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Switchfoot - Vice Verses Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 9.5
Production 9.75
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 9
Reviewer Tilt 9.5
Final Verdict: 91%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.5
Musicianship 9.25
Lyrics 9.75
Production 9.75
Creativity 9.38
Lasting Value 9.38
Reviewer Tilt 9.75
Average: 95%
Inside AP.net

Switchfoot - Vice Verses

Reviewed by: bmt !!! (10/10/11)
Switchfoot - Vice Verses
Record Label: Atlantic Records
Release Date: September 17, 2011


Growing up a baptist in the South does not leave you many music choices outside Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman. Bands like Jars of Clay, Mae, and Relient K allowed for a few escapes, but no band quite like Switchfoot fit the version of Rock & Roll I could feed my mind. Ever since the opening lines of “Chem 6A,” I have been a devoted fan. They have returned with their 8th record and this might be their purest form of Rock & Roll yet.

The record ignites the energy right away with “Afterlife.” Jon Foreman (the lead singer and writer) continues lyrical themes that have traced most of his records and the song hearkens back to “Meant to Live” from The Beautiful Letdown. “The Original” continues the guitar-centric music and while not a song that stays with the listener at first, it fits perfectly in the tracking and leads well into the third song. “The War Inside” is a powerful musical twist on typical Switchfoot themes and even references Citizen Cope (debatable if it is meant, but I never thought I would state that band in a Switchfoot review). This song begins to show the strong production value of this entire record that reappears in songs like “Selling News” and “Where I Belong.” The producer is none other than Neal Avron, who has had his hands on some tremendous records, none more so for me than Days Away's Mapping an Invisible World.

My dad has grown into a devout Christian, though back in the day I know he used to rock out to Pink Floyd and The Beatles. I sent him “Restless” to try to pique his interest and maybe remind him what rock music is all about. That said, “Restless” slows the record down a bit but ratchets up the lump in your throat. “Blinding Light” has become one of my favorites and continues the solid tracking. “Selling News” throws some spoken word, a la early The Hold Steady and mewithoutYou that works and “Thrive” will become a fan favorite ballad in no time.

That brings us to “Dark Horses.” This year has seen some long-time band favorites releasing new records and some of my favorite singles (like “You Are a Tourist” and “Simple Math”) – and Switchfoot is no exception. This song will take the sports arena world by storm (I hope) and it is a powerful rocker written in honor of the homeless youth in San Diego. After such a strong song, “Souvenirs” follows it perfectly with a blend of nostalgia and sweetness. When you have been a band this long with long-term fans, you can write a song like this that reminds us of the days of no responsibility and taking that first drive in our first car. “Rise Above It” works better than the second song on the album and leads into a powerful one-two knockout finish.

The title track strips Switchfoot down to just an acoustic guitar and minor piano to give Foreman full access to your ears. This song is beautifully done, perfectly produced, and allows the listener to begin to process the journey so far. And then enters the finale. The first time I heard “24” I was on my high school senior trip, laying in our hotel room in Philly. I put my iPod on repeat and gently fell asleep, forever imprinting that song in my mind. Now I have “Where I Belong” to place beside it. “The Rising Tide” for many fans represented a sad conclusion to Sunny Day Real Estate, but that song was the perfect closure. If Switchfoot would happen to quit tomorrow, “Where I Belong” wraps up everything they represent as a band. The song emits importance and brings the listener this sense of immense intrinsic value. It closes reminiscent of “The Minstrel’s Prayer” by Cartel and leaves you quiet, introspective, yet with an unmistakable joy.

In this time of fiery politicizing of social issues, religious extreme and divide, and lost loved ones daily, a band like Switchfoot stands out all the more. As music listeners, we usually gloss over a Christian band in the mainstream. But it speaks wonders to this band that after so long the line-up has only changed to add members and never subtract. Some of the most amazing people I have ever met belong in bands like The Rocket Summer and Sleeping at Last with a strong Christian message. If our generation is going to overcome the noise we are hearing right now, it will be because of the inclusive spirit music like this represents. This is the world where I would like to belong.

Recommended If You Likebands mentioned above; fall picnic underneath the changing trees


myspace.com/switchfoot
 
Displaying posts 1 - 8 of 8.
07:17 AM on 10/15/11
#2
DarkBlue13
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Wow this was a wonderful review. Loved the album as well, probably Switchfoot's best.
07:24 AM on 10/15/11
#3
Spencer Control
Now we are all sons of bitches
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Good review. Very excited to listen to this.

(Side critique: nothing big, but the bold band names did distract a little.)
08:41 AM on 10/15/11
#4
OurLadyCoolbean
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Good review, but I absolutely disagree with you about "Blinding Light". That is one of the worst songs Switchfoot has ever written.
There is something about this record I can't put my finger on... I like most of the songs but it just hasn't had the same impact on me the way other Switchfoot albums have.
09:31 AM on 10/16/11
#5
bmt !!!
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Good review. Very excited to listen to this.

(Side critique: nothing big, but the bold band names did distract a little.)
Thanks for reading and the critique. I was going back and forth on that and I appreciate the perspective.
09:35 AM on 10/16/11
#6
bmt !!!
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Good review, but I absolutely disagree with you about "Blinding Light". That is one of the worst songs Switchfoot has ever written.
There is something about this record I can't put my finger on... I like most of the songs but it just hasn't had the same impact on me the way other Switchfoot albums have.
Music is inevitably personal. With the current discourse and economic realities, this song resonating with me. I remember taking a full year and a family tragedy before I latched onto The Dangerous Summer's Reach for the Sun. Sometimes it is enough to just know it exists and then the time comes to connect. Thanks for reading and sharing!
10:34 AM on 10/16/11
#7
Spencer Control
Now we are all sons of bitches
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Thanks for reading and the critique. I was going back and forth on that and I appreciate the perspective.
It would have worked alright with fewer bands referenced, but you made some good comparisons, so overall I'd rather be a little distracted than lack the comparisons you offered.
07:56 PM on 10/16/11
#8
OurLadyCoolbean
False. Black bears.
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Music is inevitably personal. With the current discourse and economic realities, this song resonating with me. I remember taking a full year and a family tragedy before I latched onto The Dangerous Summer's Reach for the Sun. Sometimes it is enough to just know it exists and then the time comes to connect. Thanks for reading and sharing!
Yeah it's funny because while I like Reach for the Sun I haven't had the personal connection with it like others did. With War Paint the connection was immediate and every single track has something to say to me personally. It's probably my AOTY.
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