Switchfoot album far from a letdown

Crystal Hohenthaner

Crystal Hohenthaner

Switchfoot, a Christian alternative band, has recently crossed over into the mainstream in a big way. Three songs off of their new album have been getting regular air-play across America.

This band has been around for quite some time, but even Switchfoot’s longtime fans have to admit that the band has come of age with its new album The Beautiful Letdown. Grittier and more mature than ever, Switchfoot has a new look, a fourth band member, a new secular label – and they are hard to miss.

The Beautiful Letdown encapsulates the attitude of a generation that cries, “We want more!” Throughout the album the band effectively explores the spiritual implications and questions of this cry, and does so in a refreshingly positive way.

The CD starts off with a bang and hits this theme hard in the first few songs.

The first track “Meant to Live” validates the idea that people deserve more than this world has to offer and suggests that humans have simply lost who they are. The song suggests, “Maybe we’ve been livin’ with our eyes half open, maybe we are bent and broken.”

Switchfoot doesn’t let up with the second track either, boldly commanding, “Don’t close your eyes,” and then asking, “This is your life, are you who you want to be?…This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be…”

“Dare you to Move,” track five, is a re-release that was on their 2000 album Learning to Breathe, and was the reason I bought the CD. If you like The Beautiful Letdown, I recommend Learning to Breathe because it is in the same vein, but be ready – it is a bit more mellow.

Switchfoot’s music, although very good, plays second fiddle to the themes and the lyrics of the songs. This is understandable because their primary songwriter is their lead singer.

The band’s sound is a bit more sanitary than the average alternative-rock band, but it fits well into what is going on in mainstream pop today. Jon Foreman, the band’s lead vocalist, has a very distinctive voice, which is an important attribute for a band in the current market which will make Switchfoot highly recognizable on the radio until their faces become just as recognizable.

I hope we’ll get to hear more from Switchfoot, on Christian and mainstream radio.

The only low-point in the album is the Christian pop megahit “Gone.” I am tired of hearing this song and the chorus grated at me from the beginning.

Final grade A-