Following last month's announcement that they would be ending their year-long hiatus, Switchfoot is officially back with the release of brand new single "Native Tongue." The song is the title track from the band's upcoming eleventh studio album, due out January 18, 2019, and available for pre-order now.
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Love Is (Still) The Movement| Posted January 16, 2019
What You Need To Know:
Switchfoot. A name that needs no introduction to music fans - christian, mainstream, rock, alternative or whatever other genre they might fit into. A hiatus announced in December 2017 cast doubt over what may come next for the San Diego band, but late 2018 brought a sigh of relief and an announcement of their 11th (!) full length album. Here to launch 2019 with a bang is Native Toungue, and it's vintage Switchfoot with sprinkles of the creativity they are known for.
What It Sounds Like:
Native Tongue sounds like you'd expect Jon, Tim, Chad, Drew, Chad, and Jerome to sound - rock/alternative with dashes of whatever else they decide to add. Always familiar yet also always unique, there are the things that make Switchfoot good - compelling songwriting both lyrically and instrumentally, guitar riffs, soaring vocals, spot on production - anyone who knows the band knows what will be there. However (and as always), there are new touches and surprises. In particular, Native Tongue contains a little more spoken word/rap here and there, a couple songs that are Twenty One Pilots-esque, and Tim Foreman singing a verse to name a few. The list doesn't stop there, as there are endless good things on this record that Switchfoot and rock/alternative fans should appreciate.
Jon Foreman has always been able to write poetic, meaningful songs. Spiritual highlights are all over Native Tongue, but as always with Switchfoot, it never seems pushy or over the top, and the theme of love being the best language we can speak is all over this record. Particularly meaningful are the hook of Joy Invincible which proclaims "Hallelujah/nevertheless/was the song the pain couldn't destroy," and later "Open your eyes/look to the skies/we are the children of the promise." Prodigal Soul is a song that will hold meaning for anyone who has questioned where God may be, or if it's possible to run farther than He can reach. Previously released single Voices is as smooth lyrically as they come, with the absolute earworm line "I used to listen to the radio/but I've got an army of voices in my head."
Best Song On The Record:
Depending on how one feels on a given day, there are several songs that could be considered the best song on Native Toungue. Aformentioned Voices is a great canidate, and it's as catchy a song as you are going to hear. Prodigal Soul is classic Jon Foremen poetry set to music, and will find a place on many playlists. However, the crunchy guitars of Take My Fire are vintage Switchfoot and will make it a favorite.
The guys in Switchfoot have recently stated that the purpose of Native Tongue is to let anyone who will listen know that love is greater than hatred and fear. It's the reason they didn't stay on hiatus, and the reason they sing the songs they do. This album is full of anthems filled with hope, but it's also not afraid to ask hard questions or make unpopular statements. It's classic Switchfoot from top to bottom, but has enough new ideas sprinkled in to keep the listener coming back for more. Native Tongue desrves a spot in your rotation as soon as you can get your hands on it.
Switchfoot Takes Some Chances on Native Tongue| Posted January 18, 2019 Native Tongue is San Diego based Switchfoot’s eleventh studio album and first since 2016’s Where The Light Shines Through. The ambitious fourteen songs (out of nearly a hundred written for the album), is diverse, featuring a variety of music styles as the band takes some chances. They wanted to pursue joy and let it happen after taking some time off. The album was produced primarily by the band, along with OneRepublic bassist and multi-instrumentalist Brent Kutzle. Jon Foreman has said that the album was an attempt to be a loving embrace of all the human souls who have been weighed down by the times, and that hatred is not our language, love is our native tongue.
Below are a few comments about each of the songs on the album:
Let It Happen – This song was written by Jon Foreman and produced by Tim Foreman, Jon Foreman and Tyler Chester. The song features crashing guitars and driving drums, over Jon’s lead vocal. Backing vocals join him for the chorus and there is a nice guitar solo mid-song. This life seems hollow, he doesn’t know the meaning and his body is aching. He doesn’t know what is going to happen tomorrow but he trusts God with his future.
Native Tongue - This song was written and produced by Tim Foreman, Jon Foreman and Brent Kutzle. The song has a great beat. It starts with Jon singing over hand claps and light drums before a driving drum comes in. The song includes some backing vocals. I really appreciated the Chad Butler’s drums on this song. Love is the language, our native tongue. He wonders where we went wrong, we forgot our song. He wants the world to sing in her native tongue and use our lungs for love.
All I Need – This song was written by Tim Foreman and Jon Foreman. The love song begins with acoustic guitar and finger snaps and then builds. The chorus is memorable as he sings that all he needs is the air he breathes, the time they share and the ground beneath his feet. He wants to know if she believes in him.
Voices – This song was written by Brent Kutzle, Jon Foreman, Ryan Tedder, Tim Foreman and Tyler Spry. It was produced by Kutzle, Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman and Tyler Spry. The song, which was inspired by a homeless man at the beach, begins with keys and then Butler’s drums drive an excellent beat. In the catchy chorus, Jon sings of having an army of voices in his head. Each moment is crowded with choices, which speak to him and drown out the voices. There are also some good backing vocals on the song.
Dig New Streams – This song, which shows the band taking chances, was written by Tim Foreman and Jon Foreman. The song opens slowly with Jon singing over acoustic guitar and backing vocals. Mid-way through the chorus the band kicks in with guitar, drums and horns as Jon sings “I’ve got thirty voices in my head, they’ve been telling me to quit while I'm ahead.” Mid-way through verse two the song changes again as Jon sings “If you've been hurt by the church of black and white, come unto me, find rest my burden's light “
Joy Invincible – This song was written by Tim Foreman and Jon Foreman. It begins with guitar and a nice drum driven beat. An illness has led to shattered dreams and the need to be brave in the midst of suffering. Jon sings “Hallelujah nevertheless, was the song the pain couldn't destroy, hallelujah nevertheless, You're my joy invincible.”
Prodigal Soul – This song was written and produced by Tim Foreman and Jon Foreman. The song is a prayer. It begins with acoustic guitar, before the band joins in at the chorus. He has been wandering and wants to come home, reminiscent of the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15: 11-32). A highlight.
The Hardest Art – This song was written by Tim and Jon Foreman and produced by Tyler Chester, Tyler Spry, Brent Kutzle, Tim Foreman and Jon Foreman. The song features Kaela Sinclair of the French electronic band M83. Jon handles the first verse and Sinclair the second. Love is surrender and is the hardest art to earn. The song has a dance beat, with Switchfoot again taking chances with a new sound. Wonderful Feeling – This song was written by Tim Foreman and Jon Foreman and they produced it with Tyler Chester. The mid-tempo song begins with piano and then builds, with a good drum beat, guitar solo and backing vocals. Jon sings how it’s funny how you fight what you need the most. Though he has spent a lot of time chasing his shadow, he has a wonderful feeling and hopes set high. His prayer is to let God’s light be his.
Take My Fire – This song was written and produced by Tim Foreman and Jon Foreman. The song begins with drum machine and then a distorted guitar. Satan is never going to take his fire, his love for God. This is about as hard as Switchfoot has rocked. A highlight.
The Strength to Let Go – This song was written and produced by Tim Foreman and Jon Foreman. The song begins with acoustic guitar and synth and builds at the chorus. Like “The Prodigal Soul”, it’s a prayer asking God to show him the way to come home. He chooses mercy instead of control. He needs the faith to surrender.
Oxygen – This song was written and produced by Tim Foreman and Jon Foreman.
The song begins with piano and drums and then settles into an easy going beat with backing vocals and a guitar solo. The song is about a relationship that has gone bad with one partner leaving. It’s probably my least favorite song on the album.
We’re Gonna Be Alright – This song is written by Tim Foreman and Jon Foreman, and they produced it with Tyler Chester. The catchy easy-going song begins with acoustic guitar, and includes a good beat and backing vocals. It’s OK to doubt, fear, grieve, etc. The joyful and memorable chorus tells us that we’re gonna be alright, just take a look at the sky.
You’re The One I Want – This song was written by Jon Foreman and written by Tim Foreman and Jon Foreman. This is a love song, featuring Jon singing over piano and cello. The song would fit well on one of his solo albums.