Switchfoot began as Chin Up in 1996. By the time they released their debut album THE LEGEND OF CHIN the next year, they were known as Switchfoot. Their third album LEARNING TO BREATHE, which came out in 2000, was nominated for a Grammy for ‘Best Rock Gospel Album’. Four of the band’s songs were used in the 2002 Mandy Moore film ‘A Walk to Remember’. In 2005 Switchfoot released their fifth studio album, NOTHING IS SOUND (Sony BMG/Sparrow). Group members were: Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman, Chad Butler, Jerome Fontamillas, and Andrew Shirley. The album was produced by John Fields and the band. It reached #1 on the U.S. Top Christian Albums chart and #3 on the U.S. Billboard 200. The album was nominated for a Dove for ‘Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year’.
‘Lonely Nation’ is a catchy rock song about a gal coming apart: “She’s been breaking up inside, inside/Singing without tongues, screaming without lungs/I want more than my lonely nation (2X).../Lonely, lonely.../Don’t leave me hollow/I’m tired of feeling low, of feeling hollow”. ‘Stars’ was the album’s first single, peaking at #16 on the U.S. Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart. It won a Dove for ‘Short Form Music Video of the Year’. Andy Sturmer sings background vocals on this song nature lovers will dig: “I’ve been thinking about everyone/Everyone you look so lonely/But when I look at the stars I see someone else/When I look at the stars I feel like myself”.
Next up is ‘Happy is a Yuppie Word’. One online source defines a yuppie as “a young person with a well-paid job and a fashionable lifestyle”. This rock ballad exposes materialism: “I’m looking for a bridge I can’t burn down/I don’t believe the emptiness/I’m looking for the kingdom coming down/Everything is meaningless/I want more than simple cash can buy/Happy is a yuppie word/Nothing is sound!” ‘The Shadow Proves the Sunshine’ is Psalm-like: “Oh Lord, why did You forsake me?/Oh Lord, don’t be far away, away/Storm clouds gathering beside me/Please Lord don’t look the other way”.
‘Easier than Love’ is a pop/rock song about lust: “Sex is currency/She sells cars, she sells magazines/Addictive, bittersweet/Clap your hands with the hopeless nicotines.../She is easier than love, is easier than life/It’s easier to fake and smile and bribe.../Sex is industry, the CEO of corporate policy”. ‘The Blues’ is a ballad that includes these words that the prodigal son could have spoken: “I miss direction most in all this desperation/Is this what they call freedom?/Is this what you call pain?/Is this what they call discontented fame?”
‘The Setting Sun’ is a pleasant pop song about heaven: “My hope runs underneath it all/The day that I’ll be home/It won’t be long/I belong somewhere past this setting sun/Finally free, finally strong/Somewhere back where I belong.../Let the weak say I am strong and it won’t be long/Let the right say I was wrong and it won’t be long/Let us find where we belong, beyond this setting sun”. ‘Politicians’ is a pounding rock song with words still appropriate for today: “Everything is breaking down, breaking down/I pledge allegiance to a country without borders, without politicians/Watching for my sky to get torn apart”.
‘Golden’ is a terrific adult contemporary number boosting a gal’s self-esteem: “She’s been staring down the demons who’ve been screaming she’s just another so and so, another so and so/You are golden, you are golden child/You are golden, don’t let go/Don’t let go tonight.../The earth spins and the moon goes round/The green comes from the frozen ground/And everything will be made new again like freedom in spring!” ‘The Fatal Wound’ makes use of harmonica and includes these heavy words: “I am the crisis/I am the bitter end/I’m gonna gun this down/I am divided/I am the razor edge/There is no easy now/Son of sorrow, staring down forever with an aching view/Disenchanted, let’s go down together with the fatal wound”.
‘We Are One Tonight’ was the album’s second single. It was #8 on the Christian Hit Radio year end chart. Rachel Masen sings background vocals on this happy pop/rock song: “We are one tonight and we’re singing it out/We are one tonight and we’re dreaming out loud/Though the world is flawed these scars will heal.../I don’t want to lose the common ground with the whole world upside down”. The song’s about unity. Last up is ‘Daisy’ a sleepy ballad of surrender that turns into a rocker at the end. Chris Westlake and Tommy Barbarella play strings on this song about surrender: “Let it go, daisy let it go/Open up your fist/This fallen world doesn’t hold your interest/It doesn’t hold your soul/Daisy, let it go../He gives Himself away...”
NOTHING IS SOUND clocks in at 51 minutes and 6 seconds. Jon Foreman`s vocals are passionate. The emptiness of lust, greed, and materialism is explored here. Loneliness is a common theme. The album does however, offer hope and peace, cries for unity, and points to heaven with anticipation. This is a perfect modern rock album with doses of pop mixed in. Fans of Skillet and Thousand Foot Krutch should acquire this one. The lyrics here are deeper and more thought provoking in many cases than those two bands however. I`m rating NOTHING IS SOUND 100%. For more info visit: www.switchfoot.com.