Monday, October 31, 2011

An Album Review?

Okay, so I downloaded Switchfoot's latest album, Vice Verses, just for kicks. I have honestly tried to like Switchfoot several times in my life. I had three of their albums before downloading this one and when they came to LU last year, I thought they put on an amazing show. But they have never stuck with me. I thought that maybe this album would change that.


To me, Switchfoot is a band that makes good singles or has a few good tracks an album, but they have never composed an entire album that I could listen to and love through and through. Vice Verses is no exception to this. Let's go track by track.

  1. Afterlife - It's a decent opener. It has this revolutionary vibe to it, carpe diem or whatever, but it's way too similar to Switchfoot's earlier hit Meant to Live for me. I's essentially the same message. Still, it's a good song. It has an interesting rhythm to it and a nice sound.
  2. The Original - Sometimes I think Switchfoot forgets that they have made many, many albums. Sometimes I think that they really think their ideas are so fantastic that they need put out track after track about them. This song...I mean, who were they writing for? The fourteen year old girl in all of us? Be original. That's what this song says. OVER and OVER and OVER. I kept getting the distinct vision of a teen-dance-party montage during this song. Not cool.
  3. The War Inside - Musically, this song is pretty interesting. Again, however, the idea of personal/spiritual revolution is preached. This song really makes me wonder who Switchfoot's audience truly is. But more on that later. However, the line "We are the kids of the in-between" bothered me to no end. These are middle-aged men. And they are not profound enough to pull off transcendentalism like Emerson.
  4. Restless - The song is, again, a song of searching and or the re-invention of self. That's basically all that's on this album. Except this one is a ballad. Joy.
  5. Blinding Light - OH LOOK, it's a repeat of track four, but instead of a teenage girl, we've got a boy. Granted, this song is pretty fun musically. We've got a cool drumbeat and a nice bassline. I'm trying to figure out if Switchfoot would rather be a motivational speaking outfit. SO UPLIFTING.
  6. Selling the News - WHERE DO I BEGIN WITH THIS SONG? See, it's this kind of crap that really bothers me with Switchfoot. They ALWAYS have a track where they just decided to get on a soapbox and rant about the media. About how "truth" gets muddled in everyday life. It's so ridiculous. I can't deal with it. I actually get angry because where do they get off condemning the media? THEY ARE PART OF THE MEDIA. Look, I get it, I lived through American Idiot, I understand the whole rebellion thing. But all this song is saying is that the media is this ugly, lying entity, and that by being suspicious of everything (rather than just secular sources), we are becoming just as bad as the evil perpetuated in the media--that Switchfoot is somehow separated from. Probably the most disturbing verse of this song is the line "See, opinions are easier to swallow than facts/the greys instead of the whites and the blacks." Anyone who knows anything about Switchfoot knows that they are a semi-Christian band that construct their songs in such a way that they always have two meanings: a secular one and a Christian one. Knowing this, what that line says from a Christian standpoint is to only accept the "truth" and nothing else. However, it presumes that the "truth" has one true and consistent interpretation. This is completely untrue. This song is promoting a closed-minded perspective without compassion for those who come from a different viewpoint, which is holistically an very un-Christian stance. Christianity has always been perceived as a spirituality of compassion and understanding, and this song contradicts that in the very first verse.
  7. Thrive - Another lovely ballad about spiritual re-invention. Nothing new. I am beginning to wonder if Switchfoot as produced anything truly "new" since 2004.
  8. Dark Horses - At least this song is musically exciting. I wouldn't mind learning this on guitar. In fact, I actually like this song. Yeah, it's uplifting and about revolution and about spiritual re-invention, but it's presented in such a way that I don't want to punch anyone in the face. Good job.
  9. Souvenirs - This song is probably the best song on the album because it's not general. Switchfoot isn't trying to take this transcendentalist viewpoint on spiritual revolution. This is a personal song. It's real. It's about love and loss. A listener can relate to it on a very personal level, but it's still only the speaker's message. If Switchfoot could do this for a few more tracks, I might like them. But alas.
  10. Rise Above It - On the whole, aside from the energetic music, this song is entirely uninteresting. See tracks 1-5 and 7.
  11. Vice Verse - This is a song about being human. Such a new concept about for Switchfoot. Very Emersonian....lame.
  12. Where I Belong - This song is seven minutes long. I love the music, so I just ignore everything else. I mean, the message is fine...but it's basically a repeat of this entire album. Nothing remarkable.
I mean, it's not like I hate this album. I like a lot of the songs, but they shouldn't all be on the same album. They all say the same thing over and over. And it's boring. I am tired of hearing about spiritual awakening from Switchfoot. That's all they every talk about. And if I weren't a Christian, I have a hard time believing that I would find anything worthwhile in with this band. As it stands, I feel like I am being preached to. That's not cool. If I wanted that, I would listen to worship music. I mean, they aren't musically interesting or lyrically clever enough to get away with it like Relient K. Their lyrical concepts kind of sound like a broken record. I just wish they would branch out and stop trying to be uplifting, and just write music. Write songs they personally believe in, rather than promote general, transcendental Christian ideals. It's getting really old.


susan sews a lot said...

one for the portfolio?

Can't Jump For Joy said...

You think so? It's just a review...

Big V said...

i actually really liked their album.....

Can't Jump For Joy said...

But...why? It's fine, but it is altogether unremarkable.