Review of Anberlin's Vital - Song By Song

Review of Anberlin’s Vital – Song By Song

Orpheum was certainly another surprise on the album. A few months ago a video was posted of a new song being performed called Control. The video was of poor quality and was, for the most part, completely undecipherable. What could be heard was something remarkable which stirred much anticipation for the upcoming album. The song begins with footsteps upon a wooden floor and a piano sons begins to play, starting the song off on a mysterious and intriguing note. Once vocals begin the song kicks into full gear. Orpheum is an absolutely beautiful song and is certainly one of the best on the album. This song is also certain to be another crowd please and is simply breathtaking. It features guest vocals from the four contest winners from a few months ago and they complement Stephen’s vocals nicely. I do however wish that the four winners had a bit larger of a part to play as each had amazing vocals which I believe could have complemented the album better had they been individually featured rather than in a group. Despite this, as I said, this song is simply breathtaking. It certainly could have been another great closing track for this album, and the decision not to use it as one makes one wonder how Anberlin can possibly outdo themselves on the actual closing track.

Modern Age begins by continuing with the ominous feel that Orpheum began and quickly comes to a strong opening. It seems as if these last few tracks are all in the same category as the “epic songs” that Anberlin has been known to end their albums with. Again Stephen outdoes himself with his vocal and lyrical work complemented magnificently by the drum and guitar work of his fellow band members. In my opinion, this track blows all others out of the water and is my personal favorite on the album. Stephen’s emotions pour out as he sings in the chorus “Don’t we all want to feel love? Don’t we all write our own songs? Let our silence break tonight. Don’t we all learn right from wrong? And don’t we all want to feel love? Let our silence break tonight.” I feel as if the band does their best work on this song in particular. Lyrics, vocals, drums, guitars, bass, synths, everything on this song is beyond breathtaking and the production is outstanding. Again, the small details which are only distinctly recognized apart from the rest of the track after a few listens are what make this song into something beyond extraordinary.

The final track, God, Drugs & Sex, starts off with what sounds like a distorted church choir. A slow yet powerful drumbeat begins and vocals begin soon after. Right away the song is easily identifiable as another of the band’s so-called “epic songs”. The song features vocals from Christie DuPree who is able to complement Stephen’s vocals very well. The song is almost hypnotizing and it is easy to tell why this track in particular was chosen as the closing song of the album. At around four minutes in a false ending starts and it begins an instrumental bridge which evolves into a sudden (start) of group vocals which only further enhances the epic feeling that the song has. “Let go, let go of me. I’m not here. Let go, let go of me now, because I’m already gone.” they sing as the song, and the album comes to a close – a close leaving the listener wanting more in a very, very good way.

Nate Young once said that if he heard anyone say they hope Vital is a Cities Part 2, he may involuntarily punch them. Rightfully so. Calling Vital a Cities Part 2 is nowhere close to what it truly is. This album goes beyond each of their past albums, taking the best of each, improving the best, and putting it all together into a heavy hearted work of staggering genius (NTFP shout out for all you old fans out there). It is simply breathtaking and, quite honestly, the best album I have heard. This album is truly a defining piece of work from the band. It actually causes one to begin to wonder how the band can possibly outdo themselves on their next record. If this album fails to earn album of the year, the music industry is officially dead. This album is sure to be a favorite among fans new and old, bringing back the raw and fierce sound of Never Take Friendship Personal and Cities, the breathtaking instrumentation of Dark is the Way, Light is a Place, and the fresh and youthful sound of Blueprints for the Black Market and New Surrender, all improved upon and with it’s own unique twist and feel. Simply put, Vital is revolutionary and magnificent. rating: 5/5 Stars

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