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Release Date: Feb 20, 2007
Label: Tooth & Nail
Genres: Indie Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
Number Of Tracks: 12
It may not reinvent the proverbial wheel, but Cities is probably just the rock release Anberlin fans and music lovers alike have been waiting for.
MetalBassist93, on february 22, 2007 6 of 8 people found this review helpful
Sound: Anberlin's third CD, "Cities", has all different types of sounds, from rock to electronica. Back from "Blueprints For The Black Market" and "Never Take Friendship Personal" and now to "Cities", their sounds have greatly improved over their years. A number of tracks have been built up with the instruments of the band and others have gotten different styles, such as acoustic sounds and electronic effects. All of the additions have made the songs itselves sound incredibly better. All in all, "Cities" has a huge variety of sounds that makes the CD sound incredible. // 10
Lyrics: As mentioned before with the sound of "Cities", the lyrics of the record have become a lot better with the meanings of their words. The lead vocalist, Stephen Christian, is an awesome vocalist and his voice has gotten a lot clearer sounding than Anberlin's previous records. Also, the backup vocals improve Christian's voice since some songs have a choir in them, such as (*Fin). Overall, the band's amazing vocals produce a great sound that goes really well with all of the instruments. // 10
Overall Impression: Throughout the entire album, the best songs that I enjoy are Godspeed (their "Cities" single), Adelaide, A Whisper & A Clamor, There Is No Mathematics to Love and Loss, Hello Alone, and Dismantle. Repair. I bought the Limited Edition of "Cities", which includes three great tracks, Uncanny, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, and The Promise. Also with the Limited Edition, you get a DVD that has interviews of each band member, backstage antics, and a whole lot more! "Cities" is a great buy for any Anberlin fan from the start or a new fan who chose to pick up this CD. // 10
takenthecannoli, on march 18, 2013 6 of 8 people found this review helpful
Sound: If any Christian rock act of the 2000s on straddled the mainstream and ante-secular (excusing Switchfoot and Relient-K), it was Florida's Anberlin. Garnering some attention with 2005's "Never Take Friendship Personal", the group continued to court the emo genre in with "Cities" in 2007. Producer Aaron Sprinkle (Kutless, Hawk Nelson) was brought back onboard from the previous two efforts, and singer Stephen Christian boasting a maturer direction for the band citing their debut as "man vs world", the followup as "man vs man", and "Cities" as "man vs self". A month before the album's release, the band dropped a guitarist (or vice versa), and the record itself released with a bit of hoopla in the form of a five-figured first week in sales (~35k).
Anberlin sports a vaguely punk-driven rock sound with its feet planted firmly in the mid 2000s. Riding the wave of other bands in the emo wave (tourmates Fall Out Boy) and the "cool kids" of the Christian rock scene, Anberlin has generally fallen in the darker, occasionally more mature (in relation to content) realm of both. The same brooding as employed in bands like Skillet is found on "Cities", with the occasional acoustic track to break loudness highs like "Godspeed", in which certain elements are barely perceptible from others. Meanwhile, "The Unwinding Cable Car" struggle to refresh in the midst of silly lyricism and somewhat-interesting harmonies. Balance eludes the album. In a telling episode of abruptness, intro "(Debut)" doesn't even blend into opener "Godspeed".
In the spirit of the band's previous work, "Cities" is primarily punk/rock with a somewhat tinny emo spin. Though power chords infest virtually every track in some form or another, not a solo nor standout is to be found. Similarly, the drums certainly seem to back the songs with some technical skill, but very little personality alone. With a bassist thrown in there (somewhere) for kicks, the bulk of the album is left on the shoulders of lyrics and vocals. Some electronic elements are thrown in the production itself feels conspicuously digital but don't add much. If anything, it steamrolls the band with the same "emo" label that Panic! At The Disco encountered with their debut; this is true especially of "There Is No Mathematics To Love And Loss" and "Godspeed".
Altogether, "Cities" packs the same exact bag of tricks as "Blueprints For The Black Market" and "Never Take Friendship Personal" a bag the band isn't hesitant to refer back to continuously and without variation. Some moments ("Inevitable", "(*Fin)") are pretty, and aren't likely friends of other bands the honesty of Christian's vocal work and the particular slam of the punk-influenced drum-and-guitar construction are solely responsible especially for the latter, which also features a cheesy choir segment. To the same extent, every track is juggling the same amount of buzzkill-versus-inspiration; the band doesn't pick and choose cheesy moments very well, even after three releases. // 4
Lyrics: As if the band doesn't drag at a slug's pace in its musical despair, Christian prolongs the suffering (in more ways than one) with bizarrely honest vocal work. On one hand, the genre demands a degree of emotion, but he does it with as much humor as a high schooler; his trials are so great, it seems, that he can't help but whine away every single song. Similar acts (previously mentioned Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance) get away with this because their respective frontmen insert a healthy dose of irony in even the most dramatic lyrical work. I can only compare Anberlin to reading a young person's diary the thoughts are too raw, too brutally honest, and difficult to transcend the writer's perspective. Christian has the same problem alienating listeners with an overload of melodrama.
Lyrically, I tend to have the same thoughts "I've got the gun/All I need is ten cents for the bullet"; "Could you kill, could you kill me"; "Clap your hands, all ye children"; and so on. Doom and gloom are two of my favorite side dishes, but when the concentration is so drastic and so inhumanely muddled, it's hard to swallow helped, perhaps, by music that only drives the point home. If the band didn't spend so much time wallowing in points gone over before, perhaps the profundity might shine. // 4
Overall Impression: "Cities" does not lack depth, and perhaps Anberlin doesn't even lack talent the issue here is of subtlety and clarity. Too often do the lyrics reach into the same hat, too seldom does the stream of consciousness break from nostalgia and general angst. The concept Christian mentioned, specifically the thematic progression from the last release, opens the door to great material for about half an album. The result really is just that; every other track is easily dismissed, including the unfortunate bookends. Stylistically, there isn't much happening; variation in general is a complete stranger. I hesitate to say that the record is a complete drag through the mud it would be ironic, considering the subject matter but, despite its somewhat hopeful ending, "Cities" does feel rather forlorn.
jtalep, on march 19, 2009 3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: There are millions of ways to describe how this album manages to pick you up clean off the floor, shake you limb from limb, then gracefully place you back on the ground with a new outlook on music, and even life. Debut, the first track on the album, is a 'sit down and buckle your seats' moment, lasting nearly a minute and a half, it really gives you a feeling for the how the record is going to be; dark, edgy, moody, but most of all, epic. With sound bites no doubt taken from the streets of Seattle where the album was recorded, it has a very deep growl to it, like a tiger ready to pounce, yet at the same time, calm enough you could close your eyes and drift off to this calming aura of sound.
And then, out of nowhere, bang, track 2 kicks in, the euphorically glorious Godspeed. You can certainly tell this was among the first tracks written for Cities. It is full of energy, passion, and a driving drum beat that gets your heart beating faster than a predator after it's prey. Then the album progresses and goes through just about every mood you can experience as a human being. Adelaide is an instant fan favorite, the classic sound of Anberlin settles in, and fans sit back, relax, and know the band have delivered without even having to listen to the rest. But of course, they do listen on, and boy, what a treat they have in store.
A Whisper & A Clamor is possibly a good summary of this album, if you wanted to know how this album sounded, this would probably be the song to listed to. Synth meets heavy guitars, with driving drum rhythms, and Stephens soaring voice all combine, which then breaks into an acoustic meets piano section, before storming back into the chorus. The Unwinding Cable Car. What more is there to say about this track. It is the softer side of Anberlin at it's very best. I know several people who listen to just House/Dance/R&B, and yet, they love this song. That for me is the sign of a musical masterpiece. Lyrical perfection, sonic beauty. Anberlin.
I can't possibly talk about every song, they are all perfection, total perfection, with the exception of Alexithymia. While being possibly the deepest lyrically, the chorus is slightly weaker than this song deserves. Stephen Christian has admitted himself it's one songs he wished he'd of spent more time getting right. For me, the last 4 songs of the album go together with such grace, and to put it into context, if I was deaf, but was somehow given the chance to hear for just 30 minutes, it is these 4 songs I would want to hear:
Reclusion: Aaron Sprinkle really works wonders getting some very unusual sounds from this band, this being no exception. Synth layers over a killer baseline and guitars that blast in but don't steal the show from the one, the only, Stephen Christian, whose vocals bite into the song like a rabid dog.
Inevitable: Some would argue the most beautiful song Anberlin have ever written. I agree. Light string touches, but really, it's just you, a guitar, and Stephen Christian. It's pure, it's honest, it's graceful. It's so lightly produced, and yet so technical, Sprinkle triumphs.
Dismantle. Repair: This is a song that somehow has an edge over other songs on Cities. It is the pinnacle, and has every quality you have come to expect from this band. It's emotive lyrics, strong but not overpowering guitars, a bassline that just fit's gloriously, and a drum rhythm that sit's at the back and keeps everything else in shape.
You think, how can it get better? Then you are struck by Fin. The last 'proper' track on the album, and an epic classic. This song separates hard-core Anberlin fans from those who are just browsing by. At first, it seems quite, maybe a little boring, but if you actually listen to the lyrics, it tells a story, and it's almost mesmorising. And then, cue the guitars. 'Wow' is the initial feeling, how can this be possible, how can a song evoke so much emotion.
It's at this point you realise what you've been listening to is not an album, it's a being. It's a living, breathing, being. It holds your hand in times of need, it gives you confidence when you need it most. It's with you at the good times, and with you at the bad times. It's a best friend, it's a loved one, it's what you need it to be, when you need it most. // 10
Lyrics: 'Hands, like secrets are the hardest thing to keep from you'. This is the quality and depth of the bands lyricist and lead singer, Stephen Christian. 'If life has background music, playing your song, I've got to be honest, I try to escape you but the orchestra plays on'. These are not lyrics that come from the pen, they come from the heart, and that's what makes this album lyrically incredible.
Every song is personal, every song is written from experiance, and emotions that have been felt. The lyrics have a maturity, and are not just another 'emo' band writing about losing the one you love, or wishing you were dead. At moments, it's almost poetic. This is quality, this is love, this album shows the soul of Stephen Christian; exposed, hiding nothing. Real, and honest, what more could you want from a lyricist? // 10
Overall Impression: This album, for me, is the album every Anberlin album will be compared to, in terms of how it sounds, how it feels, and how it makes you as a listener feel. This is the album that made record labels pay attention, this is the album that will sit as the pride of my CD collection for a very long time. You ask why fans feel so attached to this band, why they follow them around wherever they go, why they buy every piece of merchandise even though they already have too much. This album, this is the reason. You feel honored to have experienced such musical perfection, and so alive with music that alights your soul, and invigorates your mind.
Anberlin are not a band, and Cities is not an album. They are friends, and ones you hold close to your heart. // 10
Evil_Clown0007, on may 21, 2007 2 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: The new album by Anberlin called Cities is a bit of a disappointment. The opening and the first song, Godspeed, are really good putting in a few new factors the their music while still keeping the same Anberlin sound that I have come to love. For most of the remaining songs however, there is a distinct impression that the band discovered synthesisers. Songs such as There Is No Mathematics To Love And Loss and Reclusion would sound brilliant on the next ministry of sound record but for Anberlin it just isn't fitting. In saying this however there are still brilliant masterpieces that will go down in history like Godspeed, Hello Alone and Uncanny. // 7
Lyrics: The lyrics in Cities are still up to the standard I have some to expect. Just some of the music would need to be a bit different for them to have the full impact they deserve. The singing is also very good but again has just a little bit too much synth in it to make it perfect. There are too many repeating echoes that have an effect the first time and even the second but if it's in quite a few of the songs it is a bit overboard. // 8
Overall Impression: Cities is a decent buy that I would recommend if it is your style. However for the rock lovers out there maybe give it a miss. It isnt I believe up to the standard of Never Take Friendship Personal but isnt too far below it. So if your into a bit of modern synth combined with rock then this is the album for you. // 8
unregistered, on may 06, 2009 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: Let me start off by saying this review may have some slight bias. Anberlin is my favorite band and in my opinion, this album is their masterpiece. You'll hear some say that Never Take Friendship Personal is the best, but it doesn't come close to the musical creativity as this one. Anberlin's musicianship shines through and sets them apart. Whether it's guitarist Joey Milligan's massive guitar on songs like Godspeed and Adelaide, Nate Young's incredibly finnesse drumming on songs like Alexithymia or A Whisper and a Clamo, or Stephen Christian's incredibly strong vocals on (*Fin)or The Unwinding Cable Car. Also, Anberlin has no fear of trying new things. The added synth presence on the poppy Adelaide, the dancy There Is No Mathematics to Love and Loss, and the brooding Reclusion adds a nice touch, even though I would say those songs did not approach the greatness of songs like Hello Alone or Dismantle. Repair. The one problem I have with the sound is that the very electronic production can sometimes be a little bit too much. // 9
Lyrics: Anberlin is probably one of the most well-rounded bands in music today. You'll find very few bands that can combine incredibly dynamic and exciting music AND incredible lyrics. Stephen Christian is, in my opinion, one of the best lyricists in music today. No songwriter in today's music has crafted such a beautifully, poetic song as Alexithymia which paints a cloudy picture of people who have become numb and emotionless to everything. That said, the clear lyrical winner is (*Fin) which talks about Christian's disenchanment with the church and combines perfectly with the music (as does most every other song) to create one of the most epic songs in the rock genre. Stephen Christian's vocals are also outstanding on this track more than any other. Other lyrical standouts are Dismantle. Repair. Which is a call to change, (and also finds Christian doing more than just singing, but truly selling the song with emotion) and Hello Alone which confronts depression. I can't imagine any album having better lyrics than Cities. Stephen Christian is also one of the best singer's out there right now with a range unheard of for a man. Very few singers could sing the epic high notes in (*Fin) or Hello Alone, much less actually sell them and make them believable. And his voice isn't just a studio product. Having seen Anberlin live multiple times, I know that Stephen can in fact actually sing like that. // 10
Overall Impression: This is the album that caught Universal's attention. It's an album that sets Anberlin apart from other bands in the alternative rock scene, but doesn't put them too far away to be accessible. There's quite the variety of songs. The lovelorn ballad Inevitable; the brutal, fast-paced rocker Godspeed; the acoustic driven Alexithymia; the emotional Hello Alone, and of course the epic (*Fin). Very few bands have as much talent as Anberlin, either. Stephen Christian's vocals are some of the best I've ever heard. Joey Milligan's guitar is creative and tasteful, but also very technical. Nate Young's drumming is finesse and tasteful, but again, very advanced and technical. And he was only 19 at the time! I would recommend this album to ANY rock music fan. I'd suggest trying to get the deluxe edition because the DVD is really good as are the bonus tracks. Standouts from this album include, but are in no way limited to, (*fin), The Unwinding Cable Car, Hello Alone, and Dismantle. Repair. (my personal favorite). // 10
fret13, on july 12, 2007 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Anberlin is an amazing band, and this CD is half decent as well. Cities, which is there 4th release, is by no means there best but it's not there worst either. The songs on the album have staggering vocals and some have a half decent guitar solo as well, the bass has a fairly steady and diverse line but the second guitar is nothing the bass can't cover. I had went ahead and bought the Special Edition of the CD and was somewhat dissapointed, but not entirely, at the fact that two of the three bonus songs were re-dos of '80s songs I thought had died and stayed there. But the original bonus song, Uncanny, was definately worth it. The DVD wasn't half bad either but I would hav eliked it a lot better if they had a live show on there too. I would have to say taht Stephan Christian's vocals are among the most amazing in the punk rock scene, but I don't think he pushes them all the way to the potential, except in Uncanny. There are a handful of decent songs on the album but hte same goes for the undecent. I would have to say that my least favorite song on the CD is "There Is No Mathematics To Love and Loss" but hte most impressive would have to be "Alexithymia". // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics are great and catchy, but they are used over and over agian, like from "I am the Patron Saint Of Lost Causes" in both Dismantle. Repair. and (*fin). There are also many other lyrics that are used over and over again. another factor of the lyrics that bothers me is that they make no sense. Take the first single "Godspeed" for example, you start off with "Burning down Neverland", go into "They lied when the said the good die young", to "shes asleep in a chelsea hotel"? how does that all come together? not the most impressive assortment of lyrices ever. // 5
Overall Impression: Its a great CD but I have to say that Never Take Friendship Personal is their better CD. This is a decent album and since I'm a CD addict I'd probibly go out and buy it again for the heck of it. I think that if they took off the re-dos and Mathematics and changed the lyrics so I can follow them then I'd give this a higher rating. // 8
LesPaul_93, on july 23, 2007 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: This album has a very versatile range, with songs like "Godspeed" and "Adelaide" they are rather heavy, with a Taking Back Sunday Feel about them. Where as other songs such as "Dismantle Repair","Alexythimia" and "Inevatable" that are much softer and have a tendancy to relax, but as opposed to many other soft songs, All have sections that so to speak "Crank Up" to avoid being boring. It is a fine art writing a slow song that maintains the listeners interest, and in this CD anberlin have mastered that perfectly. // 9
Lyrics: Stephen Christian, Lead singer of anberlin has a very uniquie voice, and handles this albums lyrics perfectly, as a vocalist he has grown tremenously in skill since the previous album. The Lyrics on this album are extremely serious and deep, in the song "Inevatable" one line says "I want to be the last first kiss, that you ever have". These lyrics are in my opinion very powerful and hard hitting, and Stephen Christian dilevers them flawlessly. Many lyrics in this album are extremly meaningful to many of the listeners, These are some of best lyrics I have heard in a long time, and are up there with the likes of Elton John and Paul McCartney's, these two artists are not my particular STYLE but I do admire there song writing skills. // 10
Overall Impression: Anberlin have realy grown as a band and it shows in this album particularly. If this album were stolen from me, I would most deffinatley re-purchase it. The most impressive song on this album in my opinion is "Godspeed" as it is an amazing way to kick of the album (It is the second track but is the first with Vocals) although I dislike the first track bein an Instrumental as they realy missed an oportunity to kick of the album with a bang by putting that there. I would recommend this album to almost anyone as it changes it's sound frequently and would appeal to most audiences. // 9
I am punk "BF", on june 23, 2008 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: The sound of the music on this album was satisfactory, but was nowhere near as good as their previous albums. You will notice more of a maturing in the sound of the music and in the talent of the instruments. In this album, you will also notice their a difference in the speed and beats of their songs. They displayed more of a softer side of music in this album, but still kept in some of there original styles of music espicially with the track "Godspeed". // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics were also matured with the release of this album. they had stronger lyrics which had a good side and also a worse side. Although the lyrics in this album were stronger, they were also a lot more confusing. One thing about the lyrics that was great was the flow of the lyrics with the sound of the songs, especially with the song "Unwinding Cable Car" and the vocals were also much better in this album. // 8
Overall Impression: Overall the album was satisfactory, but not as good as their previous albums. This album revealed a softer side of the band, and showed off some more of the bands inner talents. The band always makes great albums, and if hoping to persue further releases, they are promising to improve. // 9