Having created huge waves with their 2010 project Light Up The Sky, chart-topping foursome The Afters will deliver their much-anticipated new studio album, Life Is Beautiful, on April 16. The 12-track project—the band's 4th overall—comes more than two and a half years after the launch of their previous effort's success—delivering two No. 1 hits ("Light Up The Sky," "Lift Me Up") and a bevy of film and television placements (New Year's Eve, "The Biggest Loser," "The Hills," "Army Wives"). Joined once again by award-winning producer Dan Muckala (Backstreet Boys, Chris Tomlin, Britt Nicole) for eight of its 12 tracks, the new album draws inspiration from the encouraging promise that God is continuously with us and life is still beautiful no matter what challenges we face. The Texas-borne band—comprised of vocalist-guitarist Josh Havens, guitarist-vocalist Matt Fuqua, bassist Dan Ostebo and drummer Jordan Mohilowski—cites verse James 1:17 as a major source of inspiration for this album.
"Our hope for our record—and a lot of heartache went into this album—is that it will encourage people to see how God is working in their lives," says Havens. "He's not just there on the sunny days. No matter what we go through in life, God is still with us and life is beautiful—God is beautiful."
Life Is Beautiful began with challenging questions the band members posed to themselves. "As songwriters, we never want to make the same album twice," says Fuqua. "For us we try to go in asking: ‘What can we do that's different? How can we stretch ourselves?' It was intentional to be really honest with our audience, and to be honest with ourselves by sharing things that are personal and meaningful."
The infectious lead single from Life Is Beautiful, "Every Good Thing," is already being well-received at radio, jumping into the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot AC/CHR Chart, Top 20 on the Billboard National Christian Audience Chart and Top 25 on the Billboard AC Monitored and Indicator Charts. 75 stations are already on board for "Every Good Thing" including K-LOVE, AIR 1, SiriusXM, KLTY/Dallas, KSBJ/Houston, KCMS/Seattle, The Fish Los Angeles, KTIS/Minneapolis, JOY FM/St. Louis, The JoyFM Tampa and KXOJ/Tulsa among many others. Commenting on the catchy track Havens says, "We wanted something strong, upbeat and positive. We were looking back over the last year and we were struck by how many times we'd wake up and see those horrific headlines in the news. We're reminded every day of how many bad things there are in life, so we wanted to write a reminder of how much God is capable of doing."
In addition, the album's title track was featured in the 2012 film October Baby.
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A Must-Own for 2013 (and beyond)| Posted April 10, 2013
The rise of The Afters' career has been nothing short of spectacular. From the crossover success they experienced with their debut, I Wish We All Could Win, to their more recent 2010 smash Light Up The Sky, there's no denying the impact they're making in CCM.
Seeing the victories that have unfolded for the band over the last several years, one would assume life for the four-piece ensemble--comprised of Matt Faqua, Jordan Mohilowski, Dan Ostebo and Josh Havens--would be one, big mountaintop experience. Not so much.
While their career as a group was thriving, their private lives were in disarray. Joyous personal changes like marriage and fatherhood were met with unexpected struggles such as families divorcing, cancer, death and other attacks, including a freak car accident lead vocalist Josh Havens and his family miraculously walked away from back in 2010--an accident police say no one should have survived.
As challenges mounted, each member of the band found themselves in the most desperate season of their lives. Yet as God always does, He began to bring beauty from the trials they faced. Lifting them out of the slums, miracle after miracle began taking place in the band's healing hearts, and not only strengthened their faith, but led them to their most vulnerable season of songwriting to date.
The Afters' latest effort, Life Is Beautiful, was birthed from that difficult season. The idea of the album comes from the reality that life is fragile, and we're meant to enjoy the gift of every moment we get to experience, even the painful ones. "The things that are really hard, make the things that are amazing that much more amazing," says guitarist Matt Faqua, "God [uses] them in our lives."
"Every Good Thing" is the perfect upbeat pop song to start the album. Fun and bubbly, it sets the tone for the rest of the album, and will having you smiling and singing along in no time.
"Breathe In Breathe Out" accentuates the evolutionary electronic beats the band introduced on their last effort, and shows yet another sonic leap from their early rock roots. The song talks about living in the now, and not waiting for the future to be happy when it's a choice we have today.
What I'm sure will be a another major single for the group, "Broken Hallelujah" opens up about confusion in God's will when things in life don't go as we plan, but offers worshipful surrender and declares trust in whatever the outcome may be: "I've seen joy, and I've seen pain / And on my knees I call Your name / Here's my broken hallelujah."
"Moments Like This" rides on the theme of making the most of every moment before it slips by, while "Find Your Way" pulls shades of Brandon Heath in its crunchy toe-tapping melody. The tune is penned from God's perspective and cries out with love to those who think they're too far gone for His grace.
The title track "Life Is Beautiful," which originally appeared in the 2012 film October Baby, comes next. The song has been tweaked a bit from the version heard on the movie's soundtrack, but still holds true in its powerful theme of life's rugged beauty, found in the lyric: "Living and dying, laughing and crying / 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."
"Love Is In The Air" is a fun and carefree love song which has potential to be yet another mainstream crossover hit for the group.
"Believe (Waiting For An Answer)" is based on lead vocalist Josh Haven's personal story of his son, Owen, being born a year ago with unexpected complications, landing him in the NICU for several weeks. The song, one of the meatiest cuts the band has written to date, is an honest look at our frustration with pain, but ultimately proclaims that God will use it to bring us closer to Him, and work it all out for our good.
Delivering more uplifting sonic pop, "What We're Here For" encourages the listener to get beyond themselves and live for others like we're meant to. With a lingering melody, "With You Always" sings of God's presence in our lives--regardless of how empty we may feel.
"In My Eyes" sounds the most like an old-school Afters cut, and will please the fans who have been waiting on a track with a grittier edge.
"This Life" ties up the album on a fantastic and emotional note. Touching on life's sweet brevity, it's a final reminder that this life we live is not our own, but a gift we're given to hold loosely and make the most of while we have it: "We can't own it, we just get to hold it for awhile / This life / We can't keep it or save it for another time / This life."
From track one, it's clear that this is not the same band that launched onto the music scene nearly eight years ago. The Afters have not only matured melodically, but lyrically, they're better than ever. It's clear that the fire they've endured has refined them in more ways than one, and the music they've crafted for this project is proof of it.
The theme of life's beauty rings throughout the entire record and is sure to stick with you long after each listen. While it's void of the alternative pop/rock sounds they‘ve been known for in the past, the musical path they've taken is a unique one: quirky, but with a broody edge. It will be interesting to see what they do next.
Filled with fun, encouraging and several heart-touching moments, Life Is Beautiful is easily one of the must-own albums of 2013. If there was any time to discover The Afters, it's now.
Another Beautiful Chapter in the Life of The Afters| Posted April 10, 2013
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.
Life Really Is Beautiful| Posted April 15, 2013
From just the previews, I can tell you that this band is talented. Their music praises God in a powerful way, and by the end of it all, you really do realize that life is beautiful. Great job to The Afters, i can't wait to purchase this!
Average Pop Rock With Standout Lyrical Work| Posted April 13, 2013
When it's all said and done, The latest album from The Afters sounds like your average run-of-the-mill pop rock album. The lyrics are strong and the only real highlight of the album. The days of Never Going Back to O.K. are long gone.
Very good work!!| Posted April 10, 2013
This album is more modern than their other ones. There are more danceable songs like Every Good Thing, Love Is In The Air. The second song (Breathe In Breathe Out) is very well written and a bit simiar to Fun's We Are Young.
There are more lyrical song like Life Is Beautiful, Broken Hallelujah, With You Always, This Life. These songs are lyrically very inspiring, and have deep meanings, focused mostly on love.
The other song which I didn't mentioned are good too, and worth to listen, and buy, and love them.
Yeah| Posted April 09, 2013
The colorful album seems pretty good. I only listened a little bit of it. The songs look good, some of them are not really my style, I like the quicker ones. But some songs sound pretty interesting to my ears.
I love The Afters| Posted April 09, 2013
The new Album Life Is Beautiful by The Afters is sheerly amazing!!!! I absolutely love it!!! The song Every Good Thing is my favorite so far on the new album!!! I have always loved The Afters and this new album beats all!!! I'm craving more!!!