…So the winner of last week’s contest is @littlemscrystal! You can pick up your brand new SHANE & SHANE CD at 2nd Service this Sunday! Onto the review of the week!
Switchfoot. What can I say? Arguably the most popular alt-rock Christian band on the scene today. Although they do not like the label “Christian Band”, their lyrics nonetheless shows how much their faith affects their music. I think part of the allure of this “mainstream crossover” band is that they are able to authentically and relevantly communicate issues such as: depravity, a need of a Savior, and the call to live presently and not just for the future, etc. Of course their frontman, Jon Foreman, is a big reason behind the creative lyricism in their songs. And musically?
… they simply ROCK!!!
Winners of their first Grammy Award last year for “Hello Hurricane”, they proclaimed that this year’s “Vice Verses” album would be a release of many great songs that didn’t make the “Hurricane” album. With that being said, I’m sure most of us were hoping this wouldn’t be some cheesy B-Sides album that they would drop for hardcore fans. Well, I’m here to say, we hoped RIGHT!
Starting with the first Single, “Dark Horses”, we are immediately treated to a wall of sonic GREATNESS in soaring guitar riffs and arena-rock drums. The song, written to raise awareness of homeless youth in San Diego, calls them to get off the streets even though they’re the “Dark Horses”. When I first heard this lead single played before the album came out, it smacked me in the ear drum and left me wanting more!
So now as the album has come out, there is definitely MUCH to look forward to. The first track “Afterlife” reminisces vintage Switchfoot: (“and I wonder, ‘Why would I wait ’til I die to come alive?’ I’m ready now, I’m not waiting for the afterlife.“) A great song to challenge us Christians come alive in Christ NOW versus waiting for some kind of falsely understood eternal afterlife. ”The Original” has musical traces of “Hello Hurricane” on it. The energetic pace of the song makes it a great driving song, while the lyrics calls for us to find our own personal uniqueness in the world vs. being trapped as a “copy” of someone else.
There’s also some introspective slower songs such as “Souvenirs”, “Restless” and the title track “Vice Verses”, (“You got your babies, I got my hearses, every blessing comes with a set of curses. I got my vices, I got my vice verses“). With all the natural disasters, diseases and death going on in the world, this quiet and epic song expresses the conflicted inner struggle that we all have had, in that even though, as Christians, we know there’s a reason for it all, we just want God to comfort and be with us in some tangible way.
Although there is much that shines on the album, not every track is created equal. I loved many old Switchfoot songs that had catchy tongue-in-cheek references in “Gone” or “Company Car”, but “Selling The News” is the track I usually skip on the album because I can’t keep listening to the spoken word parts of the song! Sorry!
Conclusion: This album was totally worth it. Switchfoot/Jon Foreman fans will not be disappointed. It’s not their BEST album, but it is definitely a great anthemic rock album that challenges its listeners to live for something more and sing your own “Vice Verses”.