Dallas-based quartet The Afters return with their third major label release, fine-tuning their guitar driven sounds on a fresh collection of inspiring new material. Light Up The Sky gains forward momentum with lyrics that speak directly about their faith and melodies that chart new sonic territory, including the lead single title track plus "Lift Me Up," "For The First Time," "Saving Grace," and others.
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#9 Album Of 2010| Posted December 21, 2010
I gravitate easily to dynamic music. Music that breathes, that seems to have three dimensions while building to a giant crescendo. The Afters certainly have this style down. Each song seems to be moving forward to a greater revelation right around the corner, which I love. It keeps me interested, invested and wanting more.
Light Up The Sky, the group's third studio release, is an excellent collection of music that never dulls or bores throughout its ten tracks. Each song has its' own unique character and that's what I love most about this album. The first four tracks are driven by guitars, piano, drums and strings, all at different times.
Lyrically, the songs on Light Up The Sky reflect the faithfulness of God amidst the hard times the band faced before recording including losing their longtime friend and manager to a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer, two band members deciding to part ways, a nearly life-threatening car wreck and a new member losing a close friend one week after joining the band. ?Life Is Sweeter? is an ode to a beautiful, abundant life on ?the other side.? Songs like ?Lift Me Up,? ?I Am Yours? and ?We Won?t Give Up? reaffirm the band members? faith and the source of their strength; while cuts like the title track, ?Start Over? and ?For the First Time? reiterate the theme of rebirth.
Worshipful and Upbeat| Posted September 06, 2010
The Afters were thrust into the CCM spotlight way back in 2005 with their first album ?I Wish We All Could Win?, and ever since then, it?s been a whirlwind of success for this talented foursome from Texas. After two highly acclaimed studio albums and numerous attention from both Christian and secular media, fans couldn?t wait to see what these guys had up their sleeve next.
One things that has always confused listeners has always been the ?girl or God? notion in most of their material. But unlike any of their previous work (which, by the way, is worth looking into), the bands third endeavor ?Light Up The Sky?, offers listeners poignant Christ centered lyrics, even falling into the worship category more than a few times.. Trust me, there is no mistake about Who they are singing about on this album.
The album starts off with the namesake, and leads right into ?Lift Me Up? and ?Start Over?, a catchy upbeat about new life in Jesus. ?Runaway? (one of the songs featured on the bands ?Light Up The Sky? EP released a few months back) offers hope to the listener who is dealing with personal brokenness. ?I Am Yours? is a personal praise ballad that simply invites God to take us and make us new.
?Life Is Sweeter? take somewhat of a ?the grass is greener? notion, and speaks of life in the world opposed to life in Christ. The melodic ?Say It Now? speaks to the heart of a relationship in need of restoration, while ?We Won?t Give Up? makes a total 360 and turns up the volume to make a ?we won?t give in? stance. It?s one of my favorite songs the band has ever done, beyond catchy, and it wouldn?t surprise me to hear it on a television program or even a commercial in the future.
?Saving Grace? once again takes the worship-esq feel of this album and leads the listener into a time of surrender (?I run to my hiding place, my Saving Grace?) by far my favorite track off the entire album. ?For The First Time? is the closing track, and ends the album on a peaceful and lyrically beautiful note.
Overall? This is easily my favorite album this band has done to date. They have matured greatly since their previous album ?Never Going Back To OK? back in 2008, and it shows in their songwriting. I only wish the album would have been longer, but what you do have is enough to keep coming back to listen again and again.
This album has a great mix of soothing slow songs and upbeat rock anthems, and it sure to please the rocker and the AC crowd alike. It is defiantly one of the ?must have? albums of the year for avid Christian music fans. I know I?m snagging one? you?d be wise to do the same.
The Afters: Light Up the Sky Review| Posted April 25, 2011
The Afters are finally back with their third studio project titled Light Up the Sky. The band makes a wise turn to a more contemporary/rock sound making it available to more Christian music fans. With the release of the title track radio hit, The Afters boast creativity in this album.
“Light Up the Sky,” the opening track, is a reminder that God will never leave us or forsake us, even in times when we can’t see Him. And just as lead singer Josh Havens shared, just as sure as the sun rises every morning, God is always there to guide us through our hard times. The album starts off on this slower contemporary, but truly encouraging track. “Lift Me Up” follows on the same note, proving that the updated sound of the band works. It reminds us that:: “When I hit the ground/ You lift me up when I am weak/ Your arms wrap around me/ Your love catches me so/ I'm letting go.”
“Start Over” starts off with a bit of strings, and builds by the arrival of the chorus. This song was a chance for the lead singer to show off his wide range of vocals, through overlapping his voice with both very high and low melodies. The lyrics of the chorus seemed a bit repetitive, so I didn’t care too much about this track. “Runaway” begins like a ballad, featuring gorgeous piano music. But just when you think it’s a slower song, it builds up by the second half of the verse. It is written to someone who is running away, reminding them that “It's not too late to look back/ Hey hey hey/ you don’t have to runaway.”
“I Am Yours,” almost sounds like a Sixteen Cities track, and is a song of thanks to God for rescuing us and allowing us to be His: “You gave Your life for mine/ To have me by Your side/ I won’t look back anymore/ I am Yours.” “Life Is Sweeter” is, perhaps, the highlight of The Afters’ music – contemporary rock mixed with beautiful keyboard music. This song seems to be directed toward someone who is now in Heaven: “Life is sweeter on the other side/ I will see you on the other side/ I'll fight the stars to let me through/ I'll find a way to get to you/ Life is sweeter on the other side of here.”
“Say It Now” almost features a bit of a futuristic feel, and leans on the slower, piano side of things. The chorus features a cool harmony, as it speaks of making amends with someone who is holding secrets in their heart. The highlight of this track proved to be the very short bridge: “I hope we leave it all behind/ No more getting lost between the lines.” Things then build up again with the rocky “We Won’t Give Up.” Also featuring a booming drumbeat, this song comes in “revolution style,” with a call to keep up because “it’s not over yet.” This was the best song on Light Up the Sky in my opinion, and will, no doubt, become a fan favorite.
“Saving Grace” is a bit more contemporary, and again features the beautiful keyboard music. The Afters share how God’s saving grace rescued us from being “somewhere out in the middle.” (“Falling into you is safe and sound/ You opened up my eyes I see it now/ You’re my saving grace.) “For The First Time” has a clap-sounding drumbeat, and seems a bit futuristic, building up on the second verse. It has a “different” type of sound that reminded me of “A Beautiful Exchange” song from Hillsong. In itself a beautiful song, it does not sound typical to The Afters’ style, and may take fans a little time to grow used to. Nevertheless, it’s peaceful sound was the perfect ending for this 10-track album. As with the entire album, I particularly enjoyed the “oh’s” that were injected in the background.
Light Up The Sky is definitely a very well thought out endeavor, featuring both ballads and rock anthems. Josh’s awesome voice blended in very well with the awesome music and inspiring lyrics. I very much enjoyed getting the chance to hear this album.
Light up the Sky| Posted June 28, 2012
I love the song Light up the Sky! When I first heard it, it reminded me of the Katy Perry song Firework...except this song is actually good. It's like the Christian version (in a good way). Great album by The Afters.
Light Up The Sky| Posted April 12, 2011
When I saw that The Afters was releasing their next album I didnt know what to expect. So i decided to listen to clips on Amazon.com and was blown away by what I heard. The title track is so powerful and the music video is absolutely amazing. Every song is good enough to be a radio hit. The highlight tracks would definitely be Light Up the Sky, Start Over, Runaway, Saving Grace, and For the First Time.
1. Light Up the Sky: 5 of 5 stars
2. Lift Me Up: 4 of 5 stars
3. Start Over: 5 of 5 stars
4. Runaway: 5 of 5 stars
5. I Am Yours: 4.5 of 5 stars
6. Life is Sweeter: 4.5 of 5 stars
7. Say it Now: 4 of 5 stars
8. We Wont Give Up- 4 of 5 stars
9. Saving Grace: 5 of 5 stars
10. For the First Time: 5 of 5 stars
Rockin' Album| Posted March 29, 2011
I love the song on this album,"Light Up The Sky". That is currently my top played on my iPod. The Afters have made another fan from that song for sure... before I heard it, I hadn't heard any of their songs, but it's gotten me into there music, and I love their songs! Keep up your good work and your talented song writing skills guys!
BTW there is a Music Vid for song "Light Up The Sky", but it's only found online... it's not on iTunes yet :(
Light, Light, Light Up The Sky.| Posted December 12, 2010
Well, my review comes with a bit of a story, so here it goes...
I've always had some struggles with religion, mostly because I felt I wasn't being accepted. This semester, I had the pleasure of making some amazing new friends. One night, while on campus, my friend [who is Christian] and I got into a discussion about religion, and I told her that I didn't feel accepted, and that it hurt me so much, because I wanted somewhere to belong. A few weeks went by, and she told me she was going to a Leeland concert [at the church I now attend], and said I should tag along. I had heard of Leeland before, so I reluctantly agreed...That night The Afters opened for Leeland, and sang a ton of songs off of the album Light Up The Sky. I was really getting into the lyrics and the message they were sprending. It was so moving I actually cried. I believe that was the night I was Saved.
As for the album itself, it's amazing, it's an album you can listen to all the way through, on repeat and still love every song. It's amazing, it helped me to find my place, and find God, and for that I am so thankful!
Amazing sound| Posted September 25, 2010
I love the new sound in this album. It is like a new morning, as the sun rises. I hear the words every morning on my iPod, and it motivates me before class. The lyrics are amazing, i especially love the vocals on "Start Over". I guess that is why you named the album "Light up the sky" cause it reminds me of a new day with the Lord and His love, and how we can start over.
No words| Posted September 21, 2010
No words can describe how much I love this album. It is the best album that they have ever put out. I liked the last one, but I love this one. Their sound is different in this cd, but I like it better. Definitely buy this cd. The guys are amazing and so is their music.
New CD!| Posted September 14, 2010
I have been waiting for this CD for a long time. This is the best they have put out to date and I hope it is very successful, they deserve it the cd is incredible, you can tell they put a lot of hard work into it.
From Starbucks to Stardom| Posted September 13, 2010
Light Up The Sky, the third major release from Texas Alternative Christian rockers The Afters is a pleasing 10 song blend of worship music and entertainment. I was first introduced to the band via a free download of Someday from their debut album I Wish We All Could Win. Suffice it to say this album is a bit mellower. The mellower sound has gotten more polished, however, so you could call it artistic rock.
The Track Listing:
Light Up The Sky
Lift Me Up
I Am Yours
Life is Sweeter
Say it Now
We Won't Give Up
For The First Time
According to Wikipedia, Lead Vocalist/Keyboard/Guitars Joshua Havens and Vocalist/Guitarist Matt Fuqua worked at the same Starbucks in Mesquite, Texas, which may be one of the best things ever to come out of a Starbucks.
Light Up The Sky starts out its thirty eight minute journey with the title track, a worshipful anthem to the love of God, and one of the three early release singles, the other two being Runaway and We Won't Give Up. Lift Me Up continues the worship theme
"You lift me up when I am weak, your arms wrap around me, your love catches me, so I'm letting go."
We move into rock with Start Over, the second loudest song on the album (We Won't Give Up being the loudest). We slow down again with Runaway, which has become my favorite song on the album, a take on the parable of the Prodigal Son. Back to worship we go with what is sure to become a Youth Group favorite
"You gave your life for mine, to have you by my side, I won't look back anymore, I am yours."
Life is Sweeter is a song about Heaven where "life is sweeter on the other side" and then Say it Now, a song about personal forgiveness and not letting the sun go down on your wrath. Rock anthem We Won't Give Up follows and then a song about God's Saving Grace.
Light Up The Sky is not technically a Worship Album, though you will have a hard time staying out of a worship spirit while listening to this CD.