Tuesday, January 05, 2010

review: switchfoot - hello hurricane

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. 

grade: 92%


Greg C said...

Funny you should post this post - and I should read it...I was thinking just the other day that I needed to get s'more Switchfoot but since I'm one of those who found them via 'Dare You to Move' etc...wasn't sure where to start! Now I know! Thanks.

Cindy M. said...

We were meant to live for so much more..... I absolutely love, love Hello Hurricane . Well, come to think of it I absolutely love all of Switchfoot. I am a product of Legend of Chin, 1997, 1st concert I went to after bearing my babies, they were 7 nd 4. I got a sitter and a friend to drive me into NYC to the Hammerstein Ballroom to see them. Some might have said I was a bad mommy-but it was totally worth it. Great post Greg, thanks.

greg. said...

greg, you should definately check it out. its worth it. it will land firmly in your ipod and will refuse to budge. good stuff.

cindy, i thought of you as i wrote this. i know you are a huge switchfoot fanatic. i am jealous that you saw them at the hammerstein. i've seen them several times, but usually at festivals and stuff. i think this is one of my top 3 switchfoot albums.

Greg C. said...

It has landed firmly!

Cindy M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cindy M. said...

greg c. you need to hang out with me, I am a Switchfoot stalker and get into situations that fluster me... like, meeting Jon Foreman and not being able to speak... but I always get a good spot at a concert!

Greg M., so I know my 3 fav's, and they are Legend of Chin, Hello Hurricane, and.... .... you guess... although I love Beautiful Letdown, maybe it's popularity got the best of me.... it is not in my top 3... wonder what yours are... bet we are on the same page!!!

and dont be jealous, I was going against everything I believed in as a mom... leaving my kids so I could go to a concert... but then, when Robs turned 14, his birthday present, tickets to see Switchfoot in NYC- just him and me... I felt validated... and he really enjoyed it too:) hanging out with my kid in the moshpit... all was well with my soul.

10:04 PM