“Dear Bobbie” is a sweet tribute to lifelong love, with spoken interludes by an old man reminding his aging wife of their courtship. The singer is committed to “Fighting” for a relationship even though his partner wants to call it quits. He’s also willing to make a supreme sacrifice for a loved one on “Light Up the Sky.” The title track offers to burn down walls that separate us. The theme of helping others in times of emotional need runs through this disc. For example, “Cut Me, Mick” credits someone for providing clarity (“You’re the one thing that always pulls me through”), and “Keeper” asks if “I could be someone to turn to that could never hurt you.”
On the grim, possibly metaphorical “You, Me and One Spotlight,” a couple prepares for a night of intimacy as if it will be their last in a world about to end. Opening lines of “Afraid” vaguely suggest a sexual encounter.
The cautious optimism of Paper Walls falls somewhere between the band’s buoyant Ocean Avenue and the more despairing Lights and Sounds. A pair of ambiguous songs caused us to cock an eyebrow, but it’s pretty solid.
Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.