Songs & Such: “Never Take Friendship Personal” by Anberlin

Last week, we looked at the song “Foreign Language” by Anberlin. This week, we continue our series of looking at songs by the Tooth and Nail band by looking at the lead off track from their second album, “Never Take Friendship Personal”.

This title track makes for a great opener. They set the mood early on with the open “A” chord done in just away that it basically says “hey this is the opening track” and that is a good thing. When the lead singer pseudo-screams “There’s a hatchet, got a knife” only to follow it up with the melodic vocal “when I awoke there was nothing real in this life” the mood for the entire album is set. You know you are going to get the rock with the melodic, right off the bat, without question.

200px-anberlin-ntfp.jpgSetting the tone for an entire album with one song is hard to do, and very few bands have pulled it off with great success. However, it seems that most truly good albums follow this trend (at least the one’s I consider “truly good”). However, what makes this song really work is the play on words in the chorus. The switching between “Innocence gone” and “In a sense gone” right before the line “never take friendship personal” is something incredibly interesting yet deeply disturbing. The reason it is both interesting and disturbing, is because of the incredible difference in meaning in the two lines, that when sung, sound exactly the same.

The title of the song itself lends to a great play on words.  Rumored to be about one of the band’s former guitarists upon their departure, it is interesting to look at the lyrics as a farewell message to a former colleague.  However, friendship is something that is in fact deeply personal, so is it really possible to not take it personally? Is it possible to view a friendship like a business or a temporary alliance? That is something that only the listener can decide, but the line itself begs to be debated, questioned, and contemplated throughly.

Lyrics after the jump…

Never Take Friendship Personal
by Anberlin
From the Album: Never Take Friendship Personal

There’s a hatchet got a knife
When I awoke there was nothing real in this life
But dreams are so intoxicating, (intoxicating)
When you’re doing this alone
Gun, rope, brick on the way
But words have no meaning when its you that says
I really do care, no baby I, I really do care!

[Chorus]
Innocence gone, never take friendship personal
If you can’t hold yourself together
Why should I hold you now?
In a sense gone, never take friendship personal
If you can’t hold yourself together
Why should I hold you now?

Once a skeptic, now the critic
And you think that you finally found a place of your own.
Amongst the cold and timid souls
Where only failure knows your name

Look around for the closest to blame
But look no further than the hands beneath your arms
and now your 6 feet down, buried with,
with your passing fame fame fame fame.

[Chorus]

Oh, oh, oh, you lie
Tell me something more than what you tried to hide
If you can’t find yourself, then how can I expect to find you.
Oh, oh, oh, you cry
Tell me something more than what you try
The greatest tragedy is not your death
But a life without reason, your life has no purpose
Your life has no reason, your life has no purpose

[Chorus]

Innocence gone, never take friendship personal
If you can’t hold yourself together
Why should I hold you now?

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