Soul-stirring and stunning Posted February 11, 2021 By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer
What You Need to Know This long-awaited solo project Departures by Switchfoot’s front man Jon Foreman has captivated my spirit. The album includes standout recordings like the sing at the top of your lungs anthems “Education” and “Red and Gold,” and the reflective and worshipful vibe of “Side by Side,” “A Place Called Earth,” “Jesus, I Have My Doubts” and “Thanks Be To God.”
What it Sounds Like From my first listen, I wanted to tell others about this great new album which immediately reminded me of some of my favorite emotional alternative rock artists like The Fray, Lifehouse, and Switchfoot’s softer songs. The project opens with “The Ocean Beyond the Sea” which has a reflective and ambient vibe and it builds to an exciting refrain that stirs my soul. I'm really engaged by Jon's emotional vocals and the sincere, enthusiastic and introspective lyrics throughout the album. “Education” is layered with an upbeat alt-rock musical style. The song will have you singing along in one listen. “You lose yourself when you love someone/You lose yourself and you come undone,” is the refrain of the catchy song, which is in some ways the thesis statement of this stellar album.
Spiritual Highlights I can't get enough of the stand-out song “A Place Called Earth.” Jon's emotive vocals and the Kingdom-focused lyrics takes me on an emotional journey that causes me to excitedly worship along with the stirring lyrics every time I hear the song. It also features Lauren Daigle and expresses Jon’s emotional plea, “Oh I long for heaven in a place called earth/Where every son and daughter will know their worth." From the beginning notes of “Jesus, I Have My Doubts,” I was hooked by the reflective musical vibe and prayerful message. The song declares bold confessional and prayerful statements: "Jesus, has the world gone mad? Jesus, feels like the world's in pieces/I'm sure You've got Your reasons/But I've got my doubts/Jesus, I've got my doubts." The song is a gorgeous offering in the style of David’s Psalms. Other spiritual highlights are found in “Thanks Be To God” with the refrain, “Thanks be to God who delivers me, Christ, Christ alone come and set me free.”
Best Song on the Record All these songs are poignant and powerful with earnest lyrics sung from the perspective of someone like David in the Psalms or Solomon in Ecclesiastes. “Side By Side” is a beautiful song featuring Madison Cunningham, with Jon displaying emotive vocals with the comforting refrain sung as a duet, “You and I will find the ocean we come from.” “Red and Gold” expresses words of comfort, “So hold your faith, you're not alone here/Stay your pace, you're almost home.” The aforementioned “A Place Called Earth” stopped me in my tracks and caused me to immediately replay the song. You’ll get swept up in the emotion and message of the song, causing your heart to ache for heaven. It’s my early choice for song of the year.
Final Word This is a great collection of confessional and authentic expressions of faith. The songs are poignant and powerful. There are no filler tracks, and this is easily one of my top “gourmet” albums of the year. If you want to experience an uplifting, soul-stirring, stunning and introspective album, look no further than Jon Foreman. These songs will certainly connect with listeners and showcase the multi-talented singer/songwriter's trademark balance of vocal tenderness and intensity, and, above all, a sense of hope and inspiration. This is an incredibly deep, worshipful and emotional album, and Departures is one of my top albums of the year.