Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reaching Maturity

Switchfoot is releasing their 7th studio album, Hello Hurricane, this November 10th. They have come a long way from their freshman album, "Legend of Chin". They have grown in multiple ways. First in the most obvious is the fact that they now have 5 members as opposed to the 3 they started out with (Jon and Tim Foreman and Chad Butler). In addition this has caused them to grow in their music. They have evolved. They dont find a happy formula and stick to it because it has worked before. Because of this, each new album they release is filled with something new, something that they have never tried before.

This is the first album released on their new independent record label lowercase people records. This is good news because it gave them creative rights over all of it and took the pressure off from the big time labels. And it shows. They tackle issues like God, pain, drug abuse, commitment and much more layered things. The band's personal beliefs bleed into the record making it very personal.
I have listened to the album several times and am flabbergasted (yes I just used that word) by it. It is a window to the human soul. The album is full of hurt and sometimes despair. But more than anything its full of hope. The title track, Hello Hurricane, is an amazing glimpse into the identity of the record. The chorus is welcoming the storm, letting it know that it cannot prevail. "Hello hurricane, you're not enough. Hello hurricane, you can't silence my love". It is a "though storms may come" kind of track of someone holding on to real hope. Lead singer Jon Foreman quotes the Apostle Paul and says, "everything I have I count as loss". It is a song about surrender to something bigger and greater than himself. The first single, Mess Of Me, is a harder, full on rock kind of song. With a driving guitar riff, Jon Foreman has referenced the infamous line of the film Braveheart as being the inspiration: "Every man dies, not every man really lives." This comparison is seen easily as in the chorus he says, "I wanna spend the rest of my life alive". It is also a cry against drug abuse and showing them that it is not the answer. When they first released this single, they hid thousands of copies of it all over the world and on Twitter posted the locations. Followers of Switchfoot would find them, and upon Switchfoot's request copied it, hid it somewhere else, and Tweeted the location. A great launch.
My personal favorite is the song Always. It is a track of commitment to the Heavenly Father. It talks about surrender, scars from the journey, sin, and second chances. It is ultimately a worship song sang in thanksgiving to someone full of grace.
Needle And Haystack Life is the opening track, and is very U2-esque. The tempo of the song is like U2 around Unforgettable Fire, but the maturity of the lyrics and vocals are like U2 around How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.
The album has a great variety of songs that range from upbeat guitar rock songs to great ballads and heart-wrenching songs. Cover to cover this is an amazing album and is in my opinion Switchfoot's best. Jon Foreman did a few solo E.P.'s before this album was made and you can see that he learned a lot about songwriting from that experience and has since carried over to Switchfoot. Mark your calendars, on November 10th, go and get one of the best albums of the year.

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