Impossible

Album: Dark is the Way, Light is a Place (2010)
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Songfacts®:

  • This is the first single from Dark is the Way, Light is a Place, the fifth studio album by American alternative rock band Anberlin. Like another Dark Is The Way: Light Is A Place track, "The Art Of War," this song correlates the philosophies of ancient Chinese military commander and author Sun Tzu's warrior creed with the strategies of maintaining relationships. In this instance Stephen Christian is singing of both parties having lost the battle when the relationship has simply become a game between the pair. He explained to us: "When it comes to mind games or advantages or looming something over someone's head, that's when it becomes this impossible murky water of, 'I love you, but, man, this is really hard to love you, especially at moments like these.'"
  • The album takes its title from a line in Dylan Thomas' Poem On His Birthday and examines the battle implicit in life and in love. "Love is a friction, a chemistry," said Anberlin's front man, Stephen Christian. "We need to fight it out in a good way, not with threats of leaving, but to, in love, find an understanding."
  • Christian explained to Spin magazine the band's name came from a misheard Radiohead lyric: "I was in my dorm room at the University of Central Florida in 2002, and I was listening to Radiohead's Kid A. I was infatuated. I listened to that album every night for a month. But in the song 'Everything in its Right Place,' I thought I kept hearing something in the background that sounded like Thom Yorke was singing the word 'Anberlin.' I kept hearing it: 'Anberlin,' 'Anberlin.' I searched online for 'Radiohead and Anberlin,' 'Thom Yorke and Anberlin' but didn't find anything. Eventually I realized that I must've been mishearing something and that the word 'Anberlin' was a figment of my imagination. It has no meaning. I just liked the sound of it and thought it was original. I thought it would be a good band name."
  • Frontman Stephen Christian told Billboard magazine how he changed his mind about this song. "Just a few weeks before the album was finished I hated (the song)," said the singer. "I was like, 'I don't want that. I want that off the record.' We had done so much to that song, I felt like it had lost its allure, its luster. It had gotten lost in translation.

    But there were people who felt like the song had to stay," he continued. "So we went back and rewrote the entire introduction with the guitar picking and added a lot of ethereal, low backup vocals, and we switched some parts around. Our A&R from Universal was there and he was like, 'That's your single!' Greater minds prevailed. We were very lucky to go from, 'Hey, get that song off the record, I never want to hear it again!' to, 'I guess America wants to hear this first, so that's what's going to happen.'"
  • Anberlin recorded Dark Is The Way: Light Is A Place in Nashville, at Blackbird Studios with Grammy Award-winning producer Brendan O'Brien, whose resumé includes producing Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen and The Killers. Stephen Christian told us that working with him, "was a once in a lifetime experience," as "he is perhaps the greatest - at least the top two or three - rock producers today." Christian added that what the band learned from him is "how minimalism is actually exploited and it sounds huge and massive and energetic. You don't need to have 16 layers of guitars going. You don't need to have some soaring guitar, you don't have to be Satriani to make a guitar sound huge. You just have to focus on the minimals and focus on your strength."

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