Another Beautiful Chapter in the Life of The Afters | Posted April 10, 2013 Staff Reviewer
The Afters has been known for their uplifting radio pop for quite a few years now in the Christian music circles. With every album of theirs, you can be pretty sure that at least 2-3 of the songs will become huge radio hits that will find their way to the tops of several Christian music charts.
It's been a good while since the first single for the album, "Life is Beautiful," dropped last year as part of the October Baby soundtrack. From the opening emotional piano notes, it was clear that this was going to be a real winner. The single is a moving anthem about the beauty of God's creation and is arguably one of the best songs the band has penned to date. With passionate lyrics like, "Living and dying / Laughing or crying / If we have the whole world or have nothing / I know there are long nights / But we'll make it / With every sunrise comes a new light / And all of the things / That make us feel like we have it all," it left no doubt that the band hadn't lost their touch in the slightest. It showed quite a lot of promise for the album that was to come. Here we are about a year later and that album is finally here, bearing the name of that initial lead single.
Almost any of these songs would make fine and fresh additions to radio. The single "Every Good Thing" opens up the album with a peppy and exciting vibe that is sure to lift moods and get feet tapping. "Breathe In, Breathe Out" is sure to continue this feeling with a whistler of a opener that's sure to get you dancing if by some mishap the first track didn't get you moving.
"Broken Hallelujah" is next and is classic The Afters--a soaring and moving radio anthem giving glory to God. I'd say that if this weren't released as a radio single at some point, I'd eat my hat. But I don't wear hats, and I've also learned better than to wager on radio singles so instead, I'll just say that this should be a radio single. It's catchy and uplifting and definitely a highlight of the album, arguably among the best next to the title track. Some of its strong lyrics include the chorus: "I've seen joy / I've seen pain / And on my knees I call your name / Here's my broken hallelujah / with nothing left to hold onto / I raise these empty hands to you." It stands as a great humble worship moment on the album.
"Moments Like This," "Love is in the Air" and "What We're Here For" continue to bring the peppy, upbeat pop numbers--which are balanced well by the more reflective and slower numbers like the superb "Find Your Way" and the emotional closer, "This Life," about the temporal nature of this world and how the things of God are the only permanent things. The lines "We can't own it / we just get to hold it for awhile / this life" are truly relevant messages for a world where ownership and material wants seek to drive the day.
"In My Eyes" is another terrific anthem that fits in with the band's best material yet. In another inspirational chorus, the band proclaims, "In my eyes, you're more than complete / you're perfect to me / if you could only see the way that you shine / in my eyes if there's one thing's that's true / it's that I believe in you / you make the world look so bright / you put a smile in my eyes." It's another highlight on what is a pretty strong release.
Joshua Havens' vocals are as warm and soothing as ever and a perfect fit for the band's brand of pop. The piano-driven melodies throughout the album never get old and help give an added emotional layer to the deep lyrics the band has created.
The Afters have crafted another winner here to add to their discography. They may not crank out albums at the speed some other bands do, but when they do, you can be sure that it's going to be quality. There are several songs here destined to join previous hits like "Beautiful Love" and "Lift Me Up" as CCM classics. Check this off as another winner among the Spring releases this year.