Stories Behind The Songs: Float

July 29, 2016 — Jon Foreman

It's How We Float


Float is a song that was inspired by a conversation with a friend of mine named Jeremy Courtney. Jeremy helps kids and families who are victims of Isis and other violent attacks in Iraq. He connects these refugees with doctors and helps them get back on their feet through an organization called “Pre-emptive Love.” Jeremy lives in Iraq with his family, so he can better serve the community. Jeremy told me that after a hard day of work, he will put his headphones on and listen to songs that bring him hope, songs that remind him to stay strong and not to give up. He told me that our songs have brought him perspective and encouragement when he desperately needed it.

I was driving north next to the Pacific, heading to our studio in San Diego. The night before, Isis had attacked a village near where Jeremy lives. I wanted to send him some encouragement, but I felt like I couldn’t find the words. For me, when words fail, music speaks. So I began to sing. I wanted to write a song specifically for Jeremy, something for his headphones at the end of a hard day. I wanted a song that would lift his whole family up. Just a small thing to contribute, yes, but it felt like a honest response to the turmoil that he was living through.

I began to picture Jeremy’s family halfway around the world- smiling, dancing even! By the time I reached the studio the skeleton of the song was coming to life, with bass, guitar, and drums playing in my head. A few days later, when my brother Tim and I finished the chorus and the bridge I knew we had something special.

Someday, I hope to visit Iraq and see first-hand what my friend Jeremy is up to. Till then, I’m gonna think of him every time I sing this song. It’s just a song, but then again music can change the world, I know it’s changed mine. So let “Float” be a song of encouragement, to reach higher far above the patterns of this world. I’d like to dedicate this song not just to Jeremy, but to all the freedom fighters out there. To the doctors, the dreamers, the champions of community, the hopeful, the discouraged, let this be a song that reminds you to stay on course. Don’t slow down! Stay unique! Don’t give up! Resist the urge to become cynical and apathetic! Keep on loving, keep on hoping, and stay faithful to the purpose for which you were created.

Away from the crowd’s where you realize
The herd’s insecure of the free mind
So don’t let them tell you what to feel like
You can’t bring me down, can’t bring me down
It’s how we float


Categories: Journal

  • Helen

    I was wondering how the song connected with Pre-emptive Love – thank you! It’s such a light song in many ways but I can feel there’s depth running underneath. This gives it a bit more context.
    Also – the song is serious fun! I absolutely love it, you did such a great job 🙂

  • Jeremiah Knol

    I love this song so much! It speaks to my soul!
    I am curious about the unusual time signature of 7/4 (which I LOVE!). Did you decide from the beginning, “Hey, let’s do something crazy!” or did it just come together that way?

    • Helen

      Unusual time signatures are one of many things that make me such a massive fan of Jon’s 🙂

  • Andy

    Love this song! One of my favorites on the album. Every time I hear it it makes me feel like dancing and brings a smile to my face. To hear the story behind it makes it even better!

  • Paige Croft Leger

    Rise above the pain. Rise above the violence and misery. Rise above the weight of the cares of this world. And soar! Hope floats. Faith floats. Floating above the world systems allows a broader perspective, a Kingdom worldview, if you will. Brings a fresh revelation of who God is and who we were designed to be- created in His image. Love floats above all, and even pushes back against the rising principalities and dominions of this world. It’s what Jesus died for, to allow us to float in freedom, in Spirit and truth. Experiencing “Holy Water” allows us to “Float”, yeah.

  • Dee Jordan

    Reminds me of my trip to India with College! I have such a HUGE heart for missions- i hope to start my own ministry and attend Faith International Bible College in Maine. ~Always stay Humble, Float on into your Dreams~

  • ovationeddie

    Hands down my favorite song on the album, and totally love the unique bass line. But the message behind it….wow, thanks for making a great song even greater to listen to now that I know the story behind the lyrics. God bless you guys!

  • Dale Sampson

    Wow! I’m speechless with tears welling up….
    Thank you so much Jon and all you guys in Switchfoot for what you do.
    Thankful for wonderful people like Jeremy too!
    This album has become my anthem as I am coming out of the hardest and most painful few years of my life.
    It’s how I’ll float…..

  • Adrian Petrice

    our kids favourite on the latest album 🙂

  • Monica

    Love Love this song! So glad Switchfoot posted the story about jeremy – now I can pray for him!
    This song is Rockin’, and hopeful and FUN! JOY abounds! we just have to tap into it!


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