Artist Of The Week - Anchor & Braille

It's been about three years since we've gotten an album from Anchor & Braille, the indie side project of Anberlin's Stephen Christian, but this week, on July 31st, the band's sophomore album will be released. The Quiet Life is a collection of haunting melodies and catchy percussion, certainly a maturation of sound since 2009's Felt. The Quiet Life is available now in stores and online through Tooth & Nail Records.


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Artist: Skillet
Album: Awake
Release Date: 8/25/09
Label: Lava/Ardent/Atlantic
3 years later after the release of their most successful record to date (Comatose), Skillet returns with their highly anticipated 8th studio release "Awake". I must say I had very high expectations for this album and not only did I get my wish but I was completely blown away by every song on here. Skillet fans better known as "panheads" got their first taste of the new record with "Hero" which came out in June followed by "Monster" in July. With tension building August 25th finally came and people rushed to stores to get this amazing band's newest work. And now the moment you have all been waiting review of Awake!

1. Hero - The one that started it all....this explosive song is giving the basis of it's meaning to Jesus and how he is our HERO who is watching over us no matter what madness is going on in this world. The beautiful voice of Miss Jen Ledger, the band's newest drummer is introduced in this song (excluding 'Yours to Hold' from "Comatose Comes Alive") as like a duet with John Cooper. With lyrics such as "who's gonna fight for what's right? who's gonna help us survive? we're in the fight of our lives" this song gets us ready for the theme of this record and how we have come out of our 'Comatose' as Christians and now it's time for us to take action and be "AWAKE!" This song is currently being used for an NFL commercial.

2. Monster - This song became an instant favorite for me because the guitars are hard pounding, the lyrics go great with the theme and the EPIC growl you hear towards the end of the song. "The secret side of me, I never let you see, I keep it caged but I can't control it, so stay away from me the beast is ugly, I feel a rage and I can't control it" According to John the song is about sin and how we have 2 sides and when one of those sides come out it makes us look like a 'Monster' During live performance Scotty Rock (band's manager) is known to be on stage playing bass while John sings the song. Recently this song is getting publicity and being used on MTV and the wrestling world. The music video has been added to Fuse's video rotation so be on the look out for it!

3. Don't Wake Me - "went to bed I was thinking about you" is how the first mellow song from Awake opens. Don't Wake Me is about losing someone and the only way you can remain together is in dreams and being woken up would make you leave that dream. "Don't wake me cause I don't wanna leave this dream, don't wake me cause I never seem to stay asleep, I know when it's you I'm dreaming of I don't wanna wake up" A beautiful song with lots of truth behind it. It's the complete opposite of Yours to Hold.

4. Awake and Alive - Once you hear the strings at the beginning you are instantly reminded of Comatose. "I'm at war with the world and they try to pull me into the dark, I struggle to find my faith, as I'm slipping from your arms, it's getting harder to stay awake and my strength is fading fast, you breathe into me at last." The song is a plea to God to keep us focused and a battle cry for Christians to act and reach a generation. This song is definitely the most energetic on the album with the guitar solo, the amazing vocal tie-ins with John Cooper and Jen Ledger along with the cello and violin works of Tate Olsen and Jonathan Chu. This is surely to be a live favorite for The Awake and Alive Tour this Fall! This song reached #3 on the iTunes top Rock Songs. Possibly this could be the next single for the Christian markets. And yes this is the album's title track.

5. One Day Too Late - Reminiscence of Looking for Angels can be heard in this song (but at a slower and calmer pace) of how we need to live each day to the fullest and help those who need it. Also it encourages to show love to people and be a good example because if we don't then it will be one day too late. "Today I'm gonna try a little harder, gonna make every minute last longer, gonna learn to forgive and forget cause we don't have long gotta make the most of it."

6. It's Not Me It's You - John Cooper has stated that this is his favorite song on the record because it's an "in your face song" and how could it not be? the song itself starts off with "let's get the story straight you were a poison, you flooded through my veins, you left me broken, you tried to make me think that the blame was all on me with the pain you put me through." Many different interpretations could be taken from this: 1st it could be implying to a bad relationship and how one person is at fault while the other one did nothing. Coming from a Christian point of view this song could be about Satan and how he tries to get us to give up and suffer. This is one of my favorites because it's got that fists in the air and shouting element to it. This is rumored to be the next mainstream single for the band.

7. Should've When You Could've - The title may be a little corny but once again Skillet delivers a great song. "I'm done wondering where you've been all, night long when your out with your friends all, you say that the matters over but now that chapter's ended, I'm done trusting you it's ended even after I catch you red handed, you could've been my only one but now your chance is gone." It appears to be a guilt trip song to recently broken up couple. Looking at the lyrics more carefully it could be about someone who took you for granted and now you have left them and moved on and they want you back but it's too late. Elements of The Older I Get are found here because once again it is talking about a strained relationship.

8. Believe - This was a last minute added song as the band recorded it in the summer before the album came out. The core meaning of this track is that we give people the wrong impression of how we view them and we cause them to think we don't need them but they don't realize the truth until something is said. "If you believe when I said, I'd be better off without you then you never really knew me at all, if you believe when I said that I wouldn't be thinking about you, you thought you knew the truth but you're wrong, you're all that I need just tell me that you still believe" This was a great track to be added at the last minute because like all of Skillet's songs this one also has a very powerful message.

9. Forgiven - This was the inspiration for John Cooper's newest tattoo. The meaning of the song is pretty straight froward, we are forgiven because of Jesus no matter what we've done as long as we repent. "Now I'm in our secret place alone in your embrace, where all my wrongs have been erased you have forgiven, all the promises and lies, all the times and compromise, all the times you were denied you have forgiven."

10. Sometimes - According to the band this is the most aggressive song on the record. It talks about how we are unaware of how our actions affect people. Sometimes I don't wanna be better, sometimes I can't be put back together, sometimes I find it hard to believe there's someone else who could be just as messed up as me." This is also the heaviest song on the album with the loud guitars and strong vocals.

11. Never Surrender - A beautiful intro starts out this amazing heart felt song about how we should never give up on things in life and be strong through it all. This song was inspired by a fellow fan of the band who talked to them about having an eating disorder and obviously the band was touched about her triumph over it. "I don't wanna live like this tomorrow, I don't wanna live like this today, make me feel better, I wanna feel better, stay with me here now and never surrender."

12. Lucy - This is probably the most confusing song on the record because no one knows who Lucy is. John Cooper said that he would like to keep this a secret and have it affect people the way the song already does and then he will later reveal who the song is named after. From what I have heard the song is about losing someone and wanting to make amends with that person but can't because they're gone. "hey Lucy I remembered your birthday, it's sad it brings a closure to say your name, I know I'd do it all different if I had the chance, but all I've got are these roses to give and they can't help me make amends."

If you really love Skillet then I suggest you buy the deluxe edition because the more Skillet the better!

Deluxe Edition Tracks

13. Dead Inside - The first bonus song has a great opening with a strong guitar riff and then kicks in the drums. This song is about how we can be dead with our faith and will stray away but then Jesus comes to breathe life into us and we are renewed but only if we want to. "Dead inside no other satisfies, put your mouth on mine and bring me back to life, dead inside no other sacrifice my blood runs dry, take my life and save me from this death inside."

14. Would It Matter - An alien sounding intro comes on followed by some haunting lyrics. "If I wasn't hear tomorrow, would anybody care?" The song's meaning from what I understand is talking about how if we left this world, would it really matter to people of the things we did and the impact we made, did we live life to the fullest and take every chance we were given. "All the chances that have passed me by, would it matter if I gave it one more try, would it matter at all?" When I first heard this song I thought it was a b-side from Alien Youth because of the techniques used throughout it and just liked the song but now I see a deeper meaning to it and is one of the best on the record.

15. Monster (Alternate Radio Version) - This is basically the same version that is on the regular album but the growl at the end is removed and is replaced with John just singing "feel like a monster."

Highlights: Hero, Monster, Awake and Alive, It's Not Me It's You, Never Surrender, Lucy, Dead Inside, Would It Matter.....but honestly all of the songs.

Rating: 10/10 This is definitely the greatest album of 2009, not because it was done by Skillet but because once again this band has proven themselves as artists and songwriters. Every song people can relate to and take to heart. In terms of this being better than Comatose I must say that both these albums are equal and I could listen to both over and over again and never get tired of these songs.

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  1. I heard that the song Lucy was inspired by abortion, so maybe Lucy would've been John's niece but was aborted or something along those lines.

  2. Oh My Gosh! Definatly a truthful review! I listen to the cd all the time. I honestly wonder if Lucy was John Coopers daughter. Just from listening to the song so many times. If it's not about the Cooper's daughter that is okay with me, but it does sound like it could be about the loss of a child.