Album Review :
Anthem Lights - Anthem Lights Acoustic Sessions EP
Artist: Anthem Lights
Title: Anthem Lights Acoustic Sessions EP
Label: Reunion Records
Release Date: 1/17/12
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- Can’t Shut Up
- Can’t Get Over You
- In the Light
- Just the Way You Are
Anthem Lights, formally known as Yellow Cavalier before they signed with Reunion Records; have quite a fan base. With their fans calling themselves the ‘lightbulbs’ like how Third Day fans call themselves the ‘Gomers’, Anthem Lights have had huge support since they released their self-titled debut album last year in May. With the success of their lead single ‘Can’t Shut Up’, which speaks about how as Christians, we can’t keep quiet about the change the Lord has done in our lives; as well as others like ‘I Wanna Know You Like That’ and ‘Can’t Get Over You’; many people see Anthem Lights as having a boy-band factor; many outsiders comparing them to the now disbanded Christian pop boy-band Plus One, and other mainstream bands like BoyZone or Backstreet Boys. Despite this; Anthem Lights have stayed firm in Christ and have stood tall through all the crazy fandom. Releasing their acoustic EP in January 2012, Anthem Lights have been able to create 5 musical moments of passion, sneaking in a mainstream cover and a DC Talk fan favourite, amidst their most loved and respected radio singles and heartfelt melodies about their faith in Christ and their daily walk with Him.
‘Can’t Get Over You’ is one of my favourites from the band, and this setting with just the guitar played by band member Alan Powell; the song is even more worshipful. Speaking about how we are continually awed and marvelled at how God has given His unconditional love for us, I am able to worship freely and proclaim that ‘…I can’t get over You…’, knowing that my love for God is not because of what I have done, but of who He is and how ‘…even through the good and the bad times, You stay the same…’ With the harmonies of these 4 men of God, Anthem Lights have created an ‘acapella-type’ worshipful melody, one of my favourites also on this 5-track EP!
‘Circles’ and ‘Can’t Shut Up’ also appear on this acoustic EP, and showcase some of the most meaningful lyrics the band has written. ‘Circles’ shows us how the Christian life can seem like how it can be run in circles, and how we can sometimes be like the apostle Paul, wanting to do good but ‘…doing what I hate and breaking my own heart, I’m going…round in circles…’. Confronting as it is comforting, showing us that though we may keep on running around in circles, God has redeemed us so that now we can proclaim that we are ‘…out of the darkness and into the light…’ (‘Can’t Shut Up’); both these two songs have been able to minister to listeners, me included, that God is able to bring hope even in the most hopeless situations. Even in this acoustic setting, the song lyrics shine, and musically, Alan’s guitar playing raises the question as to why he only sings at the live shows when he is more than capable at playing his guitar? Regardless, both these songs shine acoustically as we strip back all the music til it is just us and the Lord.
Following these three songs taken from their debut are two covers, the first being the famous DC Talk song, ‘In the Light’, featuring New Artist of the Year Jamie Grace. Reliving this classic DC Talk song in an acoustic session breathes new life into an already awesome melody. Top this off with Jamie singing harmoniously as she pitches in with her singing the second verse makes the song even more special. As we reflect on how we are the light of Jesus here on the earth, and how our we long to reflect His light to those around us, I can’t help but sing along, proclaiming that ‘…I wanna be in the light, cause You are in the light, I wanna shine like the stars in the heavens…’ Lastly is the mainstream song made popular by singer Bruno Mars, ‘Just the Way You Are’. With the lyrical topic of a man singing to a woman, saying that she ‘…is amazing, just the way you are…’; Anthem Lights’ is able to bring in the harmonies as they sing to their future wives, girls who don’t think that they are beautiful on the inside, or to anyone else who believes that this song is for them. Because we are made in the image of God, our relationships we have on earth certainly mirror how the Father feels about us. Reminded at how a groom and bride’s relationship is based upon God’s relationship with His church, I can imagine God singing over us, proclaiming that we are indeed made holy and blameless in His sight, as we understand and fully believe that we are amazing, just the way that we are ourselves, coming to the cross with our faces down, as we become more and more like Christ as the Holy Spirit dwells within us. Well done Anthem Lights for these two beautiful musical arrangements.
Overall: Anthem Lights Acoustic Sessions EP packs a lot of passion within the 5 tracks, and their purpose is evident, as they sing to the creator of the universe. Not even a year since their first album when the acoustic EP was released, Anthem Lights have gained plenty of fans over a short period of time. With their faith keeping them grounded, I am certain that this band will be within the Christian music scene for years to come. Well done Anthem Lights for such a reflective and musically refreshing album!
RIYL: Plus One, Royal Tailor, Brian Littrell, Jamie Grace
Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3