Tuesday, September 14, 2004

the beautiful let down

I recently acquired a cd (of course pirated) of switchfoot and i truly believe that the album 'beautiful let down' is intelligently worded along the lines of Smashing Pumpkins.

I can describe it as a wholly satisfying album that establishes Switchfoot as one of Christian music's finest bands - their best album to date.

Lead singer and guitarist Jon Foreman continued to grow as a musician and songwriter with the release of Learning to Breathe in 2000, with drummer Chad Butler and Jon's brother Tim on bass aiding in the development of Switchfoot's sound.

Here's a band that has truly improved with every endeavor, earning Dove and Grammy nominations along the way. The fruits of their efforts most recently caught the attention of Columbia Records, who were impressed enough with Learning to Breathe to feature five of Switchfoot's songs on the soundtrack for the 2001 film A Walk to Remember, and eventually sign them to a contract for mainstream distribution.

Who would have expected a teenage garage band from California named after a surfing term to become one of the most thrilling and intelligent acts in Christian music? The ironies continue with Switchfoot's fourth recording, The Beautiful Letdown, which isn't a description of the final product.

As fine an album as Learning to Breathe was, it now sounds a little muddy compared to The Beautiful Letdown. Just compare the 2000 rendition of "Dare You to Move" with the new remake found on The Beautiful Letdown, and you'll hear the difference – the changes are subtle, but clearly an improvement. Of course, fans of solid guitar rock will latch onto the album as soon as they hear the powerful opening crunch of "Meant to Live," or the thick electronic effects of "This Is Your Life," the band's most anthemic rocker since "Dare You to Move." Jon's also improved as a vocalist and has never sounded more confident and passionate, allowing his throaty tenor to range from pop ballad singing to hard rocking yowls. Hardly a letdown – this band has never sounded better.

More ironic and meaningful still is the message expressed on The Beautiful Letdown. Switchfoot has been touring mainstream rock clubs in recent years to much success, going so far as to lead worship with audiences equally populated by Christians and non-Christians.

They are a remarkably effective seeker-friendly band, exemplified by the songs of this album. Jon begins The Beautiful Letdown by asking questions of the listener. "Meant to Live" is a somewhat self-explanatory song about finding meaning and purpose to life beyond the broken and hollow promises of the world.

The song order offers a wonderful expression of the spiritual walk fundamental to Christianity, and yet there are few overt references to Jesus in the lyrics. They're present, but worded in such a way to open doors to those who don't understand the Gospel.

thank you to Christian Music Today.

Grace Bible Church