The Afters: Wish We All Could Win
The Afters bring a sweet-sounding rock and roll to faith-inspired lyrics in their album Wish We All Could Win and has earned them a slot on Best Buy’s “Up and Coming Artist” rack. The Afters are made up of Josh Havens (guitar/vocals), Matt Fuqua (guitar/vocals), Brad Wigg (bass/vocals), and Marc Dodd (drums), but they are joined by violins, viola, cello and keyboard at times, bringing a blend of sound that really works. In addition, the lyrics are insightful and bear a variety of interpretations, but most importantly, all are written by the band.
“Beautiful Love” and “Until the World” both double as male-to-female or human-and-God communication. In the first, the singer searches the night skies for signs while acknowledging that the love he feels in return is carried within his own heart. Even as the worlds collide (personalities, ideas, heavenly bodies themselves), “heaven pulls us through,” they sing. The focus that turns the tide toward a spiritual relationship is that the fire of the love burns within the singer (singularly), with the hopes that it will catch on with others, similar to an evangelical understanding of sharing faith. In the second song, the verses express an inability to share the love shown by the other, both in saying so but also in showing that love to someone else. I would argue that the chorus is God speaking back: “Until the sun dies I’ll be there/Until the heavens come/’Til this life is done/Until the world dies I’ll be there.” The singer responds with a list of things it is hard for him to do, including say he’s sorry, ask for forgiveness, look to the future, aor let go of this life. Yes, the two songs could illustrate human love but I’m looking for more.
The Afters’ perspective changes in “Someday,” as they seem to shift to the side of understanding and knowledge, looking at the person they address as on the outside. Wishing that everyone could win implies that presently someone is not winning or does not understand the same thing that The Afters do. “Love Lead Me On” leaves little room for the center of the Afters’ perspective as they sing “Only God can know where I will call my home…Faith keep me strong/Love lead me on.” “All That I Am” plainly expresses love to God, specifically Jesus, and a fundamental understanding that He is coming again.
One of the more insightful songs on Wish We All Could Win, “The Way You Are” remembers back to the time when the Afters were “just the same/As everybody else/Whoever saw the light and turned away.” The clarity of the love that existed even before the singer could recognize the love himself shows the maturity of the lyrics and understanding of faith. A person’s fragility turns into strength when the other is present; The Afters sing that “You’ve rectified my frailty by your strength.” Once again, radio play might make this a love song but the real implications are spiritual.
“Thank God I’m Not The One” closes out the album with a newfound understanding of the sacrifice made and the effort put forth by Jesus. No one else could have done it but He did. The Afters want that sacrifice to matter for everyone. With some catchy beats and hooks that stay with you after listening, the insights provided by The Afters are obviously Christian but the extraordinary moments are found in their music. Music like this will get the attention of music-lovers, and The Afters certainly have a message to share.