currently: listening to 'Where the Light Shines Through' album.
To celebrate the 10 Switchfoot albums I've accumulated over the 10 years (and in light of their 'Where the Light Shines Through' album which was released in July) I've shared the favourites and highlight songs from each major Switchfoot album (not counting EPs or special releases). To pick one song from each album was difficult, across so many times and journeys, recounting the way songs spoke to me all through my adolescence and adult years. It was a tough choice, but it starts at the beginning with their 1997 album - when they were barely adults...
Back when Switchfoot was only a three piece, Jon's voice was still a bit teenage fresh, and grunge was the vibe, You was a poem of few words. However, the few words are all that's needed to say a thousand feelings. It's not in ourselves - it's in those around us, it's in God, and it's in those that influence our life. Plus, let's not forget that touch of violin in that background.
Switchfoot has always been described as "rock for thinking people." And this song, inspired by Danish philosopher Soren Kirkegaard, is one of my real favourite thinking songs. The song's lyrics tell a similar story of Soren's challenge to the Christian church about the real nature of faith and belief, and the serious responsibility we have in a relationship with God. But there are a million meanings behind this song that you could pull out. The "Sooner or Later" attitude towards life, towards removing ignorance, towards a passive existence... It's deep stuff. Listen to the Elektra Soundtrack version of this song for a more mature, rougher vocal from Jon Foreman, which I think is actually better than the original.
There's something innocent and pure about this song which has always resonated with me. Whether it's the simplicity of the acoustic guitar, the 'just barely' raspy tone of Jon's voice, or even the essence of the phrase "learning to breathe" as if we were becoming new beings. There's so much romance in the bridge too; this is the way I say I need you, this is the way I say I'm yours." Gets me every time.
When you search for Switchfoot's biggest songs, this track is bound to be one of the first results. It's one of Switchfoot's biggest hits of all time and been covered by many American Idol hopeful and Jonas Brother. But there's a reason this song always did so well, and it's in the lyrics. "Welcome to the fallout, welcome to resistance, everything's here" - it's everything that post-grunge emo-rock child wanted to hear, but done inspirationally. Along with Meant To Live, I feel this was why those two tracks became the most successful commercially. By the way, there are two versions of this music video - but this one is my favourite.
This song remains one of my favourites with the amazing music video, that gritty guitar intro, and that guitar riff. Pair that up with insightful lyrics, and it's honestly all I ever want in a good rock song. Plain and simple, I love it. (But this entire album is amazing.)
I love this song for every upbeat it has despite the struggle the lyrics talk about. Living for deadlines with a deadbeat sky, only to remember where dreams are to awake again. And their music video gave a throw to the ever-so-popular Guitar Hero of those days. Oh, the memories of the late 2000s.
A refreshing change from Switchfoot's guitar driven melodies, 'Always' is a piano driven, grand rock band symphony with a whisper of violins comes with one simple message - "I'm always yours". I tend to draw and connect with songs of hope within desperation, and while it starts with innocence and ends in destruction, it's the sense that love rebirthed is the strongest feeling of all.
If 'Always' is the symphony, 'Where I Belong' is the anthem. The almost 7-minute track holds tight to a consistent drum, is comforted by an electric guitar, and is carried by Jon's flawless vocals in the best lyrical piece he's probably ever written so far. And that end chant is one of the most empowering Switchfoot climaxes of anything in their massive collection. Strangely it is considered the song that will play at many Switchfoot fans' funerals - but let's be honest, if you're gonna get sent off in a spectacularly epic finale, this song is it.
If I had to pick a song to sing at the top of my lungs in the middle of a sweaty, hot, jumping crowd, it is this song. And in fact, I did that exact thing when they came to Festival One in 2015 to perform this song. No matter how many times I play this song, it still always gets to me and makes my heart grow with happiness a thousand times over. You can't beat the many introductory 'Woah' shouts and that line "We are fire".
It's not Switchfoot's most inspirational song or their most emotional. In fact, it's very contradictory between lyrics and beat - which is probably why I'm really loving this song right now. The catchy tune sings about questioning a relationship that feels easier to lose than love, set to a happier melody. And it almost sounds like he would rather let the relationship go because of this inkling, but there's also that bit of hope that sticks with him. I've spent days trying to figure out the meaning -and the fact I can't pinpoint it just makes me listen to it more.