Artist – Anberlin
Album – Devotion
Year – 2013
Genre – Alternative Rock/Modern Rock
Continuing with the “Kris likes to pick atypical first song choices from bands he really likes” trend that seems to be happening, I’ve chosen Anberlin’s “Unstable” as my first review from them. I really love this band, and I can guarantee you that you will be seeing more of them in the future. Like I stated, this song is a bit of an atypical departure from the band’s normal sound, as it is a b-side. It’s included on Devotion which is a compilation record featuring the band’s last studio album Vital and some b-sides and brand new songs. Now that that housekeeping is out of the way, let’s crack this one open.
Anberlin is a band with a lot of emotional impact, and this song is no exception. This is a song of a lot of emotional build ups and highs, but no lows. The verses are continuous cascade of layers and tense vocals from very talented frontman Stephen Christian. There’s this build up of static electricity in both music, lyrics, and vocals in the first verse, then it hits:
“Come around. Let me in.
How can I talk you down from that ledge
Unless you let me in?”
Wow, what resonant lyrics. It’s at this point that the whole song comes into context (at least for me). The song deals with giving comfort to a friend or partner who needs emotional support, but they constantly try to shut you out and pretend like nothing’s wrong. I feel that this is an experience many of us have had to deal with at some point with a friend or loved one, which makes this song so much more potent.
As there’s a thundering drop in the background, Christian lets it go on the chorus. You can hear the pleading and anguish in his voice as he desperately tries to reach out and take hold of this person that needs help. It’s chill inducing for sure. The melody of the verses and choruses are both very strong and melodic, but the chorus is really where it hits you.
The next verse picks up the pace and the drums and piano keep the build up going again, and the second chorus is even better. The melody slightly shifts and Christian holds the note on “Let me in” instead of going up, and I wish he had done that every time because it sounds more pleasing. He really hits every word sharply on this chorus, which adds upon the already powerful feelings the song is giving off. Not to mention that this time there’s beautiful harmonies that make it even better!
On the last chorus, the instruments drop out even quieter, giving a very eerie effect, and the song caps it off with a chorus melody repeat on a soulful guitar. It’s almost as if that last melody is a ghost of Christian’s vocals from earlier, ending the song on a spooky note.
Out of the songs in Anberlin’s catalog, this one is a powerful one. It’s (sadly) emotionally relatable and stirs the blood in a way that needs to be felt to be understood.
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