- reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2006 12 Dec
- Oh! Gravity
- American Dream
- Dirty Second Hands
- Amateur Lovers
- Faust, Midas and Myself
- Head over Heels (In This Life)
- Burn out Bright
- Let Your Love Be Strong
While I strongly believe that Switchfoot's previous effort, last year's
Unlike artists like that have opted for a more experimental sound after well-received debuts—Third Day, David Gray, and Jars of Clay come to mind—only to usually return to the vibe that caused all the buzz in the first place, Switchfoot has generally stuck with what works over the course of its career. And that's not a complaint, as Jon Foreman and his cohorts have served up a wide array of catchy, guitar-fueled power pop songs paired with a few exquisite, stripped-down selections. Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
But as the band proves on
Then with "Dirty Second Hands," the band's first single, things really get interesting. At first, I wasn't quite sure how I felt about the almost alt-country direction of the song (think Ryan Adams meets Alice in Chains), but it does seriously grow on you with time.
And while it would've been exciting to hear more
Yet despite the band's adventurous spirit from a musical standpoint, the lyrical side of the coin leaves a slight case of déjà vu. While I've always appreciated Foreman's thoughtful insights and tendency to ask more questions than provide listeners with candy-coated answers, the subject matter of
In terms of the band's mainstream platform, "American Dream" and "Amateur Lovers" have a wonderful counter-culture message that I'd much rather have people hearing on Top-40 radio than something like Nelly Furtado's "Promiscuous Girl" or Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack." But after a while, one begins to wonder how many different ways the band can essentially say the same thing? Right down to its name-checking of Lexus cars, "American Dream" shares a little too much in common with Christian radio favorite "Gone." Both of those songs clearly mirror the idea of "wanting more than this world's got to offer"—part of the chorus for the band's break-out crossover single "Meant to Live"—and even hearken back to the similarly themed "Dare You to Move."
That probably seems pretty picky in light of some of the less-than-exciting songwriting that's out there today. But I'd really love to see Switchfoot expand its repertoire a bit, maybe even get a little more introspective, or simply expand its thinking into a fresh direction. But even with that complaint aside, Switchfoot has proven once again why countless Christian acts want to emulate them: They do what they do