly because of the fact that the song's chorus does absolutely nothing for me except put me to
sleep. Stephen Christian's vocals on this are just average, with no cringeworthy moments but no highlights either. There's
just a lack of spark in his voice, which really disappoints me. "Distance is the thief in which you conspire" is a pretty good
lyric, but the chorus is pretty repetitive and cliched. Overall, it's not a bad song, just an incredibly boring one.
80Anberlin
Dark is the Way, Light is a Place


"You Belong Here" - Speaking of boring tracks, here's another one off of Dark is the Way that exemplifies everything about
why it's my least favorite Anberlin album. The song starts with half a minute of slow instrumentals before Christian slowly
croons, "You belong here, you were meant to be with me". There's simply nothing interesting about it, and it's in the row of
ballads that fill up the album's middle section. I really do like the line "But, a heart that's not worth breaking isn't worth much,
not at all.", but that doesn't excuse the absolute snoozer that the song calls a 'chorus'. There's simply no emotion in
Christian's vocals at all, which is strange, considering he usually nails his ballads. He's the main reason why Dark is the Way
was such a disappointing record, although around 2:55 he belts out a loud, high note that I do really enjoy. Unfortunately,
that's the bright spot in this dark (heh, heh) tunnel of a lullaby.
79Anberlin
Blueprints for the Black Market


"Foreign Language" - As I stated earlier, Blueprints for the Black Market is Anberlin at their most youthful and innocent, with
lots of pop-punk influence in many of the tracks. For a debut album, it isn't half bad. However, Blueprints does have some
annoying songs that are just so damn sugar-coated that it becomes irritating after a while. Case in point: this song, which
combines bad lyrics ("Boys speak in rhythm, and girls in code"), annoying doo doo doos (You're not Third Eye Blind, just
sayin') and a weak chorus. It's not a boring song at all, but after multiple listens it does come off as an amateur song, which
is fitting, giving how young the band was at the time of Blueprints' release. The whole 'foreign language' metaphor is a neat
idea, but the execution isn't strong enough to build upon Christian's heartbroken angst. It's a very jittery song, and Anberlin
were never good at doing jittery songs (hint, hint).
78Anberlin
New Surrender


"Burn Out Brighter (Northern Lights)" - Another song from New Surrender goes down, and this time it's one whose main
offense is nothing more than just being absolutely boring. There's no cringeworthy vocals, jittery chorus or horrendous lyrics,
but there's nothing memorable about it. The background cries in the chorus are perhaps the most interesting thing about it,
because the instrumentation is standard and the singing is rather dull. "Burn Out Brighter" tells the story of a man who wants
to live life to the fullest and die for something important, wanting to "burn out brighter than the Northern lights", but he
makes a few mistakes along the way and wishes he could still accomplish his goals. With the imminent disbanding of Anberlin,
these lyrics seem rather self-prophetic, but that's unimportant. The band could have done so much more with that subject
matter, but the result is just plain boring. And on an album as great as New Surrender, just plain boring is enough for it to be
its second worst song.
77Anberlin
Devotion


"City Electric" - On the surface Devotion seems like nothing more than Vital and a few B-sides, but if you look deeper into the
album, you'll see how important each of the added B-sides are to its flow. The slow crescendo of energy that builds in tracks
3-6 is so glorious, and "City Electric" is a part of it. With that said, the song does feel like a B-side, and it comes off as one
of the poppiest tracks Anberlin have ever made. It's not one of their lightest, but at least their acoustic ballads had a
foreboding sense of sadness and melancholy to them. "City Electric" comes incredibly close to sounding like pop-rock, from
the chorus that bears resemblances to an awful One Direction song, a fervent U2 influence and the "whoa oh oh"s in the
bridge. It's not hard to see why this was rejected in favor of Vital's greatest songs.
76Anberlin
Dark is the Way, Light is a Place


"Pray Tell" - At the rate they're falling, there won't be anymore Dark is the Way songs once we past the Top 50. I do have to
note that save for "We Owe This to Ourselves", every song I've eliminated from Dark is the Way is in the album's middle
section of ballads (which only has one song alive, "Take Me (As You Found Me)", so it's not particularly the best stretch of
songs). For a ten song album, Dark is the Way drags the most right after it gets started, not to mention most of the ballads
nearly reach four minutes. "Pray Tell" starts off with a stomp-clap-stomp beat, which is uncommon to hear in an Anberlin
song. Stephen Christian's vocals soon come in, and they kill any momentum the song had going for it. "Hide away, why do
you hiiiiiiiide away from me?", he whines, and I could come up with multiple reasons why is ex flees from his sight all the time.
Not only does the Ballad Row in Dark is the Way consist of the same type of song over and over and over and over again, it's
also filled with such forgettable hooks I can't even call them "hooks", because they don't hook onto any facet of my memory.
It's boring ballad after boring ballad after boring ballad, and it gets unbearable after the second one. People ask me why I
hate on Dark is the Way so much - it's songs like "Pray Tell" that are the reason why. Post-chorus, the stomp-clap-stomps
come back amidst some twangy guitar, which disappears after five seconds. I would have loved to hear more twangy guitar
in this song, because the stomp-claps get repetitive. Christian again delivers a vocal performance that is so damn
unemotional. Such is the way of life down here on Ballad Row.
75Anberlin
Lowborn


"Birds of Prey" - As a song from Lowborn goes down, the only albums without a song eliminated yet are Vital and Cities (not
counting the prelude). After listening to the album for a month now, I can easily say that Lowborn is one of my favorite
Anberlin albums. It doesn't go all-out, it's just a standard Anberlin album, and standard Anberlin still kicks ass. The album hits
the right spots with the soft songs and heavier ones, and it's a great note to end on. "Birds of Prey" is probably the most
minimalistic track on Lowborn, even more so than the closer "Harbinger", which disappointed many. The song begins with a
pretty nice bassline that is repeated throughout the whole song, plus the beat comes in around the same time. I really do like
the verses, especially when Christian goes "and it all ends the same", and the chorus is pretty emotional too. What drags this
song down, then? It's when the whole band comes in, ruining the intimacy the song spent two minutes building. With the
minimalism gone, there's really nothing special about the ending. And what the hell is that man in the background saying?
74Anberlin
Blueprints for the Black Market


"We Dreamt in Heist" - My favorite moments on Blueprints for the Black Market are when Anberlin are at their most youthful
and innocent. It makes the album rather unique, as the band would later become darker and moodier. "We Dreamt in Heist" is
one of these youthful songs, and its lyrics are about promising your lover you'll stay with them forever. It's a sweet message,
one that gets lost among the angst-ridden post-breakup anthems found on Cities and New Surrender. My main problem with
"We Dreamt in Heist" is that it never completely engages me in any way, shape or form. It's a very boring song, honestly, and
its chorus is two lines, with the only memorable thing being Stephen stretching out the word "try-yyy-yyy-yyyyyyyyyyy-yyy"
for as long as he can, and that gets annoying after a while. What about the verses, then? They're generic and lack emotion.
My favorite moment of the song is the first two lines of the bridge, when Stephen tells his girl "I know Mexico is south of
here, beautiful this time of year, so let's jump the border when the coast is clear". Aside from that, this song puts me to
sleep.
73Anberlin
Dark is the Way, Light is a Place


"Down" - I don't suppose I'm making any friends with this selection, but most of the songs that are being booted in this
section of the list are those whose greatest offense is being boring. "Down" certainly fits that bill to a T, but before we talk
about "Down", I think it's worth noting that half of Dark is the Way has already shown up on the list. All five of these songs
are the reason why it's my least favorite Anberlin album. I've mentioned the Ballad Row before, but outside of it, the songs I
don't like aren't offensively bad, they just don't interest me at all. That's certainly the case for "Down", which manages to be
Dark is the Way's sole acoustic ballad. I'm normally a sucker for Anberlin's acoustic ballads, as the positions for "Breathe" and
"The Unwinding Cable Car" will soon prove. "Down" gets on my bad side as soon as it starts, with an acoustic section that
sounds exactly like "Disarm" by The Smashing Pumpkins. This wouldn't be so noticeable if there wasn't some background
drumming that comes in at the exact same time it does on "Disarm". All they needed was some chimes, and it'd be exactly the
same. Looking past that, the verses come off as incredibly lifeless, which sucks, because Anberlin's acoustic ballads thrive on
the emotion in Stephen Christian's vocals. I wait for the chorus to come in, but before that... a-ha! It's the "Disarm"
drumming again! It's coincidental that they share the same drum beat, and it's also coincidental that the drum beat happens
in the intro and right before the chorus on both songs, right? Yeah, no. Stephen's falsetto on the chorus would sound
beautiful normally, but everything about "Down" is just so damn boring. I keep waiting for the song to pick up later on, but it
never does. And thus, the song sounds a lot longer than four minutes, because the latter half of it drags. Oh yeah, and after
every line in the chorus, you know what happens? The drum beat from "Disarm". Sigh.
72Anberlin
Never Take Friendship Personal


"Time & Confusion" - The middle part of Never Take Friendship Personal is easily the album's weakest section. It features
some incredibly dull songwriting, uninspired vocals and bland choruses. "Time & Confusion" embodies all three of those
aspects. "Live for today, we'll dream tomorrow" is the track's opening line, and overall, its first verse is very anthemic and a
call for action. I really do like when the riffs fade in and out in order so Stephen can cry "And it feels like we could last
forever, and I'm not doing this alone", but what I don't like is the main hook of the song. After building up so much emotion
with its verses, it just dissipates into the air with a less-than-stellar chorus. I don't hate "Time & Confusion", it just bores me
at the wrong time. The hook is supposed to be the most memorable part of the song, but it manages to be the least
memorable on this song. I'm not a huge fan of the bridge either, which is pretty generic.
71Anberlin
Blueprints for the Black Market


"The Undeveloped Story" - This is the fourth song from Blueprints for the Black Market to go out, and only Dark is the Way
with five has more songs eliminated so far (although look at it this way, there are more songs on Blueprints, and 66% of them
still remain, compared to 50% for Dark is the Way). I think it's clear that Blueprints and Dark is the Way are my least favorite
Anberlin album, although I do enjoy Blueprints a lot more. Blueprints is the sound of a band who were struggling to find their
true sound, lost between the pop-punk influenced sugary innocence and the riff-driven angst that would soon manifest.
There's really not much to say about "The Undeveloped Story", honestly, other than the fact that it's plain boring. I'm not a
fan of the cowbell either.
70Anberlin
Never Take Friendship Personal


"Stationary Stationery" - I do enjoy the pun that the band came up with in the title, playing off the homophonic relationship
the two words have. That's probably the most interesting thing about this cut from Anberlin's second album, which now has
three songs down. New Surrender has lost two, and Vital and Cities have lost none (not counting Debut). I think that pretty
much says enough about how I rank them. Remember in my write-up for "Foreign Language" I stated how Anberlin were never
good at writing jittery songs? Well, "Stationary Stationery" fits NTFP's quota in terms of annoyingly upbeat songs. Although it
isn't as annoying as "Foreign Language", there's nothing really appealing about it. "Do they not have pen or paper where you
are, because I haven't heard from you in ages" is a horrible opening line, and the main hook is mind-numbingly dull. Not to
mention, this song is pretty damn repetitive, with 75% of the last minute and a half being the exact same lines repeated over
and over. Overall, "Stationary Stationery" isn't a bad track, but a repetitive and dull one. Giving credit where it's due, the
pre-chorus is pretty good, but it's twenty seconds of greatness drowned out by three minutes of snoozing.
69Anberlin
New Surrender


"Younglife" - Here's a track that sounds noticeably different from the rest of Anberlin's material. First of all, it's one of the
band's most youthful and innocent songs that isn't on Blueprints for the Black Market, which is rather surprising given the
band dropped that shtick with the release of Never Take Friendship Personal. Second of all, the instruments are a lot more
subdued, with the drums coming in only in the chorus and the guitar riff quieted, hiding in the background behind computer-
generated beats and the main acoustic section. This is one of Anberlin's best jittery songs, although it only comes in 69th
place, which says a lot about the quality of them. I don't even hate the chorus, but what kills this song for me is the way
Stephen sings the line "back of my mind". It sounds rather off, and when that line is one of the most prominent in the whole
song, being repeated a total of four times, it's a ruiner. The song reflects on adolescent memories and teenage fantasies,
which is a theme that hasn't shown up in a while. Some people say that this song is poppy Anberlin, but there are some good
poppy Anberlin songs, so that's not the direct problem.
68Anberlin
Blueprints for the Black Market


"Cold War Transmissions" - I think I'm reaching the end of boring Anberlin songs - for the most part, I like each and every
song now, after I've eliminated the bad ones, the inter(pre)ludes and the bland ones. "Cold War Transmissions" is one of the
heaviest tracks on Anberlin's 2003 debut instrumentally, but what lets it down are the vocals. The song opens up with a nice
repeating riff and some pretty aggressive singing - the guitarwork on "Cold War" is wonderful, I do admit. Milligan adds a
crunch to it that gives the track a much more harder feel than it would without it, so I do admire its songwriting. What I
don't like is the chorus, though, which sounds like generic Anberlin. The aggressive instrumentation does give it somewhat of
a "pop-punk" feel because Christian's vocals aren't as sharp on the hook. Lyrically, it's about relationships (big surprise there),
but the theme of relating a breakup to war is cliched and overdone.
67Anberlin
Devotion


"No Love to Speak" - These next 67 songs are going to be hard to rank, especially when all of the tracks are so consistently
great. That's the thing about Anberlin - they're a hell of a consistent band, rarely making a bad album and always crafting out
good song after good song. To put things in perspective, songs 88-84 are a 2, 83-82 are instrumentals and 81-68 are 2.5s
and 3s. From here on out, every track will be at least a 3.5. And "No Love to Speak" is a 3.5 - a low 3.5, but it's still a 3.5.
It's a very emotional song, and Stephen Christian sings with the sadness and melancholy that he uses so damn well. Don't
get me wrong, it's a great track, but whenever I listen to it, it keeps building and building with fervent emotion, but the
payoff just isn't what I expected. The whole song feels like it adds onto that one moment where everything lets go, but it
never does, and that's what hurts "No Love to Speak" the most. It's a great song, and it could have fit on Vital, but it's just
not as good as the other 66 songs that are about to face their ranking.
66Anberlin
Never Take Friendship Personal


"A Day Late" - Now, this is a song that has grown on me completely ever since I first heard it. It started out around the low
70s quality, but it worked its way up to a very respectable #66, given the scope of Anberlin's discography. "A Day Late" was
the first single the band had ever released, but it didn't do too well commercially. What irked me about it initially was how
much it sounded like a Blueprints for the Black Market B-side; it had that damn annoying upbeat, sugar-coated feel to it that
didn't fit in well with the rest of Never Take Friendship Personal, plus it was pretty boring too. That was two years ago,
though, and now it's too damn infectious to overlook. Even if the lyrics may be a bit lacking, goddamn me if this song isn't
catchy as hell. This is some single-worthy stuff right here, and I hate knocking it out so low but then again, that's just how
good the rest of Anberlin's discography it. "We are who we were when, could've been lovers but at least you're still my day
late friend." That hook really does grab you into the song, and the way the song fades out is also pretty neat.
65Anberlin
Blueprints for the Black Market


"Autobahn" - This is the second song in a row that I've booted despite being catchy as hell. Blueprints for the Black Market
now has 6 of 11 songs out, compared to Dark is the Way which has 5 of 10. It's still a better album though, and the rankings
reflect that - DITW's songs were outed early on, and Blueprints is meeting its end against stiff competition. "Autobahn", like
most other Blueprints songs, has an exuberant youthful innocence, and that upbeat vibe is the album's main MO. It has its
fair share of harder and emotional moments, but for the most part it's such a happy record that really feels like summer. And
a lot of its songs are catchy, while others are dull and irritating. "Autobahn" is in the middle - it's a very catchy song, but it
doesn't have anything else going for it besides its catchiness. The instrumentation is standard, Stephen's vocals are
standard, but it's so damn catchy. It's a great song, but again, it's stacked up against stuff that's so much better.
64Anberlin
New Surrender


"Blame Me! Blame Me!" - Yay, more controversy! Although this time, it's not because I kicked a song off too early, it's
because I kept it on for way too damn long. A lot of people jab at New Surrender for being a mediocre followup to Cities,
when in actuality I think it's pretty damn underrated. Its got everything that a great Anberlin album has, and even if there's
some boring and annoying songs on it, the product as a whole is one of their best. Stephen doesn't like it all that much, but
to me he's wrong, which is one of the few times I'll ever disagree with him. Anyways, back to "Blame Me!". The song fills the
album's quota for "annoyingly upbeat" songs, except it really isn't that annoying. "Foreign Language" is annoyingly upbeat, not
so much this. Lyrically, the song is about the blame game, and how people look to others as the cause of their problems and
not their own. It's not groundbreaking stuff, but Stephen sings it with passion. There's just this sense of energy that the
song gives off, and I was never bugged by how chirpy it seemed to be. That line "Leave me out of this, your life's a sinking
ship" hits all the right notes - it just seems like the perfect 'take that', delivered with contempt. Besides, it's pretty damn
catchy. So come on. Give it a chance.
63Anberlin
Devotion


"Dead American" - I hope this choice won't be too controversial, but I never know, given the wide array of opinions on the
site. "Dead American" is probably the heaviest song on Devotion, with only "Desires" rivaling it. On an album that combines A-
sides with B-sides, "Dead American" doesn't exactly come off as an easy B-side, but it's far from "Self-Starter", "Modern Age"
and "God Drugs & Sex". I brought up "Desires" earlier, and that's what this song comes off as, a second-rate rehash of
"Desires". It's placed right before it on the Devotion track list, and it features similar instrumentation. Now, I do give it credit
for its verses, which are very anthemic. It's like a call to action, a message that needs to spread. What is that message,
though?
"WE'VE GOT IT RIGHT, WE'VE GOT IT RIGHT NOW! WE'VE GOT IT RIGHT, WE'VE GOT IT RIGHT NOW! WE'VE GOT IT RIGHT,
WE'VE GOT IT RIGHT NOW! WE'VE GOT IT RIGHT, WE'VE GOT IT RIGHT NOW! WE'VE GOT IT RIGHT, WE'VE GOT IT RIGHT
NOW! WE'VE GOT IT RIGHT, WE'VE GOT IT RIGHT NOW!"
Damn, that chorus is just the worst part about the song. It's repetitive and it can get annoying upon further listens. And you
know what?
I still like it.
Honestly, the only thing that drags this song down is how repetitive it is. The chorus, at times, can feel even more anthemic
than the verses, even if it's just one or two lines over and over again. "Dead American" is a song to pump you up, and even if
it sounds a bit too similar to "Desires", it's a good song.
62Anberlin
Vital


"Other Side" - As a song from Vital finally goes down, Cities remains the only album untouched (not counting the prelude). I
think that says a lot about the strength of this album, which contains wholly emotional ballads, well executed electronic
elements and up-tempo rockers. Alas, the least best song Vital is "Other Side", which, despite its ranking, is still a very great
song. It starts with a repeating keyboard riff and Stephen slowly crooning on top of it. There's a shaker playing in the
background, which is unique for an Anberlin song. My favorite part about it is the chorus, which is filled with emotions as
Stephen cries to the skies, "Love me! Love me! Hold me! Hold me!" The whole thing feels so epic, and it's one of the best
choruses on the album. Why is it the worst song on Vital then? Simply put, the verses come off as too short, especially the
second one, which is only three lines and eleven seconds long. The chorus comes in so soon, and I feel that detracts from
the song. Had the verses been given more time to fully develop and expand on its thoughts, the chorus second time around
would have so much more impact. It's a nitpick, but when the rest of the song is so grandeur, that one thing takes away
from what could have been an even greater song.
61Anberlin
Lowborn


"Velvet Covered Brick" - Oh hey, more controversy! While this was the standout song for many, I couldn't quite grasp the
love for this as much as others. It's still a great song, no doubt about that, but compared to "Losing It All", "Hearing Voices"
or "Atonement", this never hit me as much. Now, the clear standout part of "Velvet Covered Brick" is the instrumentation,
without a doubt. The whole song is very fast-paced and one of the more aggressive songs on Lowborn, which I do admire.
The furious drumming, epic riffage and awesome guitar solo are all very impressive, and it helps the song create a heavier
mood. What I'm not to big a fan of, however, are Stephen Christian's vocals. They never grabbed me on this song quite like
they did on the rest of the album, and while I'm not saying they are boring, they're not as energetic as they could have
been. Joseph Milligan's guitar and Nate Young's drumming completely make this song, and without them it would falter. Luckily
for "Velvet Covered Brick", the instrumental section is so powerful it only ranks as my 28th least favorite Anberlin song. And
that's no easy feat. So I do congratulate this song. It's accomplished a lot.
60Anberlin
Vital


"Intentions" - The 2nd song from Vital has fallen, which means the only album with less eliminated is Cities, which has been
untouched save for the prelude. "Intentions" is a rather odd song in Anberlin's discography - despite being one of the
heaviest, most riff-driven songs on Vital, it's got a very dancey feel to it. Underneath Joseph Milligan's crunching, loud
guitarwork is a repeating line of synthesizer that starts out the song. Rhythm guitarist Christian McHanley plays a repeating
riff that gives the song its main dance vibe. And then comes the chorus, which is just designed for letting loose and
fistpumping into the air. "Intentions" is a feel good song (not Feel Good Drag), and its use of electronic elements helps it
create an upbeat mood that Stephen no doubt wanted to convey. It just doesn't hit me as hard as the other songs on Vital
do - I don't hate it, but it's not very powerful.
59Anberlin
Devotion


"IJSW" - Devotion takes its fourth hit, leaving it with three songs left, although those songs won't leave for a while. While
many of its tracks do come off as B-sides, that's only because Vital's tracks were so excellent. The Devotion songs are also
great, but just not on the same level as Vital. And the rankings show that. Now, I hope this won't be too controversial.
"IJSW" is probably Anberlin's most experimental track. It starts out with layered synthesizers over a bass-heavy beat, and
then Stephen Christian's vocals come in. Now, that's probably the most experimental aspect of the song - the vocal effects
put on his singing make him sound like On the Sunday of Life-era Steven Wilson, with a very helium kick to it. Now, I actually
like it as it does bring something new to the table. The beat repeats on and a wide array of more effects are used. The whole
band eventually comes in, and the whole build is amazing. At five and a half minutes, it never feels overlong. Nothing slips
with the electronics. But can I be honest here? There's a few boring patches in the song, and part of me wishes it could be a
little bit more emotional. Overall, it's a wonderful song, but it could be better.
58Anberlin
Lowborn


"Losing It All" - From here on out, I have lots of positive words for the songs that come out. The tracks are all 3.7+ quality
now, and there's hardly anything bad about them. That's the thing about such a wonderful band like Anberlin - their 59th
best song is still excellent, and sadly they have better, so we have to say goodbye to another great track. "Losing It All" is a
rather emotional song, as it talks about their imminent breakup, yet it's still optimistic. "It's not losing it all if we have each
other" is the message of the song. The song is upbeat, but it still has a very ballady feel to it, focusing more on emotions and
not rocking out. The best part about "Losing It All" is the bridge, when Stephen cries "How could I say goodbye? We've come
too far to turn back now". It's just so damn emotional. Despite all it accomplishes, it doesn't fully engage me like it does with
other Anberlin songs. There's something about the instrumentation - there is a nice solo, but other than that, it feels like it's
missing a kick.
57Anberlin
Cities


"Adelaide" - OHGODITHAPPENEDIDIDITIDIDITGODDAMNFINALLYWHYDIDIHAVETO. And with this outing, Cities is no longer
unhinged. Then again, it only took 31 songs for it to finally happen, so that alone proves the album's superiority in the band's
discography. When I first heard it, I didn't think much of it but upon further listens, the emotions started pouring out of every
crack of the album. It's a hard 5, and one of my favorite records of all time. And "Adelaide" might be its worst song, but it's
still pretty damn great. Remember how I talked about there always being that one annoyingly upbeat song on every album?
Well, that's what "Adelaide" is to Cities, and given that Cities is their best album, "Adelaide" is Anberlin doing this song style
at their best. The verses and chorus are all catchy, and it is undoubtedly a memorable song. So what did it do to make me
dub it the worst song on Cities? Well, I'm not particularly a fan of the bridge, and let's be honest, the song is repetitive. The
chorus does repeat a lot, and it's only one or two lines. It's catchy, don't get me wrong, but it's not a perfect song. It's the
weakest link on Cities, but as shown in the rankings, it's better than 37% of their discography.
56Anberlin
Vital


"Innocent" - Dammit, I can't believe I'm giving "Innocent" the boot already. It's one of the most emotional songs on Vital, and
only Type Three surpasses it, and even that's reaching the end of its line. The song begins with some haunting keyboard
before Christian sadly croons, "Laying you down one last time on the sheets that will never give, a touch that woke you
gently. I'll never know if you saw me." The song is about his grandfather, who went into a coma during the band's tour in
Brazil. Stephen wrote the song and played it to him on his deathbed, which gives "Innocent" a lot of emotional context. Then
the chorus comes in - "We are all born the innocent, we were born to run carefree. I will hold on 'til the end, there'll never be
an end," he promises, and that is some incredibly moving stuff, especially that last line about holding on until the end. Verse
two lays down even more feels, as he asks his grandfather, who opened his eyes at one point, if he could feel his kiss and
touch. I'm not going to lie - this song makes me want to shed a tear, and I absolutely hate the fact that I'm kicking it out so
early. The keyboard is the only instrument in the whole song, aside from the bass-heavy beat and background synths, which
contribute to the sentimentality that I feel with it. Even if it was never planned to go on Vital, I'm glad Stephen made the
right decision and kept it instead of giving it B-side status. Because it's not B-side status.
55Anberlin
Cities


"There Is No Mathematics to Love and Loss" - Another song from Cities? Just two songs after I dropped the first one? Well, I
guess I have to explain. Whenever I hear "Mathematics", the first thing that comes into my head is the synth. It was a rather
ballsy move back in 2007, when all Anberlin ever used were the standard guitar, bass and drums. They didn't dare experiment
with electronic, but that was 7 years ago. Hell, Vital and Lowborn thrive off the electronic influences to create the
atmosphere and mood they benefit off of. And to be honest, that's the most interesting thing about "Mathematics". Strip
them away, and it's just a standard Anberlin song. It's not boring, but there aren't that many emotional bits in it. The synths
come in hard on the chorus, which, let's be honest. "Have you ever heard a word? Have you ever heaaaaard a word? Have
you ever heard a word?" I wonder what the next line is. Even if the chorus is a bit repetitive, I do love Christian's vocals on
it, and the riffs on it do give it a bit of a heavier kick.
54Anberlin
Dark is the Way, Light is a Place


"Art of War" - It's been a while since I've booted a song from Dark is the Way, but that just goes to show you the difference
in quality between the album's bottom half and the top half. It's been 19 songs since "Down" went out at #73, and we went
from a point where 1/3rd of every eliminated song was from Dark is the Way to a point where 1/5th of every song that went
out is from it. As I've said, it remains my least favorite Anberlin album, and I've explained why in the writeups. "Art of War"
distances itself from the weakest tracks on DITW, but Anberlin have still made a lot better. The lyrics are incredibly juvenile
and asinine, and the first verse is kinda lackluster for them. At nearly five minutes, it's the second longest song on the album,
and honestly it could have been better. Anyways, about that first verse. It tries hard to be 'emotional', but it ends up rather
unmemorable. All is forgiven with such a powerful chorus that just screams arena-ready. "Art of War" slowly builds until the
second repetition of the chorus, which just lets loose with the pouring down of the drums and guitar, like they're performing
in a coliseum full of bloodthirsty fans. The ending is 'epic' in a sense, at least.
53Anberlin
Lost Songs


"Uncanny" - The second of four B-sides to be dropped, "Uncanny" was recorded during the Cities era and I can easily see
why it didn't make it onto the album. Anberlin had such a great flow with that album, and putting "Uncanny" on it would have
disturbed the waters. It also stands out as an outlier on the album, because if anything, it sounds like something that could
come off of Blueprints for the Black Market. It's more on line with their pop-punkier songs like "Cadence" then the darker,
heavier stuff like "Godspeed" or "Dismantle. Repair". With that said, it's not that big of a surprise that it didn't make it on, but
it is pretty damn great. The way Stephen says, "Say anywhere, as long as I'm with you" in the first chorus gives me chills,
while his falsetto at the end of the verse is also great. All of that is a piece of shit compared to the sheer greatness of the
last minute. After some rapid fire "doo doo doos", Stephen lets loose as he cries at the top of lungs the chorus, and it's a
definite vocal highlight. Even if there may not be much special about the first half, that last minute is great enough to boost
it up.
52Anberlin
Lowborn


"Harbinger" - Believe me, it hurts to do this, eliminating this song before we even reach the Top 50. Now, "Harbinger" belongs
to an exclusive set of songs that has not been touched yet. Can you guess what that set it? If you thought it was the
closer, you were right. "Harbinger" is the first Anberlin closer to be ousted, and while this does effectively mean that it is the
band's worst of its kind, that's not to discredit it at all. In fact, since the band are known for ending their albums with long,
sprawling epics, it turns out that it's the only closer to not be the longest on its respective album. On its own, "Harbinger"
has its flaws. It's repetitive vocally and instrumentally, while it doesn't really go anywhere and just drags for four minutes.
But the greatest thing about it is the emotional weight of the song. Stephen's soft, hushed vocals match the tone of the
track, while the lyrics really bring home the message that the band is trying to convey. This song is the bookend to Anberlin's
career, the last song on their last album, and maybe they could have ended with a fifteen-minute long epic, but they didn't.
"Harbinger" is a great song to finish on - as I stated in my Lowborn review, it feels like the aural equivalent of saying goodbye
to a friend at the airport who is moving away. "We'll live forever, together, forever," croons Stephen. "I don't want to go
know, but I've got to, for you to remember me." Those are lyrics that really hit hard with all the circumstances surrounding it.
Listening to it in the context of the album greatly boosts the feels that come with it. Sure, taken on its own it might not be
that good of a song, but if "Harbinger" doesn't move you, you haven't truly experienced Anberlin.
51Anberlin
Vital


"Orpheum" - Exiting right before we enter our top 50 is this little cut from Vital, which honestly, I'm surprised survived this
long. When I first heard it, it was one of my least favorite songs off of Vital, but it's grown on me, especially the piano intro
to the song which is perhaps one of my favorite things about it. It's one of the few songs on the album to use piano, and I
frankly think it uses it well, even if it doesn't play that huge of a role. What drags the song down for me honestly is the
chorus, which I'm not that huge a fan of. It just does nothing for me - it doesn't move me, it doesn't pump me up - it's just
there, taking up space. The only time it actually does something is at the end, when Stephen screams it out at the top of its
lungs. There's really not much to say about it - it's not a song that draws much ire or love. I do like the first verse a lot,
where the piano glides smoothly along the vocals and soaring guitars.
And there are still 50 songs better than it. Crazy, right?
50Anberlin
New Surrender


"Breathe" - And just like that, another tearjerker gets dropped. It's a rather hard decision to make, given that I do love this
song dearly, but leaving just inside of the top 50 is the fifth song to exit from New Surrender. Now, that album is Anberlin's
most underrated, and just look at "Breathe" as evidence. The track begins as solely an acoustic ballad, and goddamn it, when
Stephen suddenly sings in his high register at the end of Verse 1, the feels just start to rush right in. "I can finally breathe,
suddenly alive. I can finally move, but I feel revived" is the uplifting chorus, and it's one of the most emotional moments on
the whole New Surrender album. It definitely draws comparisons to "The Unwinding Cable Car", but we won't see that for a
long time. It does have its flaws though - Verse 2 comes in a little too quick without room to evolve. When the drums kick in
at the second go-around of the chorus and Milligan harmonizes with his "whoa oh oh"s, the build pays off with such an
emotional release.
49Anberlin
Cities


"Alexithymia" - Goddamn it, it hurts do this, outing a great song like this so soon. We're approaching the midway point of the
list soon, and I wish I could put this higher, but Anberlin have so many great songs it's too hard to choose between the
greatness. From the first line, this song gets me as Stephen cries in his higher register, "Don't try to wake me up even if the
sun really does come out tomorrow", and the emotions just flood right in. That whole first verse brings too many feels, and
the sparse drumming gives it a sadder tone than it already had. The harmonies are just beautiful, and despite its beauty, it's
still a sad song. The whole band comes in soon, and Stephen's vocal performance on this song is just gorgeous. Alexithymia is
a condition when people lack the ability to feel emotion, and you would have to be an alexithymiac if you're not moved by
this. The background aahs over the shredding guitar solo offer a reprieve before Stephen repeats the opening line once more.
What puts this behind the band's other work? Well, the chorus does. It's repetitive, and it's one of my least favorite hooks on
Cities.
48Anberlin
Lowborn


"Stranger Ways" - Lowborn is a definitive album in the Anberlin discography. Aside from it being the band's final release,
there's just so much emotional weight that it carries, and for that it remains my 4th favorite record of theirs. "Stranger Ways"
is a testament to the passion that Stephen Christian is able to create with his voice. The song begins with some piano and
Stephen's haunting vocals, which are the highlight of the song. The way he says, "Right now you're over there" is tearjerking,
and I'll be damned if the way the drums kick in after the first chorus doesn't do anything. The whole song gradually builds to
to that one climax, which is when Stephen cries at the top of his lungs, "Would you stay with me here in my dreams if I
promised you this heaven?". That has got to be one of my favorite moments on the whole damn album, and it truly shows
how emotional Anberlin can be. I do have one problem with the song, and it's that after that jawdropping highlight, the song
still goes on for another two minutes. Clocking in at nearly five, it's Lowborn's longest song, and it overstays its welcome a
tad bit. But it's a small gripe, and I can't help but love it.
47Anberlin
Cities


"Hello Alone" - For an album that was seemingly invincible during the first half of this ranking, Cities has taken quite a few hits
recently, losing its fourth song. To many people, I'm pretty sure it's a shock that it's survived this long, but I do like this a
fair deal more than most others. Perhaps the least liked part of "Hello Alone" is its chorus, but to me that's my favorite part.
It's filled with so much emotion, and when he cries "Is anybody out there?", the feeling of desolation and hopelessness are
expressed so flawlessly. If anything, the bridge almost matches it in terms of intensity - the way he yells "DO YOU CARE AT
ALL?" feels like one last chance at redemption, a chance that will never come. "Hello Alone", like much of Cities, thrives on its
emotion, and the heartbroken loneliness shows through all the pain that Stephen sings with.
46Anberlin
Blueprints for the Black Market


"Glass to the Arson" - It's been quite a while since the last song from Blueprints went out, but that just goes to show the
difference in quality between its bottom and upper half. While most of the bottom half songs were annoyingly upbeat, all-too-
innocent pop punk lite jams, the upper half shows some of their more mature earlier work. In fact, "Glass to the Arson" is one
of the heaviest songs on Blueprints, with a nice hard-hitting riff to boast. My favorite part about it is the guitar solo, which
stands as one of the more technical parts on a not-so-technical album, and Stephen lets out a few more lines, with the
shout of "BURNING YOUR CITY DOWN!" rising among the rest. It's a nice change of pace given that it's surrounded by some of
their softer songs.
45Anberlin
Vital


"Little Tyrants" - There are essentially two types of songs on Vital, the hard-hitting rockers and the soft, electronic-
influenced ballads, and most of those are some of the best songs that Anberlin have made. But surprisingly, "Little Tyrants"
doesn't fall between the boundaries of either. It's a song that's more upbeat than slow, but compared to "Self-Starter" and
"Desires", it's not that heavy. The instrumentation on it is pretty tight, and Stephen sings with a snarling growl at times. I
really don't have much to say about it. It's not a song that's left any kind of impact on me, just one to shut up and jam to.
That's really the highest praise I can give it, but that doesn't mean it's not a good song - of course it is. There's just not
much to discuss about it, it leaves no mark emotionally, just energetically.
44Anberlin
Dark is the Way, Light is a Place


"Impossible" - Had it not been for this song, Anberlin would have forever been known as one-hit wonders, that status firmly
cemented to their legacy that would soon go on to prove to have more than just "Feel Good Drag". But, because of the lead
single from Dark is the Way, Anberlin are now known as two-hit wonders in popular media! That's right, this top five
alternative rock radio hit may be one of their most well known songs, but it's not one of their best. Even if the verses aren't
anything noticeable for them, it's that chorus where they shine. "Take what you want from me, it means nothing now, take
EVERYTHING FROM ME!" is one of those lines that are so catchy that they stand as iconic in their discography. Even if DITW
is one of their least emotional albums, there's one line in the second verse - "Try to think through what I can do to you" that
is filled with sadness in it, and it's a vocal highlight for Stephen on this song.
43Anberlin
Lowborn


"Armageddon" - If Vital was Anberlin dipping their feet into electronics, than Lowborn is them jumping off the diving board. On
their last album, they did use it to their advantage, creating a more atmospheric listen with their use. Perhaps the song most
driven by them is the album's second track, "Armageddon". What I love about it is that buildup, which is one of my favorite
moments on Lowborn. It starts with some brooding synths, and then Stephen comes in with his beautiful crooning. The drums
start to kick in, and just when everything gets louder, Stephen starts to sing in his higher register as the guitar comes in.
The synths beat in for a second, like the calm before the storm, and then he just lets loose, crying "NO ONE ELSE TO BLAME
FOR THIS WORLD WAR THREE!!!" at the top of his lungs, and that whole build is just wonderful. When it ends, so does the
song. Even though the build might be a bit too long for its own good, the climax is just so wonderful and worth the wait.
42Anberlin
New Surrender


"Breaking" - You make breaking hearts look so easy. Well, I sure do. Hell, that's all I've been doing for this whole list, breaking
the hearts of those who cringe to see me knock out their favorites in the low 60s and the 50s. But the competition is stiff,
and as we approach the Top 40, most of these are interchangeable any day of the week. "Breaking" fits in line with Anberlin's
rockers, although there is a very nice piano section in the intro. Despite it being an upbeat song, it's one of those tracks
that's emotional and high-energy at the same time. When Stephen cries, "You make breaking hearts look so easy", there's a
sense of heartbreak hidden under the riffs and furious drumming, much like "Alexythmia" from Cities. When people ask me why
I love New Surrender so much, it's because of tracks like "Breaking", and "Breathe", and "Soft Skeletons" and "Retrace" that
get everything right. Although I will concede "you make breaking hearts look so easy" is a rather awful lyric.
41Anberlin
Vital


"Type Three" - I don't suppose I'm making any friends with this one, but even though I hate my opinion, it's still my opinion.
"Type Three" is an awesome song, no doubt. It's one of the more minimalistic tracks on the album, featuring nothing but
acoustic guitar and drums quietly playing in the background. The vocal effects on Stephen Christian's vocals on the verses
give it a vibrating feel, like he's speaking into a fan, and that's pretty damn cool. As for the chorus?
"Don't bite the hand that feeds you, baby."
That line is so damn powerful. The way Stephen so quietly pronounces it fills me up with emotion. And if that's not enough,
we still haven't made it to verse 2. The way the two vocal parts come together is just beauty, and then the drums kick in for
chorus number two, and "Type Three" hits all the right feels, even with the acoustic guitar solo.
40Anberlin
Blueprints for the Black Market


"Change the World (Lost Ones)" - While most of Blueprints is Anberlin at its most innocent and carefree, "Change the World"
manages to be anthemic and serious while still maintaining that youthful vibe to it. The song feels like a call for action,
proclaiming to the world that he wants to change it, yet it seems more like a bunch of teenagers making plans to make the
world a better place knowing they won't amount to anything. That's not a knock on the song at all, in fact, I think it helps
the vibe. Lyrically, the song, much like the rest of Blueprints, is about breakups. When Stephen sings, "We could rewrite
history if only you and me", he's not talking about ending war or poverty, he's talking about putting the two of them back
together. I really like "Lost Ones" - it's a great pump-up song that ranks among Blueprints' heaviest while retaining some of
the innocence that Anberlin had back in 2003.
39Anberlin
Never Take Friendship Personal


"Dance, Dance Christa Paffgen" - Well, I suppose this will be a controversial pick, so I guess I have a lot of explaining to do.
Anberlin are known for their epic, dynamic closers - "(*Fin)", "God Drugs & Sex" and "Miserabile Visu" are enough to prove
that. We've only seen one closer go out so far, the rather short yet walloping "Harbinger", and dropping another barely
halfway through the album seems blasphemic in a way. There's no doubting "Dance, Dance Christa Paffgen" is a great song;
Stephen is as on point as usual, the main hook is catchy and it ends Never Take Friendship Personal well. What I do have to
say is that the song feels like it could have ended at the four minute mark, but instead it keeps on going and going until it
reaches seven. That's not to say it drags - the last few minutes are still catchy, but all they do is repeat the chorus multiple
times. Repetitiveness can kill Anberlin, and even if it isn't as severe on "Dance, Dance Christa Paffgen", it's noticeable
compared to the sprawling, dynamic "(*Fin)". But then again, this was the first of its kind, and trying something for the first
time will rarely result in a flawless masterpiece. The song is an ode to the late German singer Nico (of Velvet Underground
fame), and her struggles with heroin addiction. The way Stephen cries, "YOUR! BLACK! DRESS! IN DISARRAY" feels like he's
throwing constant punches, refusing to let up. It's fiery, and Stephen is always great when he's fiery. I like the call back to
"The Feel Good Drag" when he says "lips that need no introduction", and the whole verse is there to break up the monotony.
Make no mistake - "Dance, Dance Christa Paffgen" is a great song, but it pales in comparison to Anberlin's other closers
mainly due to its repetitiveness.
38Anberlin
Devotion


"Safe Here" - The two best sides of Anberlin are their aggression and emotion. When both sides collide, the result is fantastic.
Such is the backbone behind "Safe Here", which is one of the finest B-sides on Devotion. Even though the song starts out
rather quiet, with Stephen singing in his lower register, you just know it's about to blow up soon. "But if all can be made right
there's still a chance on New Year's Day" is the transition line, and the pre-chorus is filled with sadness as Stephen reminisces
over lost love, but that's nothing compared to the chorus, which sees everything come together in a release of noise, riffs
and drums. Even though he yells out "You are safe here, safe here in these arms of mine" in a rather aggressive manner, the
next line, "There is shelter, shelter from the mire of life" washes away all pretense of anger and post-breakup revenge,
replacing it with emotions that more or less, feel like he's offering her a second chance. Despite their falling out, she's safe in
Stephen's arms, offering refuge in these hard times. Even though he sings it with the furor of "Self-Starter", it still brings out
the emotions of songs like "The Unwinding Cable Car" and "Inevitable". A double whammy if anything.
37Anberlin
Dark is the Way, Light is a Place


"Take Me (As You Found Me)" - I've mentioned in many writeups earlier that the ballads on Dark is the Way, Light is a Place
was far from Anberlin's best. At worst, they were trudgingly boring, tediously dragging on forever and ever, and at best they
sparked no reaction. This is the one exception, because this starts the row of ballads that plagues the middle of the album,
and frankly, if the rest of the album's ballads were as good as "Take Me", I'd be pretty damn happy. But instead, we're left
with this being the outlier, and the rankings clearly show its superiority compared to "Pray Tell" or "You Belong Here". The
emotions start pouring in as soon as Stephen opens his goddamn mouth, and the strain in his vocals when he cries "the world
is on fire" just starts the ride, and it's one of the best moments on the song. All of that builds into the blissful chorus, which
is perfectly complemented with the sparse kick of the drums. The track slowly grows from a short first chorus into a
lengthened second repetition, which is fully effective in expressing all of the emotion that is but a byproduct of Stephen's
forlorn vocal delivery. The way the song slowly fades out to let him cry "take me as you found me" once before the rest of
the band kicks back in is just so damn powerful. Stephen sings the song like he knows it's a hopeless situation, and pleading
won't help, but hell, he still does it anyway. When he sings the line "Who's gonna drink my blood, now that you're gone.
Who's gonna ride up my roads now that you're gone?", a rather abusive relationship comes to mind, rather that be verbally or
physically (most likely verbally), and even though she gave him hell, he misses it. It's all a sad song, and the sad songs that
Anberlin made were some of their best.
36Anberlin
Lost Songs


"Downtown Song" - As this gem from Lost Songs leaves, that leaves only one more B-side alive, and I think we all can guess
what that is. That could show up anytime, but I digress. "Downtown Song" was a rejected track from the Never Take
Friendship Personal sessions, and in my opinion, it's better than half the songs that actually made it onto the album.
"Stationary Stationery"? "Time & Confusion"? They're complete crap compared to "Downtown Song", which is a highlight in the
band's early career. The harmonization in the verses is a pure gold, and don't get me started on the chorus - even if it's "only
the lonely know" repeated multiple times, it's catchy as hell, and the instrumentation keeps it interesting. The way they
slowly end to let Stephen sing, "You're the last thing on my mind" before kicking back in before and after the chorus is
effective, and it's one of the song's multiple charms. Even though it sonically fits more in with Blueprints than Never Take
Friendship Personal, it's not that far off from "A Day Late" musically. Why was this a B-side?
35Anberlin
Blueprints for the Black Market


"Cadence" - Many people point to Blueprints as the band's worst album, simply because it was their most immature record and
was too pop-punk influenced compared to their later work. Well, while most of the album is fluff (and those are the ones
ranked amongst the bottom), there are some heavier songs that would become the band's blueprint for later success. And
"Cadence" is definitely one of those songs. With the elimination of this song, that leaves "Readyfuels" and "Naive Orleans" as
the last two songs left on Anberlin's debut - fittingly enough, it's an opener and a closer, but we'll delve into more detail
when we get there. Then again, the only other album with 2 songs left is Dark is the Way, so it's pretty clear that these two
are my least favorite Anberlin records, DITW considerably more. Let's talk about "Cadence", for a change. It's definitely one
of the heavier songs on Blueprints, built among a riff that weaves among aggression in the vocals (complemented by angered
vocal delivery from Stephen) and beauty in the chorus. "The closer I come to you, the closer I am to finding God - you're a
miracle to me" is the only line in it, and it's one of those lines that's coated in religious imagery that Stephen loves using.
The song breaks into a nice guitar solo, and after that the acoustic comes in, and it's nothing but Stephen and the acoustic
guitar, creating an aura of intimacy that was rare on Blueprints.
34Anberlin
Never Take Friendship Personal


"Audrey, Start the Revolution!" - I don't think I have to mention how extremely competitive this section of the ranking in. Any
other day of the week, this song could break the Top 20, but we'll have to settle at a very respectable #34. This is a rare
occasion in Anberlin's discography, but this is just one of those songs where I prefer the verses to the chorus. Well, the first
one at least. "Maybe tonight we?ll get back together, sound the alarms and break all the levers" opens the song, and in my
opinion, it sets the stage very, very well for the rest of the track. Stephen sings the line in his higher register, and 95% of
the time whenever he does that, emotions are seeping out of the cracks of the speakers, and it's just one of his strong suits
as a vocalist. He also does this in the chorus, which I do love, but not as much as the verses, with the line "Do you think we
have a chance tonight?
As streetlights sing". It's an anthemic song, no doubt, which was actually Stephen's intention when he wrote it, with the
titular Audrey referring to Audrey Hepburn, whose humanitarian work earned his respect. As for the verses, they give out the
most anthemic feel on the song, and it's a fist-pumping crowdpleaser that will no doubt go down as one of their greatest
accomplishments.
33Anberlin
New Surrender


"Soft Skeletons" - To all the people who say New Surrender is one of Anberlin's weakest albums, I'd like to disagree with you
right here. Although there are some not-so-good songs, there are gems like "Soft Skeletons", "Haight St." (which isn't that
popular of an opinion) and "The Resistance" that rank amongst the band's best. "Soft Skeletons" is a song that seems epic
even though its length is only barely over four minutes. Funnily enough, it's the second longest song on New Surrender
besides "Miserabile Visu", so that does explain a lot, given that it comes right before it on the tracklist. "Soft Skeletons"
paints the image of a young girl who has been abused, and "hands and bruises cover face". Whether the abuse is physical or
sexual is irrelevant - Stephen's vocals on this are top notch as usual, whether it be the woos in the background or the
verses, which benefit from the instruments taking the low road. "Don't fix your eyes on a fix you'll rely on" is a great lyric, but
perhaps the most moving is the first lines of the chorus - "When the light starts to burn, and the pain returns,
I just wish that I could heal the hurt you feel tonight". The way Stephen sings it feels like he wants to relieve her of her pain,
but he can't and he knows it's a lost cause. The whole song builds to an astounding finale, when he strains his voice to sing
higher, and god damn it's beautiful. And listening to it right before "Miserabile Visu", oh god...
32Anberlin
Vital


"Desires" - Vital is an album that contains both aggressive songs and soft electronic-tinged ballads, and "Desires" might just
be the heaviest song on the record along with "Self-Starter". As soon as the opening riff comes roaring in, you know you're
strapped in for one hell of a hard ride, and the song makes good on its promises. The guitar on "Desires" is one of my favorite
parts of the song, quietly prancing in the verses and then constantly attacking in the chorus like a knife constantly stabbing
into its victim. The assaulting riffs are what build the song, and the sudden strike only builds onto its effect. The sudden
change from soft verse into loud chorus makes "Desires" feel anthemic, and Joseph Milligan gets another chance to show off
his skills on the guitar during the shredding solo which makes way for the dramatic ending. Everything sweeps out as Christian
yells "ALIVE! ALIVE! THAT'S WHAT YOU MADE OF ME!" before they come back in, smashing down on the song.
31Anberlin
New Surrender


"Haight St." - As we make our way into the Top 30, another song from New Surrender leaves, although many people have
been waiting for its exit ever since I knocked out some fan favorites. With that said, I do agree on some level as to why this
song isn't all that great - it, along with "Younglife" and "Blame Me! Blame Me!", feel more at home on Blueprints next to
"Foreign Language" and "The Undeveloped Story" instead of next to "Feel Good Drag" and "Soft Skeletons". And I get that -
"Haight St." is a very carefree, breezy song that almost comes off as too immature for men in their 30s to write. But that's
where I draw the line, because "Haight St." is too great to overlook. It begins with some chirping synths, an experiment for
Anberlin back in 2008 when "Mathematics" was the only previous song to utilize it, but the guitar soon comes in and I'm
reminded why I love it. It's just a feel-good anthem for those summer nights, complete with an anthemic sing-along chorus to
boost. It's impossible not to feel happy listening to this, as Stephen's cries of "Old enough to know but too young to care"
and "If there's trouble tonight, well the kids are alright" just feel so damn nostalgic for me, and it's that feeling that "Haight
St." brings that I just can't overlook. It may not be as emotional as their masterpieces, but it still hits some feels pretty hard.
Other tidbits about it include the infectious clapping throughout the whole song, and the bridge that consists of nothing but a
feel-good "whoaohwhoaohoh". "Haight St." is a wonderful tune, one that instantly fills you up with energy and happiness... at
least for me.
30Anberlin
Devotion


"Said Too Much" - So, we begin our Top 30, and the first song on its way out is this gem from Devotion, leaving only one of
Vital's B-sides still intact. The thing is, many songs on Devotion are better than lots of the songs on Vital, and songs like
"Said Too Much" easily could have filled the void of "Intentions" or "Innocent". Every second of this song is excellent, and just
from that first line - "Surgery... open heart surgery, confessions committed one by one", you know you're strapped in for one
hell of a song. Stephen's vocals on this are just breathtaking; he goes into his higher register right before the chorus, and
whenever Stephen sings like that, the results are always splendid. Speaking of that chorus, it's one of the most powerful on
Devotion. The instruments suddenly rush in, pounding hard as Stephen cries, "Am I saying too much or not enough?" while
synths distort his voice slightly. All of that combined just shows off the band's talents as songwriters, along with the bridge,
which has the instruments still pounding over a crowd of "oohs" as Stephen meekly sings under the huge rush of noise. It's a
loud, aggressive song, but it also has its moments of beauty. "Said Too Much" deserves its place in the top 30, and it could
make a definitive argument for the top 20 too.
29Anberlin
Lowborn


"We Are Destroyer" - This song belongs to a category that we last eliminated 58 spots ago. What category is that, you may
ask? Why, that is the opener. That's right - ever since "We Owe This to Ourselves" got the boot at #87, no other Anberlin
opener has left us until now. And that really says something about the strength of them, given that 6 of them are in the top
29, meaning roughly a little more than 1/5th of every song from here on out is the first track on an album. That's insane, but
Anberlin knows how to start and finish a record (speaking of finishing, we'll get to that later). Typically, they hit hard, with
furious riffs, aggressive vocals and fast tempos. "We Are Destroyer" is no exception, but it does have one thing that makes it
unique - synths, which pop in throughout the verses. Of course, that's only natural, given that Lowborn had Anberlin use lots
of electronic influence. The verses are rather quiet, but that only makes the fast build, instanced by the fast rising drum
beat, so much more effective. "In just a matter of minutes, in just a matter of time, we could lose it all!" goes the anthemic
hook, explaining how everything we have could be gone within time because of stupidity and selfishness from humans. When
Stephen yells "WE ARE THE DESTROYERS", the we he's referring to is humanity.
28Anberlin
New Surrender


"Retrace" - Many people believe that New Surrender is a step back from Cities, and I actually agree with that, but that's not
because New Surrender sucks, it's because Cities was so magnificent that anything that followed it would never meet
expectations. In my opinion, it gets too much hate, especially when there's beautiful songs like "Retrace". This song just
shows how emotional Stephen Christian can be as a vocalist - that chorus hits the feels hard, especially on that line
"Counting backwards while the stars are falling"; the way his vocals just trace off (no pun intended) at the end give off a
sense of despair because he's trying to relive the cherished moments he had with his girl, yet those days are gone and he
knows it, but he's still trying to recreate the same feeling he felt back then. The bridge then ratchets up the emotion again,
and when the violins come in during the instrumental break, it doesn't come off as cheesy, it comes off as an example of
excellent songwriting, incorporating strings into the right place. It's just one of the many displays of how Anberlin have
musically progressed since their 2003 debut. I'd like to retrace the emotions I've felt when I first heard this song - it was
wonderful.
27Anberlin
Never Take Friendship Personal


"(The Symphony of) Blase" - We go from emotional track to emotional track, because following "Retrace" comes this little cut
from Never Take Friendship Personal. In fact, this was perhaps the first acoustic ballad that Anberlin had ever made - none
were on Blueprints, and this was the only one on NTFP. The song has an intimate atmosphere because it's only Stephen, the
restrained drumbeat and Joseph Milligan playing acoustic guitar - the instrumentation (or lack thereof) makes the song so
much more powerful, especially that first line in the chorus - "I don't wanna be where you are", when the drums kick in and
Stephen's vocals become so much more emotional. And like "Retrace", the song ends at the mercy of the violins, which
quietly creep into the background amongst plucked acoustic strings and a beaded shaker. It's Anberlin doing emotional in one
of the best ways they can, and that's why "(The Symphony of) Blase" is so powerful.
26Anberlin
Devotion


"Unstable" - Throughout their eleven year long stint as a band, Anberlin have explored multiple topics lyrically - religion,
relationships, youth, death, politics, love and life, but one topic that they haven't explored much is suicide. While many songs
recycle old subject matters, "Unstable" is unique in the way that not many other Anberlin songs discuss this topic thoroughly.
As the last B-side standing off of Devotion, this song is a gem that should have been on Vital, because it is better than its B-
side status would suggest, and it's better than 75% of the songs that are "A-sides". The song begins with a piano riff that
instantly reminds me of "Piano Lessons" by Porcupine Tree, and even if it isn't as good as that (well, nothing is, really), it
leads into the one of the best songs recorded in the 2012 era. Stephen cries the line "How can I talk you down from that
ledge unless you let me in?" with such regret and melancholy that it feels like all hope is gone for the subject of the song.
The drums then kick in, and it's a marching band beat repeating itself over and over until the second verse ends. An acoustic
guitar replaces it, and the sudden switch of instruments doesn't feel choppy at all, it feels like mood whiplash that reflects
the nature of the song. The verse is more accusatory, while the chorus is a plea to "step back from that ledge, my friend".
The drums return to close out the song, but "Unstable" ends on an optimistic note - instead of asking her not to do it,
Stephen's proclaiming that he will talk her out of this - a nice use of subtle lyric change that works very, very well.
25Anberlin
Lowborn


"Dissenter" - And we go from one end of the Anberlin spectrum to the other, from the emotional tearjerkers to the
headbanging rockers. That's just how versatile Anberlin's catalog is - even if it's only for one song, "Dissenter" is completely
different from anything else the band has ever released. Furious drums kick it off, then loud, blaring synths (which doesn't
feel out of place on such a heavy track). This doesn't seem like that big of a deal... until the vocals come in. For a man
renowned for his talents at spreading emotion through is voice, "Dissenter" shows Christian going all out, using harsh vocals
throughout the whole song for the first time ever. It's such an energetic track that pumps you up, especially that chorus.
The first time around, it seems as if he's just speaking it loudly - "WHOA! YEAH! NOW! BRING IT ALL TO ME!", but the second
time a background layer of melody is added and the combination of the two works wonder. There's even an instrumental
break that consists of just acoustic guitar as Stephen sings in his emotional tone, and you'd think the song has completely
changed. Of course, it comes back full circle as the instruments speedily crank up to 11 and Stephen screams out the rest of
the song. The first time I heard "Dissenter", that took me by surprise, but in a great way.
24Anberlin
Dark is the Way, Light is a Place


"To the Wolves" - When I first heard Dark is the Way, Light is a Place, there was one song that initially stood out to me other
than the epic closer, and that was this little gem in the album's latter half. The whole album is rather slow paced, with lots of
ballads and just lower-tempo tracks. Aside from "Impossible", this is probably the fastest song on Dark is the Way, and it's
one of the best. While Anberlin's ballads were below par on the record, the rockers weren't, and "To the Wolves" is a fast
blitz with lyrics like "You wanna put two in my chest, I wanna be the one in your head" and memorable chants of the titular
phrase. The "whoa-oh"s are incredibly infectious, and like many of Anberlin's rockers, the song is very anthemic. "TO THE
WOLVES! YOU LEFT ME TO THE WOLVES!" cries Stephen as he tries to take action against backstabbers, and it's just so fun
to listen to. Who needs enemies when we got friends, indeed. There's a reason this shines amongst the rest of Dark is the
Way, and that's because it's so damn energetic.
23Anberlin
Cities


"A Whisper & A Clamor" - It's been quite a while since the last song from Cities came out - 24 songs to be exact, which is
bigger than the 19 spot reprieve for Blueprints and Dark is the Way. Like those albums, Cities has a significant quality gap.
The first few songs that got the boot were great songs, but the rest are some of the best songs that Anberlin have ever
written in their career. It's such a great album, and one of my favorites of all time. The first half of Cities begins with some of
its rockier songs, including "Godspeed". Electric guitar starts everything off, and there's that one moment in the first verse
where Stephen sings a line in the background, but it's all leading up to that chorus. "Clap your hands, all ye children! There's
a clamor in your whispering tonight!" is just one of those classic Anberlin moments, but the lyric that comes after it "For most
who live and breathe, Hell is never knowing who they are now" is perhaps the most powerful. It means a lot to me, and I feel
a personal connection to it. The drumming on "A Whisper & A Clamor" is top notch, and Nate Young was at his prime on the
Cities album. The way the song ends, with all the instruments but the acoustic guitar fading out as Stephen harmonizes with
himself by using separate vocal tracks, is just bliss. That's what Cities is all about.
22Anberlin
Lowborn


"Atonement" - I can't believe this song is going to fall short just shy of the top 20 - any other day this could have been ten
spots higher. But this region of the ranking is hella competitive, with classic tracks pitted amongst their newer gems. And
"Atonement" is definitely a gem. Out of all the songs on Lowborn, it has to be the most emotional one, and that's not an easy
feat when we have "Stranger Ways", "Losing It All" and "Harbinger". The thing is, what makes this song hit all the right feels is
the fact that Anberlin are self-aware at the fact that this is their last record and that they will break up, ceasing to exist as
a band following its release. Listening to the lyrics of "Atonement" make the song much more powerful - lines like "I?ve seen
faces I may never see again, I?ve been places I never could have dreamt" are reflecting on all the experiences they've had
together as a group. The guitar riff also boosts the emotional facet. The way Stephen sings "I found peace in a foreign
atonement" is so moving, but that's nothing compared to the chorus, which just does everything right. "Don't want to be
here, don't wanna be here without you". With all the circumstances surrounding the band, that line (and the background "I
don't wanna go alone") are the reasons why Lowborn is such a great swan song. It feels like a farewell album, with slow
songs like this that are meant for breaking up. T
21Anberlin
Blueprints for the Black Market


"Readyfuels" - Well, here we are. The song that started it all. Eleven years and 88+ tracks ago, this was the world's
introduction to Anberlin, and they couldn't have kicked off their careers with a better song. Even though Blueprints was a
very poppy album for the band, the opener for it was one of the more riff-driven, heavier tracks on it, and thus the second
best. Before I talk about anything else, I'd like to address Nate Young's drumming on the track, which is fan-fucking-tastic.
The song's instrumental intro starts with him as the focal point, and even in the verses, the drumwork is precise and on beat,
and that's not discounting the fill before the second verse. The whole instrumental section is great on this (shining amongst
the rest of the album), with a nice guitar solo to boot. The song's greatest strength is that it's so damn catchy; that hook is
the definition of an Anberlin earworm. "We're running hot tonight and it feels so good, your arm in mine here near midnight and
it feels so right" is some of the most infectious words that have come out of Stephen's mouth. He sings it with such energy,
just as he damn well should, because it is a very energetic song. Even when they were young, they were still kickin' ass with
their openers.
20Anberlin
Lost Songs


"The Haunting" - I've talked a lot in this list about B-sides, and how lots of them turned out to be better than some of the
album's A-sides. Well, here's a song that manages to be my favorite Anberlin B-side of all time, and even though it didn't
make it onto Cities (not surprising given the quality that it had to compete against), the album's flow was too flawless to
have it be tainted by the inclusion of this track. But then again, that's what B-side compilations are for, to let the world know
of all the hidden gems in a band's discography. And "The Haunting" is undoubtedly a true gem, right from the start with the
haunting (no pun intended) acoustics to the final word uttered out of Stephen's mouth. The song is all about the build - it
starts off as a sweet acoustic ballad driven by his cry of "You haunt me baby, you haunt me here tonight," and slowly gets
louder until the electric guitar settles in and the full band comes out to play. The crunching lick that is played in front of
everything else just helps it progress onto heavier things, and soon his repeating of "You haunt me baby, you haunt me here
tonight" becomes less beautiful and more aggressive. It all culminates in a guitar solo and goddamn, it's hard to realize that
this is the same song that started out so intimate and beautiful. Then again, it's still not the most dynamic song recorded
during the Cities era...
19Anberlin
Never Take Friendship Personal


"Never Take Friendship Personal" - In order for you get a hint of how great Anberlin openers are compared to the meat in the
middle of the albums, there are four (including this) of them in the Top 20. In fact, the next opener to fall - which will be
either "Godspeed", "The Resistance" or "Self-Starter" - won't do so for a while. The title track to Anberlin's second album just
shows off everything great about the first track on a record of theirs. From the moment that guitar riff comes in, the tone of
the song is set - a vicious, aggressive behemoth that is filled with the energy of anger. In fact, the first verse begins and
ends with some snarled lyrics - "There's a hatchet! Got a knife? When I awoke there was nothing real in this life" seems to fit
"Never Take Friendship Personal"'s mood well, yet the agitated way Stephen strains his voice at the line "I really do care" is
something that doesn't happen too much on Anberlin. It's partly why the fact it also happens again on "Once a skeptic, now
the critic" is so good. Then again, I didn't mention the screamed line at the end of the bridge either. This song is home to one
of Stephen's harshest vocal performance, and it's the clear highlight of the song. Anberlin openers are always energetic, and
"Never Take Friendship Personal" is one of the most energetic songs on the album that birthed its name, withstanding "The
Feel Good Drag", "Paperthin Hymn" and "Audrey, Start the Revolution!". I haven't even talked about the chorus yet, but that's
partially because everything else is so good that its just less great. At first, it sounds like the line is "Innocence gone, never
take friendship personal" twice, yet in actuality the second time around goes "In a sense gone, never take friendship
personal". Stephen sings them nearly identically, but the small changeup does make the feeling of betrayal and backstabbing
feel more hurtful to the subject of the track. That's why that bridge - "The greatest tragedy is not your death but a life
without reason" and "Your life has no reason, your life has no purpose" feels much more malicious in return.
18Anberlin
Vital


"Someone Anyone" - Anberlin always go for the rockers on the first single, and the introduction to Vital is no different. Yet because Vital was
the band's most electronically-influenced album at the time, a blast of synthesizer opens it up before the frenzy of instruments come in and
the aggressive tone for the song is set. Politics isn't an issue that the band often discuss, but on "Someone Anyone" the rattling drums and
blaring synths signify the call for action that the song seems to suggest. Written following the bloodshed during the Arab Spring, it's such a
high-energy track that you can help but sing along to. Even though it's a protest song, with lyrics like "If we don?t learn from their past, we?ll
repeat their history, oh, at last" and "Anyone can start a war, no one can walk away truly alive", it's also one that can be attributed to
personal struggles and dilemmas. The anthemic vocals in the chorus really do build up the feeling of aggression and action that "Someone
Anyone" wants to convey, and for that it succeeds in being both catchy and energetic. The synths on this song are used perfectly, in all the
right places at all the right times. The way the drums kick in right before the hook and the way the electronics smoothly glide against
Stephen's vocals are just a few examples of the excellent songwriting on the tune.
17Anberlin
Blueprints for the Black Market


"Naive Orleans" - Well, this is it folks. It's the end of the line for Blueprints, which is the first album to have all its songs completely
eliminated. Somewhat surprising after all those songs from Dark is the Way got the boot so early, huh? But that's the thing - Dark is the Way
has a very distinct upper half and bottom half - while the bottom half is pretty bad, there's still a few songs that are top notch. Blueprints,
however, is one that has its quality spread around all throughout the list. And so here we are. It seems fitting that the last song standing
would be its closer, although it's a different type of closer than the ones that Anberlin usually make. Although it's still the longest song on the
album, it's the shortest closer at 4:08. That's because on Blueprints there was no epic finale, but that doesn't make it any worse of a song -
it's still in the Top 20, even though it's only the third out of seven closers to go out. Blueprints as a whole is still a better album than Dark is
the Way is, but the highest point falls just short of DITW's peak. Anyway, let's actually talk about the song. "Naive Orleans" is the best song
on Anberlin's debut album simply because of the sheer emotion that it brings. And as misused as the term is, it's probably the closest that
they got to emo, with its instrumental section and vocals not too far from some of the genre's classics. It all begins with Stephen lamenting
over lost love over a simple guitar line, spitting out lines like "Come and go now as you please, your actions write the melodies" and you can
clearly hear the pain in his voice when he sings the first verse. The final line of it is "And I finally found that life goes on without you, and my
world still turns when you're not around", spoken with a hushed tone and immense regret. A guitar riff quickly kicks in, making you think that
it's going to get heavier, but then it rapidly fades out leaving the drums alone only to kick back in and be the main drive of the song. The two
deceptions that it pulls are amazing, especially since the band was so young when they wrote this song. It's at this point where "Naive
Orleans" kicks into gear and just lets go. The vocal delivery on "Sitting here beside you but my heart's lost in New Orleans" is just
tearjerking,
and it's one of the saddest moments on the whole Blueprints album. The fire behind the chorus' instrumental section parallels the lyrical
content of it, when Stephen finally realizes that life can go on without her, however tragic it may be. Suddenly, the slow crooner becomes an
upbeat anthem, and that dynamic is what makes "Naive Orleans" so powerful. Listening to this after Anberlin's breakup seems prophetic in a
way - "And I finally found that life goes on without you" is now a metaphor for life after Anberlin, all the fans who couldn't bear to watch their
favorite band finally end. The drumming on "Naive Orleans" is precise and onbeat, which is why devoting the last minute of the song to a
Nathan Young drum solo seems fitting. Still, I can't get past how goddamn powerful that chorus is - all the cries of "Your actions write the
melodies" and "And my world still turns when you're not around" is so fucking sad to me, and as emotional as the songs on Cities are, "Naive
Orleans" is a definite career highlight for Anberlin. Life does go on without them, but that doesn't mean I'm still not sad about it.
16Anberlin
Dark is the Way, Light is a Place


"Depraved" - Well, isn't this fitting. Right after Blueprints is completely eradicated with the last song standing as its closer, the same happens
to Dark is the Way, Light is a Place. And as Anberlin's worst album, it still has its highlights in "To the Wolves", "Take Me (As You Found Me)"
and "Depraved". For an Anberlin closer, it's actually on the shorter side, seeing as it's only five minutes long, but it's still one of the best
songs they ever made. Part of this is because of how perfectly the band uses dynamics to change mood so effectively and hastily. It begins
with a simple guitar riff that just plays on in the background as Stephen slowly airily lets out his pleas - "Are you depraved? Or are you
deceived? Excuses aside, stop saying please" is one of the main lines of the song, and it doesn't have that many actually, despite being a long
song. Slowly, it builds - the drums come in on "You're not a slave, now get off your knees", and with each repetition of that line, Stephen's
vocals become more aggressive and louder, only to have everything fade back into the black. It seems like the build was going to go on
before it suddenly ends and everything goes back to the way it originally was. The second verse is exactly the same as the first, with one
minor lyric change, and so is the second chorus, but this time around, the build continues and the whole song erupts as Stephen cries
"Someone tell me your name" over and over again in such arena-ready fashion. It's actually good that this didn't happen the first time around
- had it, the effect that the dynamic change has wouldn't nearly be as powerful. The drums crash, the guitars wail on and on as Stephen
keeps repeating that line - "Someone tell me your name" - thirteen times only for the song just to fade back into the same quiet and calm
that it began with, in fact, the lyrics are the same as the first verse, and it's easy to miss this, but he quietly moans "Don't feel, chained up"
in the background from the third verse to the end of the song. Eighteen times it is repeated, and it is repeated through the sudden change
back into a high-energy rocker again. "Depraved" ends with the rattling cries of "Someone tell your name" over a soft hush of "Don't feel,
chained up", and as Milligan wails on and on, the cymbals crash and the riff slowly draws to a close. It's perhaps one of the band's shorter
closers, but it feels a lot longer due to its excellent use of dynamics, going from 10 to 100 in mere seconds and coming at the most
unexpected points in the song. Without them, "Depraved" wouldn't be the song it is, and it owes a lot to it. Stephen said of the song: "This
song was inspired by those who I observed to be stagnant, to me this life is about those who are willing to go out and take it by throat. We
make our own choices and live with the consequences; it seems others simply react to whatever happens to them, lying dormant until the
next circumstance overtakes them. Go take on this life, its conquerable to those few with determined spirits."
15Anberlin
Cities


"Reclusion" - If there was any song that sounded most similar to this on Cities, it would probably actually be "There Is No Mathematics". Both
begin with a blaring line of synth, but that's where the similarities end. While "Mathematics" lacks the energy and spark that most of the
other songs on Cities had, "Reclusion" proves to be amongst some of the best. Featured prominently in the verses, the synths help set the
mood as Stephen quietly, in a whispery tone, sings out lyrics like "There's someone inside me that softly kills everyone around
They don't know they're dead to me cause intent never makes a sound". Even though the instrumentation on the song is tight, the best part
about "Reclusion" is the lyrics. They're so dark and grim, not offering any optimism or hope at all, just sadness and eternal melancholy.
"There's an art in seclusion, a production in depression. If a stranger turns up missing, this song is my confession" is some pretty deep stuff,
for a band that normally focuses on the immediate aftereffect of a broken heart. "Reclusion" isn't heartbreak, it's depression. Stephen himself
admits he was in a very dark place when he wrote the lyrics to this song. And the funny thing is, despite its brooding imagery, the song itself
is very vibrant and energetic. When he cries out, "You're sick, sick as all the secrets that you deny" in the chorus with such fervor, you'd
never guess the rest of the lyrics are as grim and self-loathing as they are. The whole internal conflict isn't portrayed better in any song but
"Reclusion", and even though the words are dissonant from the melody, it stands as one of the best tracks on Cities lyrically.
14Anberlin
Cities


"Inevitable" - Amazing how this list turns out the way that it does. I end up hurting the songs I truly love, but it's hard to rank the greatness
of Anberlin without differing opinions. Don't worry though, it's not over now. "Inevitable" is a song that could make my Top 10 any day, and it
sucks that I'm putting double digits next to it. I mean, this is one of those songs by them that everyone knows and loves, but unfortunately
they have 13 songs better than it (Fugazi reference unintended). From the moment that low bassline comes in and the acoustic guitar follows
with the chimes, all the emotions just come back again and it's some stuff that immediately brings me back to the first time I heard this song
in the summer. Everything about "Inevitable" is gorgeously beautiful, from every acoustic strum to the graceful vocals. It's one of the most
emotional songs that Anberlin have ever made, and there's nothing like it. Coming in the midst of darkness ("Reclusion") and sadness
("Alexithymia"), it's a nice change of pace from all the post-breakup drama and for that, its place in the tracklist is perfect. "Do you
remember when we were just kids and cardboard boxes took us miles from what we were missed" is such a whopper of an opening line,
delivering a punch of emotion that the instrumental section so perfectly complements. The songwriting on "Inevitable" is just amazing, and
shows how much Anberlin have progressed from the simple Blueprints days. The way the acoustic guitar plays on with such a wintery,
Christmas-like atmosphere layered on top of the repeating chimes really does make this song feel cold, but it's not a depressing cold, it's
more like the image of snowfall on a dark December night, lit up by colored lights. When the plucking comes in in the second verse and the
harmonies make their way through, everything is just right. The drums start pounding, and then the violins sweep through. The way that
"Inevitable" builds just shows the greatness of Anberlin and the greatness of the Cities album. The haunting delivery of "I wanna be your last
first kiss" comes off as so damn romantic and it's all just so glorious as Stephen spits out that last verse with every ounce of passion that is
contained in his heart.
13Anberlin
New Surrender


"Feel Good Drag" - Alright, now this is not exactly how I planned out my list to be. When I originally calculated everything, I forgot to count the
fact that there were two versions of this song, and I was left with a dilemma as for how to carry this out. But I know exactly what I'm doing
with this, and I'm making a statement with this that should cease the whining from people who use this as a weapon.
12Anberlin
Never Take Friendship Personal


"The Feel Good Drag" - Yes, I get that you people think that the version on Never Take Friendship Personal is A LOT BETTER that the remake
that went to #1 on the Alternative charts and introduced their name to millions of radio listeners. But that's irrelevant. Because I get that you
love it. But I just don't get how one could hate the version on New Surrender - the only difference is that there's a slightly different intro and
Stephen doesn't scream three words in the bridge, plus the production is a teeny bit neater. That is it. I mean, just from the pummeling
sound of that opening riff, you know that "The Feel Good Drag" is a beast of anger and scorn. Stephen Christian sings the verses of this song
with a sort of swagger to it, lines like "My boyfriend's gone and we can just pretend" or "Lips that need no introduction" are just dripping with
seduction to them, but that's before Stephen just lets loose. "WAS THIS OVER BEFORE, BEFORE IT EVER BEGAN?" is just one of those iconic
Anberlin lines that you can immediately attribute to "Feel Good Drag". I mean, come on. The song just has all the right things - it's got the
energy, it's got the fire and it's still got the emotion. By the time that bridge comes around, with that cry of "Failure is your disease, you
want my outline drawn. You were my greatest failure. DISCOURSE YOUR SAVING SONG!", shit gets real. "The Feel Good Drag" deserves to
be Anberlin's biggest hit, even if it may not reach the band's Top 10, it's a worthy choice for their signature song. It's such a high energy
rocker that solidifies their position.
11Anberlin
Vital


"Self-Starter" - Just before the top ten is the opening track of Vital, an album that had Anberlin bounce back from the disappointing Dark is
the Way, Light is a Place. It's also perhaps the heaviest song on the record. The drumming on this song is rapid-fire, and Stephen's vocal
delivery is aggressive with just the right amount of fire. A frenetic blitz, "Self-Starter" also carries one hell of an anthemic chorus, following
in the footsteps of previous Anberlin openers. Nate Young's talents truly shine on this track, and the way the bridge offers a calm before
returning to the storm is just wonderful. It's three minutes long, but that three minutes passes by so fast that it seems like a bit shorter.
Regardless, "Self-Starter" is a kick ass introduction to Anberlin's second greatest album where it ranks 3rd out of 11.
10Anberlin
Cities


"Dismantle. Repair" - One of the highlights from Cities, the penultimate track on Anberlin's magnum opus is just a great precursor to "(*Fin)".
Ending on a stretch of four of its best songs, "Dismantle. Repair" leads right into the grand finale, and it does it in such a raucous manner to
place it right inside the top ten. From the moment that Stephen sings, "One last glance from a taxi cab", that feeling resonates in me again
and I know I'm right back at this again. Built upon a simple acoustic riff, the first verse wallops you with so much emotion that when the
electric guitar comes in, the dynamic shift is as effective as it can be. "Things are gonna change now, for the better," he declares, but we all
know they aren't going to. Suddenly, the drums come in for the second verse, which goes back to the soft before the riff hits you in the head.
Then there's that chorus. My god. Very few Anberlin songs reach the heights that "Dismantle. Repair"'s chorus does, and there's a reason why
this is a top ten Anberlin song. As Stephen belts out "Hands like secrets are the hardest thing to keep from you, knives and phrases, like
knives your words keep cutting through", you can feel the pain and intensity in which he sings it all. "DISMANTLE ME DOWN! REPAIR! YOU
DISMANTLE ME, YOU DISMANTLE ME!". The way the drums quickly fade out on that final "REPAIR!" in the last chorus and then come back in,
everything about "Dismantle. Repair" justifies its position at #10. The acoustic version is also a recommended listen, as stripping it down also
brings out emotion.
9Anberlin
New Surrender


"The Resistance" - Kick ass openers. What more can I say? From the way the drums are pounded during the intro to the way that Stephen
heroically cries "You wanna watch us break? Be the first to take us down!", the first song on New Surrender sounds like the anthem for
teenage rebellion, and although its message is a bit more political in nature, it's got this vicious vibe to it that rings throughout. Nathan
Young's furious drumwork, especially right before the chorus, give "The Resistance" this huge, grand aura, and it's only boosted by its chorus.
"Too late to make demands, when you got a riot on your hands" is one of Anberlin's best lyrics, and Stephen sings it with this fury and anger,
and it's without a doubt one of Anberlin's heaviest songs ever. That bridge goes hard, and even though the band wanted it to be their
Operation Ivy song, it turned out to be their Rage Against the Machine song. Inspired by an interview with Osama bin Laden that Stephen
read in which the notorious terrorist leader called the United States "a bunch of paper tigers", "The Resistance" makes a pretty good
argument for the band's defining political song. An anti-politician rant, the track never comes off as preachy or forced, but rather frenetic and
hostile.
8Anberlin
Vital


"God, Drugs & Sex" - I have a feeling that the title is based off of the three things in life that Stephen enjoys the most. After all, they're
probably vital to his everyday life! Bad puns aside, it's actually astounding how much of a grower this song is. Closers like "Depraved" or
"Naive Orleans" were awesome on the first listen, but this one took a while to earn its spot at #8. After all, it doesn't reach that high of a
climax that "(*Fin)" or "Depraved" do, but if anything that makes it all that better. It starts out slow, and as Stephen croons lyrics like "We
were so comfortable living in each others skin, I was dying from within", one can only help but think that maybe, just maybe that he's
showing a more sensual side of himself, although that's just part of the song. "God, Drugs & Sex" has this lush, smooth atmosphere to it
during the whole time, and during the chorus it reaches a maximum, ethereal breaths and chill vibes included. The instrumentation may be a
bit simple, but the whole thing is so graceful. The female vocals provided by Christie DuPree harmonize so well with Stephen. The song
culminates in a loud gang chant, repeatedly shouting "Let go, let go of me, I'm not here, I'm already gone", and when it all ends, it's a
showstopping finale to one of Anberlin's most vital albums.
7Anberlin
Lowborn


"Hearing Voices" - This is it. The best song off of Lowborn, and considering the circumstances, would make a great closer for their career.
Although we got the decent but disappointing "Harbinger" to end Anberlin on, "Hearing Voices" is a track that is as epic and grandeur as most
closers while fitting into a length of three and a half minutes. The drumming is on point, the vocals are aggressive with fervor, and the whole
thing gives off a stadium-ready aura. Frankly, with their last show coming up in a few weeks, even though they don't play many Lowborn
songs, maybe they should play this. An attack on the hypocrisy of modern-day religious beliefs, the song's title was originally just "Voices"
before Stephen changed it out of respect to Saosin, whose big hit was also titled "Voices". (Not to mention Alice in Chains). Lyrics like
"Everyone wants to see heaven, but nobody wants to die" and "Everyone wants to know God, but they're afraid of what they find". For all the
press they stir up for vehemently rejecting the Christian Rock label, there are some extreme insults on tracks like this and "(*Fin)" that make
you wonder how far they would go to improve on religion. The verses come in rather subdued with some synths layered in between. Then we
get to the chorus, and it's just pure arena-ready goodness. "Can't escape this feeling, fears are born instead. How can I deny?" he cries out,
and it's such a powerful hook. That final blow at the end of "Can't stand a ghost when the ghost's not dead" adds a wallop and segues right
into "Harbinger", which is still moving in its own right.
6Anberlin
Vital


"Modern Age" - Ugh. I hate doing this. I really, really, really wanted to put this in the top 5 so badly, yet in the end it falls just short of the
threshold. But still, it's Anberlin's sixth best song ever, and that's a huge accomplishment giving the stiff competition that's actually in the top
five. It'd be hard to squeeze this in amongst all the greatness that's there, but it almost made it. And deservedly so, as it's the best song off
of Vital, an album that I found to be Anberlin's second best and one that revitalized their career after the disappointing Dark is the Way and
the divisive New Surrender (which I personally adore). Vital showed lots of electronic influence, and that certainly applies to "Modern Age", a
song so anthemic that it could be the theme song to revolutions, uprisings and workouts. As soon as the main riff kicks in, the scene is set for
something grand and epic, and that's what "Modern Age". It's a song about wanting to fit into society's molds, and it just feels like a damn
anthem. The way the drums pound right before Stephen so lushly cries, "Don't we all want to belong? Don't we all write our own song?", the
way he enunciates the words "belong" and "song", all of it just feels so right. The synths in the second verse are well placed in the
background, and while lyrics like "Fall asleep alone, safer than the off-chance of getting your heart attacked, one more time" could come off
as a bit pushy, it's supposed to drive home the message of looking into the future. When the chorus repeats itself a second time, guitarist
Joseph Milligan yells "Sing it!" right before every line, and that's perhaps the best part of the song. It's all "(Sing it!) Don't we all learn right
from wrong? And don't we all want to be loved?", and everything just flows together seamlessly. The "elusive sigh" that Stephen talks about
is never found, although that is for the best, as "Modern Age" doesn't need an elusive sigh. It needs the power and epicness that just gives
off the aura of the band shredding away on the stage in front of a crowd of over 100,000 people, dying to hear Anberlin play one last time
before they break up for good. The bridge takes all this pent-up energy and releases it, ending on that final battle cry - "Futures will never
keep the promises IF ALL WE HOLD IS YESTERDAY!" Eventually, the song fades for that last chorus, and the harmonization on the "sing it"s
are just amazing. The last chorus is the culmination of the whole album before "God, Drugs & Sex" closes it. Anberlin have always made
excellent pentultimate tracks. Hell, 3 of them are in the top 10, just as many closers and more than openers. "Modern Age" is epic. It
deserves everything it has earned.
5Anberlin
Cities


"Godspeed"
4Anberlin
New Surrender


"Miserabile Visu (Ex Malo Bonum)"
3Anberlin
Never Take Friendship Personal


"Paperthin Hymn"
2Anberlin
Cities


"The Unwinding Cable Car"
1Anberlin
Cities


(*Fin)
Show/Add Comments (539)

STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2023 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy