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July 25, 2016 — The Observer

Switchfoot Through The Years (An Album By Album Top Ten List)

20 years and 10 albums… still so good.

by Daniel Leffingwell

The San Diego based rock group, Switchfoot, has just come out with their 10th album. Throughout the many years I have been listening to them, I have been able to fall in love with their music all over again every time I listen to a song.

To celebrate their 10th album, I will give my favorite Switchfoot song off of each album (including the new one).

1. “Chem 6A” from The Legend of ChinLegend Of Chin album art

To me this is the teenage anthem. The fun guitar riffs and the punchy bass, mixed with the bouncy drumming, add to the fun lyrics of the chorus that every teen relates to, “Because I don’t wanna be here / I don’t wanna see this now / It’s all wrong but it’s alright.” It is the light, but bright, beginnings of this Grammy-winning band.

2. “Something More” from New Way To Be Human

New Way to Be Human album art

This song is fun—it starts out with a gentle intro, then is thrown into a heavier, more distorted sound than we have heard from Switchfoot thus far. The lyrics of this song also allude to a later chart-topping song of theirs, “Meant to Live.” The lyrics say, “There’s got to be something more / Than what I’m living for / I’m crying out to You.”

3. “Learning to Breathe” from Learning to Breathe

Learning to Breathe Album art

The title track from this album takes the cake. The fun acoustic guitar riffs with a new drum sound make this song easy and fun to listen to musically. In addition to that, if one listens to the lyrics, it is big about learning to trust God, our Father and savior. “I’m learning to crawl / I’m finding that You and You alone can break my fall / I’m living again, awake and alive.”

4. “Meant to Live” from The Beautiful Letdown

The Beautiful Letdown Album art

Just on merit of the popularity of this song, it has to be on this list. The heavy guitars and the new aspect of Jon screaming, give this some something special. It is a great song to rock out to, as well as reflect on. That’s tough, but with lyrics like, “We were meant to live for so much more / Have we lost ourselves?” and, “Maybe we’ve been livin’ with our eyes half open / Maybe we’re bent and broken, broken,” it’s hard to not reflect on oneself.

5. “We Are One Tonight” from Nothing is Sound

Nothing is Sound Album Art

The second-to-last track on this album has been one of my favorite Switchfoot songs ever since I first heard it. The fun pop-rock sound with a guitar focus—thanks to new band member Drew Shirley—is captivating and catchy. The lyrics, “Though the world is flawed / These scars will heal / We are one, tonight!” shows that although we have our differences in this broken world, we can come together as one.

6. “Yesterday” from Oh! Gravity.

Oh! Gravity. Album art

This song is a beautiful tribute to a passed friend. Smooth bass and gentle guitar go perfectly together with a subtle version of Chad’s drumming. The highlight lyrics from this song come from the chorus, “I remember you like yesterday, yesterday / I still can’t believe you’re gone, oh… / I remember you like yesterday, yesterday / And until I’m with you, I’ll carry on.” Foreman is singing about something that everyone can relate to—pain and death—but he writes from a point of acceptance and hope, rather than anger and hurt.

7. “Your Love is a Song” from Hello Hurricane

Hello Hurricane Album art

“Your love is a symphony / All around me / Running through me / Your love is a melody / Underneath me / Running to me / Oh, your love is a song / Your love is a song / Oh, your love is a song / Your love is strong.” The lyrics are incredible, talking about the amazing love he feels that envelops him. For me and a lot of others, that love is from Christ. However, this poetry isn’t just what makes the song great. The pulsing guitars that underlay the chorus, and the awesome lead work attributed to Drew, add so much to make this song stand out on this Grammy-winning album.

8. “Where I Belong” from Vice Verses

Vice Verses Album art

This final track isn’t a song, it is an anthem—an anthem for everyone who feels like they are living for the other side, when they can meet the God of all and finally be home. The amazing, powerful vocals of Jon pierce through the music and stand out over the entire album. “This / body’s not my own / This world is not my own / But I still can hear the sound / Of my heart beating out / So let’s go boys, play it loud / On the final day I die / I want to hold my head up high / I want to tell You that I tried / To live it like a song / And when I reach the other side / I want to look You in the eye / And know that I’ve arrived / In a world where I belong.” I have no words to do this song justice.

9. “When We Come Alive” from Fading West

Fading West Album art

This album brought out a new style for Switchfoot: a pop-based album with liberal use of effects. It also brought out some awesome lyrics, “Yesterday reads like a tragedy / I try not to lose what’s left of me / But it’s gone / Yeah, but we carry on.” Throughout this song, Jon is talking about the beauty of when, we as people, carry on, come alive and come together.

10. “I Won’t Let You Go” from Where the Light Shines Through

Where the Light Shines Through Album art

The much awaited 10th album did not disappoint. Jon reached deep for every single word he sings, and the same goes for the rest of the band. The music is fun, meaningful, moving, rocking—and then some. There is such passion in these songs, especially this fourth track. It is a song from God to us, saying that no matter what, He won’t let us go—all we need to do take Him as our own. The highlight lyrics are, “If you could let the pain of the past go / Of your soul / None of this is in your control / If you could only let your guard down / If you could learn to trust me somehow / I swear, that I won’t let you go / If you could only let go your doubts / If you could just believe in me now / I swear, that I won’t let you go.” Chills. The first time I heard it I cried. It made realize that we all need to let things go and submit to God’s unfailing love.

With 20 years and 10 albums together, Switchfoot has developed their sound, while continuing to stay true to themselves. I am excited to see what the future holds for this unique band.

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/switchfoot-through-the-years

Categories: Friends of the Foot, Journal

  • John Trenter

    I am so blessed to be married to a beautiful woman who I proposed to at a Switchfoot/Need to Breathe concert in MPLS. i asked here while Switchfoot was singing their great song “Your Love is a Song.” That love for both of us is ultimately from Jesus and I also love “I Won’t Let you Down” which I also consider the best song on the new CD. Bless all you, I pray almost daily you would all see Jesus in all that SF does and sings. I remember working in sales and promoting SF years ago and one person asked who they are, her co-worker said, “they are Jesus freaks.” And they are in a uiquely creative way. keep your eyes and ears open, all of ya!

    • Dee Jordan

      Wow how BEAUTIFUL!!! congratulations!!! My fiance and I just saw Switchfoot at his first Soulfest Concert last night! The first song he ever played for me on guitar was Dare You to Move! We grooved to the holy spirit and felt the love of community all around us! May God continue to bless and prosper your marriage!

  • Jude Tolson

    When i was in early adolescence I was severely bullied – constantly being threatened with either being stabbed and/or beaten up. In my mid teens, i was was attacked & molested, & was possible that if i hadnt escaped i would have been raped. TRULY Trusting men & my own self-confidence, since then, has therefore ALWAYS been a bit of a problem. There has been a few things that have helped me to forgive and to try to do this. Gods love, music, & true faithful friends.

    I DO try, if i can, to show love, kindness to others, to help boost others self-confidence, as i know there are other people out there who suffer from depression, self-doubt, lack of self-confidence etc. You NEVER know what people are dealing with! & I want to try to positively make a difference in at least ONE persons life! – As i think & know that “True Beauty Can Be Found Anywhere”! – Even in the midst of darkness & pain!!

  • Priscila Erlich

    I identified myself with this text above, because the first time I heard ‘I won’t let you go’ I cried a lot. Anyway, each song of this new album is special. However this one “I
    Won’t Let You Go” came at the right time in my life, because me and my family are facing difficult times and this song has inspired us to have faith, to trust in God’s unfailing love because he will never leave us. Switchfoot Thank you!!! Thank you very much Jon Foreman, your life has brought hope to us. I believe that someday I will have the opportunity to hear you playing live ‘ I won’t Let You Go ‘, I really hope so. God bless you!

  • Dee Jordan

    We were indeed ONE last Night at Soulfest 2016 Love in Action!!! We illuminated Gunstock Mountain with the light of love that burst through our wounds that we allowed to blossom into beauty at the cross with support and love of strangers turned family!

  • Ian findlay

    saw Switchfoot last night at Praisefest in Vancouver Canada (they were the headliners). My son and I are big fans but had never seen them live, so I had bought two tickets as part of his grad present. Throughout the day there were several announcements that the band was having issues with getting to Vancouver from Colorado (turns out that was a massive understatement!). We were getting worried that they wouldn’t be able to make it in time, but thankfully they finally hit the stage at 10pm. What a great show! Played a number of songs from the first album, plus a bunch of their classics. “Love Alone Is Worth The Fight” was magical, with the audience singing the background vocal part! The whole day was fun ( the other bands were great) but for us Switchfoot was the draw and it was great to see them live. I rarely go on band websites, but I was so impressed by the bands perseverance and professionalism (and their enthusiasm) that I actually looked this one up and joined, just to give a big shout out to the band for making the day special!

  • Dan Leffingwell

    Wow! This is my article! I didn’t even know that people read it! I have so much more to say about all these songs. Choosing just one from each album was so very difficult. Thank you Switchfoot for your music. I can’t wait to see you in concert tomorrow night!

  • Esteban

    Here is my story …

    It was July of 2008 when my daughter returned home from summer camp. She was so excited to share her experience with us and she popped in the CD with a slideshow of pictures to the music of a band I had never heard of called Switchfoot. The song was titled “This is Your Life.”

    A Saturday like every other Saturday for me, I was high on cocaine and had been offsetting the “AMP” with alcohol. As I watched the pictures flash by and as the song rushed through me, exposing a vast empty hole in my soul, I began to cry, silently then streams pouring down my face. It was in this moment I knew I was not the person I wanted to be and my life, while successful by the worlds standards (Lived in a big house in Newport Beach, drove nice cars, kids went to private schools, married to a beautiful woman) I was NOT the person I wanted to be and my life was nothing like I had ever dreamed it would be! Things had to change. But How?

    Six months passed and the pain and agony of addiction continued until January 25 of 2009 and I finally hit my bottom and the Grace of God allowed my to surrender and stop fighting everyone and everything. That chapter closed and a new season began.

    Six more months of intense work on sobriety and I was invited to a Dave Mathews concert at Verizon Amphitheater in Irvine CA. I was not that excited about the concert until I saw that the opening band was Switchfoot and I took this as a sign from God that it was time for me to re-engage in the world and I was excited.

    We got to the concert early and my friends had gone all out and bought box seats mid-level center stage, half way up at the venue. Switchfoot began to play and introduced some songs from Hello Hurricane and then as Jon began to sing the final song, This is Your Life, he came down from the stage and snaked his way through the audience and worked his way through the very large amphitheater. To my awe, he ended up right in our box and gave me a look like hold my hand so I can stand on the rail. Without a hesitation, I held his hand while he sang the song that God sent to pull me out of my horrible addiction. I stood there and held the hand of the man God used to speak to me and change my life forever. That song and those events changed my life forever and changed the lives of everyone I come in contact with forever. There was NOTHING ACCIDENTAL or COINCIDENTAL about this event.

    As if to send a physical manifestation to reach down and hold my hand and say’ “Steve, stay the path, and when you need me, really need me, I will send someone into your life to hold your hand or talk to you or even carry you if necessary.” It also taught me that I need to be there and willing to be used by God as His arms and legs and His voice with others.

    I am so grateful to God for knowing exactly when I need Him to show up in a physical manifestation and when all I need is the “perfect wave”, the whisper of the wind, the chirping of a bird or a song on the radio.

    Thank you Switchfoot for being the voice of God in my life at the right time. And thank you Jon Foreman for being the hand of God when I needed the reassurance that God was with me and as I walk the road to recovery.

    I hope to meet the band on Wednesday night in Anaheim … 8 years to the day, the anniversary of my sobriety!!! Coincidence … I think NOT!

    Steve C.

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