For the third installment of Deeper, please welcome my first ever guest blogger, Lindsay! Lindsay is one of my dearest friends; we’ve shared many a good conversation over Tijuana Flats and made memories at many great concerts. Anberlin was the band that brought us together (her first show at Cornerstone was my first, though we didn’t know each other then!) and her passion for music inspires me in so many ways. It’s my pleasure to introduce her writing to you this week!

(photo credit: Jered Scott)

What can I say about Anberlin? They kick-started one of the greatest loves of my life. Their music lead me down specific paths. They were the soundtrack to some of the most confusing, painful, and memorable days of my life. They will provide my daughter with a song that is all hers. As I left my teen years, I got their music permanently engraved into my skin. There’s just so much to say.

Anberlin entered my life in 2003/2004. I don’t know exactly when I first heard them, but I know it was on Z88.3’s online rock radio station, The Rock. “Readyfuels” was the first song I ever heard. I didn’t know the song was about young, passionate love making, but I knew that I hadn’t heard such a catchy chorus in quite a while.

From that point on, there was no stopping me. The first time I ever saw them was at Cornerstone Florida, and then two weeks later at the Social, which would become the setting for a lot of pivotal moments in my life. I remember they played “Dance, Dance Christa Päffgen” as the encore that night. As I left the Social, their music still ringing in my ears, and walked outside into the heart of downtown Orlando, I could feel an awakening in my soul.

You know that feeling you get when everything you love is within arm’s reach? The feeling of such an unconditional and immeasurable love. That’s the first time I ever felt such an emotion.

Anberlin stirs up emotions in me not many other bands are capable of doing. I can listen to a song and be immediately transported to a place in my life that I haven’t seen in quite some time. I can feel an emotion that’s otherwise been suppressed. A lot of their songs and albums have been soundtracks to very defining moments in my life. Some of them I would like to forget; others I will cherish forever. I can’t shake them if I want to. But at the time, they made ordinary interactions feel like I was in a movie. They’re simply magical.

Take a listen to “Godspeed” and tell me what it does to you. Or better yet, listen to “Debut” and how it leads in to “Godspeed.” I’m convinced these men have an equation in which they input incredible guitar riffs, witty and emotion-driven lyrics, catchy bridges, and a cohesiveness that I wish more bands possessed and more people appreciated. The result? The five albums they’ve put out over their band’s life.

As I’ve gotten older, their songs have taken on whole new meanings for me. Songs I previously heard as a naive teenager are suddenly now a lot more complex and a lot more real. “Never Take Friendship Personal,” for example, helped me define a friendship that abruptly ended after 8 years of emotional investment. The title alone says it all. “Paperthin Hymn” I know will be my source of comfort and solace when I deal with a loved one’s death. The song was written about Stephen (frontman) losing his grandmother, and as I still fortunately have both sets of grandparents, I know the days I lose them will be some of the hardest days of my life. This song will no longer simply be what used to be their guaranteed closer: the “single.” I just want one more chance to put my arms in fragile hands. Hearing that song live to this day brings tears to my eyes.

However, the most recent example would be their latest album, Dark is the Way, Light is a Place. When I first heard the tracks, I felt completely at a loss for words. Not just because it is a fantastic and beautiful album as a whole, but because what I was presently dealing with in life seemed to be entirely encompassed in these lyrics and in these melodies. It was confusing and there was a lot of heartache, but hearing Stephen sing allowed me to feel less alone. Take what you want from me, it means nothing now…

While I love listening to them at home on my record player and in my car during my many drives around Orlando, I absolutely love seeing them live. Most of the time I enjoy sitting in the back away from the mosh pits and angsty teens, and I take in every chord they play. I watch their chemistry and their individual quirks — my favorite being seeing Deon scream out the lyrics as he is shredding his bass. Their chemistry is unmistakeable and they just are simply fun. They don’t take themselves too seriously. They are humble. They are the sweetest and so appreciative. And you can tell they love every single person that is in the audience.

But one of my favorite things about them, and about being a fan of theirs for so long, is how evident their evolution has been over all these years. Each and every album exudes growth and maturity, and I think that is a beautiful thing to be able to witness. I feel very fortunate to have known them for so long and for being able to see them as much as I have. I’m proud that they’re Floridians and, more specifically, Orlandoans. As a music snob, I’m very possessive of them and always very nervous when they get more and more exposure. But they handle it so well and they have yet to lose their identity in this disaster that people call the music industry. They truly are an exception. From their individual personalities, to themselves as a band, and everything in between.

So what can I say about Anberlin? Certainly a lot. But I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface. They have been a fantastic companion to me in my early life, and I expect they will be for as long as I’m able to listen. They have been my beacon of hope, they have been a counselor, they have been my narrator and storyteller. And I love and appreciate them for every role they’ve ever played for me.

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