aims to offer the most compelling biblically-based content to Christians on their walk with Jesus. is your online destination for all areas of Christian Living – faith, family, fun, and community. Each category is further divided into areas important to you and your Christian faith including Bible study, daily devotions, marriage, parenting, movie reviews, music, news, and more.

Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

The Early Years: 1997-2000

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Nov
The Early Years: 1997-2000
Sounds like … Switchfoot's trademark San Diego rock, with hints of surf pop, pop/rock, power pop, alternative rock, acoustic balladry, and everything in betweenAt a glance … despite being a clear effort to capitalize on Switchfoot's skyrocketing popularity, The Early Years is still a fine look at the band's impressive beginningsTrack ListingsThe Legend of ChinBombChem 6AUnderwaterEdge of My SeatHomeMight Have Ben HurConcrete GirlLife and Love and WhyYouOde to ChinDon't Be There>New Way to Be HumanNew Way to Be HumanIncompleteSooner or Later (Soren's Song)Company CarLet That Be EnoughSomething More (Augustine's Confession)Only HopeAmy's SongI Turn Everything OverUnder the FloorLearning to BreatheI Dare You to MoveLearning to BreatheYou Already Take Me ThereLove is the MovementPoparazziInnocence AgainPlaying for KeepsThe LoserThe Economy of MercyErosionLiving is Simple

No, The Beautiful Letdown isn't Switchfoot's debut. Columbia Records may want you to think otherwise, but the band's career began in 1997 when they were the flagship artists for Charlie Peacock's indie label re:think. Switchfoot released three re:think CDs—Legend of Chin, New Way to Be Human, and Learning to Breathe—all of which garnered positive press and helped cement them as a young band on the verge of a breakthrough. But since most people don't know that, EMI went to its vaults to compile The Early Years, a three-in-one deal meant to bring Switchfoot newbies up to date.

A sonic novelty from the get-go, the band always had problems staying stylistically put, flirting with everything from garage rock and power pop to acoustic and experimental pop/rock. It's refreshing to hear the band's evolution from the youthful yet lyrically sophisticated Chin to the slicked-up, quirky ways of New Way to Be Human, a progression that culminates in the rough-around-the-edges yet complex Learning to Breathe.

In light of the critical and nostalgic value of these recordings, it's unfortunate that this "boxed set" has very little going for it in terms of design or liner notes. Serious collectors and newer fans will be rather surprised at the simplistic packaging, which consists of the three discs bundled in a double-album case, with the booklets for the respective discs cheaply stacked on top of each other in a single tray. A collection of this caliber would've looked better if the albums had been presented in their original form, perhaps packaged in a hard paperboard sleeve. Additionally, the albums weren't remastered, which means that equalization and volume levels are bound to be different from disc to disc.

But as it stands, this collection is still a fine retrospective, one that chronicles the initial stages of a group at their most unassuming. Most would disagree, but post-Letdown Switchfoot is just as exciting as their Early Years.