Switchfoot Returns From a Dark Season with a Source of Light
Posted October 30, 2016
~~Switchfoot is one of my favorite bands, second only to U2. This is their first full-length album since the chart-topping 2014 album Fading West. An EP of songs from the Fading West sessions The Edge of the Earth, was also released in 2014. Lead singer/songwriter Jon Foreman also released four solo Wonderlands EPs in 2015.
This is the band’s 10th album in their 20-year career. It is also the first time in ten years that the band has worked with producer John Fields, who worked with them on their 2003 breakthrough album The Beautiful Letdown, as well as 2005’s Nothing is Sound and 2006’s Oh! Gravity. Bassist Tim Foreman has said that the band went through a dark season and the record become a source of light in the middle of that dark season. He stated that the album rose organically out of the ashes of adversity.
This is an excellent new release from the band that always sounds fresh. Jon Foreman’s vocals are excellent and Chad Butler’s drums really stand out. I would have liked a few more rockers, but still love the album.
Below are a few comments on each of the songs on the deluxe edition:
Holy Water – a strong opener with grungy drums and guitars that reminded me of the band’s raw Oh! Gravity sound. Jon sings that he has fought the fire with fire and he wants to taste the Lord’s love again.
Float - features an infectious funky beat. I liked this song instantly. Jon sings “Turn it up so I can feel it. Loud enough so I can get near it.” He sings don't let them tell you what to feel like, and that money’s going to leave you broken-hearted. It can’t finish what we started. A favorite.
Where the Light Shines Through – opens with guitar, then quickly goes into drums and the full band. Jon sings encouragingly that we can’t run away from ourselves. He sings that our scars shine like dark stars and that our wounds are where the light shines through, it’s where the light finds us. The band describes it as “a gospel song – an open palms altar call – bring your scars and abuse and bruises with you”.
I Won’t Let You Go – opens with acoustic guitar. Jon offers a vulnerable Bono-like vocal as the song builds. This song works on different levels, including being a song in which the Lord is speaking to us about trusting Him.
If you could only let go your doubts
If you could just believe in me now
I swear, that I won't let you go
Another line that was powerful was “pain gives birth to the promise ahead”.
If The House Burns Down Tonight – begins with Jon singing over an acoustic guitar. He sings that the truth is what remains and what you save from the fire. The songs turns into a driving rocker, featuring excellent drums. It could be a song about his wife. He wants passion, the fire. If he loses everything (the house burns down tonight), he still has everything he needs with her by his side. The rest can burn. A powerful line is “ashes from the flames, the truth is what remains”.
The Day That I Found God – a lighter song musically, this one starts slow and builds. A key line is “I found out the day I lost myself was the day that I found God”. Another highlight.
I found strength but it wasn't what I thought
I found peace in the places I forgot
I found riches ain't the things that I had bought
I found out
The day I lost myself was the day that I found God
Shake This Feeling – opens with guitars. A mid-tempo rocker about a relationship that is falling apart. You can feel the pain. Words have been said that can’t be taken back. They are going to have to fight to fall back in love again.
Bull in a China Shop – a rocker that starts with a screeching guitar and great drums with good backing vocals. The chorus us “I wanna rock this block like a bull in a china shop”. Jon asks what we are waiting for as the future is here. It’s a bold songs, he sings that fear is all he’s got left to fear.
Live it Well – in this encouraging and uplifting song Jon sings that life is short, he wants to live it well. He wants to burn brighter than the dawn. He wants to take full advantage of what he has been given, and we should as well.
Looking for America – a powerful songs featuring Lecrae, this song is about America. The song acknowledges that the Lord knows we need plenty of change in our country. Features a great beat molding Lecrae’s and Switchfoot’s sounds with challenging, bold lyrics. It reminds me thematically of Lecrae’s “Welcome to America” from his Anomaly album.
America, who are you?
Is God still on your side?
Healer of Souls – an out and out rocker with great guitars and drums. Jon acknowledges that we have problems. We are a nation torn by the clashes. We need to turn to the Lord, the healer of souls. This song will sound great in concert.
I want more than just a crutch to lean on
Yeah I'm looking for that freedom
So let's go there
To the healer of souls
Hope is the Anthem – a slower song featuring synth, keyboards and light drums. Jon sings that sometimes what we need is what we fight. He sings that God’s love is what he was running from. The Lord’s hope is the anthem of his soul.
Light and Heavy – was first played live by Jon in 2009, when he dedicated it to a friend and fellow musician who had recently died of cancer. Starts with Jon singing with bass and drum and then builds. Jon sings that he is travelling light with a heavy heart. A personal song, perhaps to a friend, as he sings “I hope you find what you were looking for”.
Begin Forever – A light rocker. It appears to be about a relationship that has gone wrong. Jon sings that it’s never too late to try. It’s never too It's never to begin forever.
When was the Last Time - a light rocker with a good beat driven by the drums. A key line is “When was the last time you tried something for the first time?” Life is difficult but he would rather be happy than typical. Take chances. Step out. A good challenge to end the album with.
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