Vital (Anberlin album)

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Studio album by Anberlin
Released October 16, 2012
Recorded Electric Thunder Studios, Nashville TN, Sound Kitchen, Franklin TN & Compound Recording, Seattle WA
Label Universal Republic
Producer Aaron Sprinkle
Anberlin chronology
Dark Is the Way, Light Is a Place
Singles from Vital
  1. "Someone, Anyone"
    Released: August 31, 2012
  2. "Self-Starter"
    Released: September 14, 2012

Vital is the sixth studio album by American alternative rock band Anberlin which was released on October 16, 2012. In interviews, vocalist Stephen Christian has stated the album has a youthful, energetic energy[1] and features new influences for the band.


No. Title Length
1. "Self-Starter" (featuring Julia Marie) 3:17
2. "Little Tyrants"   3:21
3. "Other Side"   4:06
4. "Someone, Anyone"   3:29
5. "Intentions"   3:09
6. "Innocent"   4:44
7. "Desires"   3:24
8. "Type Three"   3:57
9. "Orpheum"   3:52
10. "Modern Age"   4:13
11. "God, Drugs & Sex" (featuring Christie DuPree) 6:15
Total length:

"Pretend to Be Friends", a 25-minute short film with music composed by the band, comes on a DVD with the Best Buy deluxe edition, but it is actually 18:59 in length.[citation needed]



Chart (2012) Peak position
US Billboard 200[2] 16
US Christian Albums (Billboard)[3] 1
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[4] 6
US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard)[5] 3
US Digital Albums (Billboard)[6] 9
US Top Tastemaker Albums (Billboard)[7] 22

Critical reviews[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 77/100[8]
Review scores
Source Rating
(Jack Appleby)
95% [9]
(Matt Collar)
3.5/5 stars[10]
Alternative Press 4/5 stars[11]
Alt Rock Live
(Luke Spencer)
9/10 stars[12]
Artist Direct
(Rick Florino)
5/5 stars[13]
CCM Magazine
(Andy Argyrakis)
4/5 stars[14]
Christian Music Zine
(Tyler Hess)
Christianity Today
(Jeremy V. Jones)
3/5 stars[16]
Cross Rhythms
(Stephen Luff)
10/10 stars[17]
Indie Vision Music
(Carter Fraser)
4/5 stars[18]
Jesus Freak Hideout
(Roger Gelwicks)
(John DiBiase)
4.5/5 stars[19]
4.5/5 stars[20]
Louder Than The Music
(Jono Davies)
3.5/5 stars[21]
New Release Tuesday
(Jonathan Francesco)
5/5 stars[22]
The New Review
(Jonathan Anderson)
5/5 stars[23]
4.5/5 stars[24]

AbsolutePunk's Jack Appleby wrote that "Calling Vital a career-defining record isn’t a stretch in the least. The album lives up to its title in every way and should prove essential for old and new fans alike. Despite tough competition from many stellar 2012 releases, the record should catch more than a few end of year lists, and could take the top spot for many. Vital is the best record in Anberlin’s 10 year career, bar none."[9]

AllMusic's Matt Collar said that "Ultimately, while Vital is Anberlin's most challenging album to date, as the title implies, it is perhaps the band's most rewarding album."[10]

Artist Direct's Rick Florino wrote that "Vital sees Anberlin's heart beating faster and stronger than ever. There's lots of blood, and that's a good thing…"[13]

CCM Magazine's Andy Argyrakis said that "Not only does the collection boast unbridled energy and spiritually-infused emotion, but it also serves as an official bookend to the group's crown jewel Cities"[14]

Christian Music Zine's Tyler Hess wrote that "In typical Anberlin fashion, Vital took awhile for me to comprehend and warm up to, but naturally several listens later and it grew on me, leading me to believe that it nicely ties together the band’s discography, making it an important piece to their collection. Although the band will always have to live up to the masterful effort they put together on Cities way back in 2007 and they may never match it for many people, Vital holds up well on it's [sic] own and shouldn’t be missed."[15]

Christianity Today's Jeremy V. Jones said that "Vital is enhanced by female backing vocals and, more significantly, washed with big, splashy synthesizer. The electro-sonics envelop the band's signature post-hardcore guitar rock with pulsating layers and retro-New Wave overtones. Lyrics unravel a cryptic poetry of shadowy unrest, relational regret, and subtle longing for repair. Rare ballad "Innocent" provides a welcome break from the overall frenetic pacing, but the full-speed intensity runs into an often indistinguishable blur."[16]

Cross Rhythms' Stephen Luff noted that "Even before I write this, the American public have already made their opinion known, as 'Vital' has reached 16 in the mainstream Billboard 200 charts and also topped the Christian Album charts. There is good reason as there are some truly outstanding tracks here."[17] In addition, Luff affirmed that Anberlin "have delivered a gem of an album."[17]

Indie Vision Music's Carter Fraser wrote that "Almost amusingly, Vital is the exact opposite of what Anberlin fans were hoping for with the quintet’s sixth LP. Not in terms of quality, but in personality. If Anberlin’s return to producer Aaron Sprinkle gave you hopes for another introspective, diligently crafted Cities, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. Vital is far from that, trading pained-slow burners like “Dismantle. Repair.” for a barrage of hard-hitting rockers like “Godspeed.” But I implore you to not be disappointed; Vital is as accomplished as anything Anberlin have released to date, simply in another direction."[18]

Jesus Freak Hideout's Roger Gelwicks said that "Standing on its own merit, Vital is a particularly durable alternative rock release with eleven tracks of excellence. But in light of Anberlin's history and the unceasingly high expectations their fans have set for them, their sixth studio record is even more rewarding as the quintet's strongest effort this side of Cities. The most accomplished alternative rock album this fall, and possibly even the year, Vital forcefully satisfies to the very last drop."[19]

Jesus Freak Hideout's John DiBiase wrote that "Vital is definitely amid Anberlin's best records yet and, in a time where a lot of today's modern rock music feels like it's the byproduct of a just-add-water mixture, this is a truly refreshing album."[20]

Louder Than The Music's Jono Davies said that "it feels like there are two albums trying to burst out. It might have been good to make this into an A & B album, as I think some songs don't actually fit next to each other. But the album does show a band who is trying to move forward with different sounds and styles, and at times it's those songs that I prefer. These songs feel fresher and this must be commended. I just feel like the band have tried to mix two different styles into one album and hoped it worked. So close, but not perfect yet."[21]

New Release Tuesday's Jonathan Francesco wrote that "Vital hits all the right notes at just the right times and you're left with the closest thing to a flawless record you'll find this year. Vital is the definition of a band in their element."[22] In addition, Francesco said "Get this record! What else is there to say? Go out and buy it, and then go and get your friends to go out and buy it. This is music, people--or at least what music is supposed to sound like, what music is supposed to do. It's got power, emotion, honesty, and the band's usual lyrical genius that will get your head thinking for hours on end. Is it better than Cities? Eh, who cares? Why compare two masterpieces to each other when you can be glad that a band actually was able to release two of them? Just sit back and enjoy. The album of the year has arrived!"[22]

The New Review's Jonathan Anderson wrote that "Anberlin has successfully created an album that will immediately please fans of both their old and new work, and at the same time, Vital will attract brand new fans. I won’t go so far as to say that it blows the esteemed Cities out of the water, but I believe Vital has taken a careful step into first place as the pinnacle release of their career."[23]

Sputnikmusic's SowingSeason said that "Even if it isn’t the best album they’ve ever made, Vital is perhaps the smartest. Here Anberlin evolves, trading some of their of rock n’ roll grit for a smooth, electronic-influenced sound that better suits Stephen Christian’s pure, otherworldly vocals. The pop-leaning traits of New Surrender and, more distinctively, Dark Is the Way, Light Is A Place, are present in the sleeker (and bolder) sounding production, but they don’t overpower the raw aspects of the music like they used to. Their core sound, if slightly altered, still remains intact – with sweeping strings, full-sounding acoustics, and compelling electronic components acting as the new driving force behind Christian’s breathtaking vocals. It’s a new era for Anberlin, one that both new fans and diehards should have no problem agreeing upon."[24]


  1. ^ "Anberlin's 'Self-Starter': Exclusive First Listen". Billboard. September 25, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Anberlin Album & Song Chart History" Billboard 200 for Anberlin. Prometheus Global Media.
  3. ^ "Anberlin Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Christian Albums for Anberlin. Prometheus Global Media.
  4. ^ "Anberlin Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Top Rock Albums for Anberlin. Prometheus Global Media.
  5. ^ "Anberlin Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Top Alternative Albums for Anberlin. Prometheus Global Media.
  6. ^ "Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Digital Albums for Anberlin. Prometheus Global Media.
  7. ^ "Anberlin Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Top Tastemaker Albums for Anberlin. Prometheus Global Media.
  8. ^ "Vital Reviews". Metacritic. October 16, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Appleby, Jack (October 10, 2012). "Anberlin - Vital - Album Review". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Collar, Matt (October 16, 2012). "Vital - Anberlin". AllMusic. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Anberlin - Vital". Alternative Press. September 2012.  Issue #292
  12. ^ Spencer, Luke (October 19, 2012). "Anberlin - Vital". Alt Rock Live. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Florino, Rick (October 19, 2012). "Anberlin 'Vital' album review". Artist Direct. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Argyrakis, Andy (December 1, 2012). "Anberlin: Vital (Universal Republic)". CCM Magazine. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Hess, Tyler (October 15, 2012). "Anberlin – "Vital (Review)". Christian Music Zine. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Jones, Jeremy V. (October 16, 2012). "Anberlin: Vital". Christianity Today. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b c Luff, Stephen (January 8, 2013). "Review: Vital - Anberlin". Cross Rhythms. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b Fraser, Carter (October 15, 2012). "Anberlin – Vital". Indie Vision Music. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  19. ^ a b Gelwicks, Roger (October 14, 2012). "Anberlin, "Vital" Review". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  20. ^ a b DiBiase, John (October 14, 2012). "Anberlin, "Vital" Review". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  21. ^ a b Davies, Jono (November 7, 2012). "Anberlin – Vital". Louder Than The Music. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  22. ^ a b c Francesco, Jonathan (October 22, 2012). "The Most Vital an Album You'll Hear This Year". New Release Tuesday. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  23. ^ a b Anderson, Jonathan (October 16, 2012). "Anberlin - Vital". The New Review. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  24. ^ a b SowingSeason (October 16, 2012). "Anberlin - Vital - Album Review". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved December 17, 2012.