Switchfoot [Hello Hurricane]
Posted October 27, 2009
By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer
Hello Hurricane, Switchfoot’s first studio album since 2006’s Oh! Gravity, which debuted at No. 18 on The Billboard 200, acknowledges life’s storms while managing to find an element of hope in them. The band tracked more than 80 songs at its self-built home studio before narrowing it down to the 12 that appear on the new album. Hello Hurricane is the group’s seventh full-length album and its first on Atlantic Records. Switchfoot is comprised of Jon Foreman (vocals/guitar), Tim Foreman (bass), Chad Butler (drums), Jerome Fontamillas (keys/guitar) and Drew Shirley (guitar).
The album grabbed my attention right from the opening notes of “Needle and Haystack Life”, which will thrill long-time Switchfoot fans, and probably win them new fans with the U2-esque epic feel and extremely catchy music and lyrics. This is one of those albums that is meant to be experienced in the order it is arranged as lead single “Mess of Me” switches gears musically and brings a new grunge-type sound with the passionate lyrics “I wanna spend the rest of my life alive!”. My favorite new Switchfoot song is next, “Your Love Is A Song” in the style of “On Fire” from The Beautiful Letdown. I’ve enjoyed this band since New Way To Be Human released in 1999 and Hello Hurricane truly brings a great mixture sonically and stylistically that fans of rock anthems, alt-rock and grunge-rock will enjoy. “The Sound” will also have you shouting along with Jon, whose vocals have never sounded better and musically this song reminded me of “Stars” and “We Are One Tonight” from Nothing Is Sound, my previous favorite Switchfoot album. There is little that reminds me of Oh! Gravity, other than maybe the up tempo but more refined sounding rock songs that perfect the sound introduced with the title track and “Awakening”.
Some other highlights for me come towards the end of the album, which cools down with “Always”, a truly inspirational song in the style of “Twenty-Four” with this great bridge: “Hallelujah!, I'm caving in, Hallelujah! I'm in love again, Hallelujah!, I'm a wretched man, Hallelujah!, every breath is a second chance”. “Always” transitions beautifully to “Bullet Soul”, another Switchfoot anthem which will have you moving with a great guitar riff and a call to action “are you ready to go?”. As if the album didn’t have enough hooks, my next favorite track comes next with the ballad “Yet” a gorgeous contemplative song with a sincere chorus: “I'll sing until my heart caves in, no, you haven't lost me yet”.
I find myself singing at the top of my lungs with each song and “Your Love Is A Song” is one of my top 20 songs of the year. For me, Hello Hurricane is now the best overall album by Switchfoot and is one of my top 5 albums of 2009. The standout songs are “Needle and Haystack Life”, “Mess of Me”, “Your Love Is A Song”, “The Sound”, “Always”, “Bullet Soul” and “Yet”.
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