now that the nonstop march of Christmas is finally over, i've been spending a good bit of time living to the soundtrack of switchfoot's new album, hello hurricane, so i thought i'd give you a quick little review of it here at agent orange records.
i've been listening to switchfoot since their debut album in 1997, the legend of chin, and they continue to impress me, even a dozen or so years later. actually, in many ways, if you put the whole switchfoot catalog side by side, you would have one fairly coheseive whole, lyrically if not musically. is this monotonous, or boring? i don't think so. i am reminded of a mentor who told me that i am constantly preaching the same sermon over and over again in different ways. as a careful listenener, i think that is what switchfoot is doing, too. they keep singing the same song in different ways. the song says, "live your life fully." maybe that's a bit too simplistic, but if i had to sum up switchfoot in four words, those would be the words. they actually remind of me of Jesus' words in john 10:10 when he told his followers the reason he came: "i have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly." it is this abundant life that switchfoot points to.
and they don't do it with a pie-in-the-sky kind of everything's okay cheerleader naivete. from the grit of the guitar to the weight of the drums, to the vein-in-the-neck intensity of jon foreman's vocals, switchfoot always seems to recognize the brokenness before offering the hope of redemption. 2009's hello hurricane is no exception. there is no question that life is a hurricane at times, threatening and violent, but foreman belts out his hope, "hello hurricane, you're not enough..you can't silence my love." in the album's opening track needle and haystack life, foreman sings the refrain to every switchfoot song, "all is not lost/all is not lost/become who you are/it happens once in a lifetime."
musically, switchfoot never fails to tickle the ears. from the outset in 1997, switchfoot had a way with their instruments, with billboard calling their debut "an intriguing and surprisingly mature effort for a debut release." most know them from their album the beautiful letdown because of the crossover success of dare you to move and meant to live, and the new album seems like a tip of the hat to the success of that project. if you liked the made-for-radio tightness of the beautiful letdown, you will likely enjoy hello hurricane. blazing anthems, heartfelt ballads, and life-giving lyrics continue to mark the art of switchfoot, and it doesn't disappoint. i, for one, need to continue to hear their song. maybe they do, too. in yet, foreman sings with conviction: you haven't lost me yet/i'll sing until my heart caves in/you haven't lost me yet." no, jon. we haven't lost you. keep singing, brother. we're right there singing along.