Christian Clifton laments hearing the news of the impending break up of one of his all time favorite bands; Anberlin.
I am relatively young and as such, the phenomenon of a band I follow breaking up is something I haven’t dealt with in the past. Sure there have been bands from my youth that have gone their separate ways but for the most part those were bands no one really expected to last forever (I.E. Every boy band from the late 90’s). Now however I am truly saddened to say that one of the bands that I have loved for years, Anberlin, is calling it quits this year and it really is making me feel rather weird.
You may or may not know of them as they never really hit popularity of a traditional sense. No I am not trying to be a hipster by liking a band “you’ve probably never heard of” because they are in fact quite well known but they never really fit in with main stream American music culture, if you have a moment go check out their YouTube Channel for some of their work and you’ll soon realize they are known the world over. Their sound and vocals are unique, never really falling in with many other bands but they have been on tour with the likes of Motion City Soundtrack, The Maine, and regularly appear on the Vans’ Warped Tour.
I first heard of them when I was in high school so obviously I was attracted a little by their being just outside of mainstream. It didn’t take long though for me to connect with their music in ways that still hits me today as I listen to some of their songs. Their unknown status allowed them to write lyrics that meant something and not necessarily just trying to appease a large fan base, I ate up the raw emotion in their songs and was always ready for my next serving.
I was really starting to grow up as Anberlin entered my world, my taste in music was becoming something real instead of ruled by the latest hits and cool melodies. I was finally starting to cherish meaningful lyrics more than a good sound and on that front they never let me down. I felt really mature being able to have a real reason why I like a band or song, and this pride only made the impact Anberlin had on me greater.
I will admit that some of their songs got me through tough times, being part of my playlists as I struggled with girls and self-esteem in ways many a young man can relate to. It was always fun finding words to match my feelings that were written so much more eloquently than my mind could muster; it brought some sense of normalcy to what I was dealing with. Plus, after getting shot down or friend zoned there isn’t much better than having a song to belt out that matches up with your heartache.
Some of the members are Christians and that shows through in a wonderful way, not with a preachy or evangelizing message but rather as part of their struggle that is life. Being a young Christian at the time of discovering them it was nice to hear some tunes that never would have fit in on a Sunday morning but rather synched perfectly with my own mind as it was reconciling the world around me with my faith. They have gotten flack for their personal convictions from both sides of faith but by being firm in their stance of not being a Christian-band they have found themselves on stage with and in front of a wide swath of people. The elements of their faith that made it into the music are ones we all feel; questions, doubts, pain, revelation, and simply trying to understand our place in this world.
It was earlier this year that Anberlin made the announcement that they were going to be leaving music. There is a small silver lining as they are planning one more studio album and a final tour to cap of nearly twelve years of playing together. I am constantly looking for updates on their album release date and tour schedule because if they are close I do not want to miss it.
I find myself caught in a weird paradox because I usually roll my eyes at the bands that have broken up and are now reuniting, but now there is a part of me that sincerely hopes the same thing happens here. If not I will bid them a fond farewell and cherish the memories I have, I don’t really blame them for wanting to bow out gracefully. Hopefully their final album is one for the ages, who am I kidding I know I’ll love it.
Well I know what I’ll be listening to the rest of the day now as just thinking so much about them as firmly seated some of their songs in my head. If anyone needs me I’ll be off somewhere with headphones in and the volume up.
–Photo: Anberlin in Concert by Tommy Au/Flickr