Switchfoot marks another new chapter in their career by delivering their seventh album, Hello Hurricane. The band has had a gradual change with their sound throughout their career. This album marks many new changes by leaving Columbia Records, having their first independent album release (although they did partner with Atlantic for the release), recording over 80 tracks, and choosing their favorite twelve tracks to include on the album.
Musically the band does few things wrong here. The album clearly shows that Switchfoot is a seasoned band, and theydemonstratethat quite clearly with their music proficiency. This album features a number of stadium-ready rockers filled with crunchy guitars, contrasted byheart-wrenching ballads that will havethe listenerwrapped up in the band’s beautiful message.
For any band the song writing is an important tool and drives the music further, giving it depth it could never have without words thrown in to fuse with the music. Jon Foreman once again writes a set of honest, deep, and at times incredibly breathtaking lyrics. This album is the most spiritually open the band has everbeen in a release before, and there are some great times of worship throughout the lyrics in this album. Jon Foreman is truly a gifted songwriter, and he has once again crafted some great songs. The themes range from the storms of life–including love, hope, failure, change–and a reflection ofa passionate, undying faith.
To spur on the great lyrics, Jon Foreman is also an exceptional vocalist. I actually wouldn’t say he has one of the most beautiful” voices out there but he has a very strong one. He knows how to effectively use his voice fills it with a lot of emotion and is a very passionate singer. For this reason I consider him one of the top vocalist in Christian music.
I originally did not intend on going through this review talking about each track so much but when writing this I found it very hard not to do that. This is mainly due to the fact that each song has numerous great aspects either a great lyric or an awesome musical piece that makes it hard not to mention each of those without talking about each track.
“Needle and Haystack Life” opens up the album as it pulses and soars musically and vocally. This song gets the album off on a good note. This track also has a killer line that always gets stuck in my head:
In this needle and haystack life/I found miracles there in your eyes/It’s no accident we’re here tonight/We are once in a lifetime
The smash lead single “Mess of Me” is raw and filled with energy. This is a true rocking anthem filled with amazing riffs a blistering guitar solo and an awesome lyrical message of the mess we have made of ourselves. Check out the chorus:
I made a mess of me I wanna get back the rest of me/I made a mess of me I wanna spend the rest of my life alive/I made a mess of me I wanna reverse this tragedy/I made a mess of me I wanna spend the rest of my life alive/The rest of my life alive
“Your Love Is A Song” is a beautiful and powerful ballad that is very worshipful in nature. There is a string arrangement that goes along great in this song especially with the outstanding chorus that will be stuck in your head for a while.
I’ve been keeping my eyes wide open/I’ve been keeping my eyes wide open/your love is a symphony/all around me/running through me/your love is a melody/underneath me/running to me/your love is a song
“The Sound” is another of those rocking anthems and a highlight of this album. There is a great combination of synths and heavy guitar riffs that give this songa true life of its own delivering a message of love loud and clear. This song also features another outstanding guitar solo helping to make it atrulybreathtaking track. “Enough To Let Me Go” is a great ballad with a simple yet effective guitar riff. It makes the track very catchy and drags you into it.This is an emotion-filled love track and is a perfect follow up to “The Sound.”
“Free” is my absolute favorite track on this album. A great rock riff drives this song butthe lyrics truly drive this song with the music pushingthemessageto extraordinary heights. This track talks about being bound to things of this life and the song is a declaration to our savior to save us from ourselves. Here are a few great lines from the song:
Free come set me free down on my knees/I still believe you can save me from me/Come set me free I still believe/Inside this shell there’s a prison cell
The title-track is another solid rock track that is a neat song that I would consider a battle cry to the troubles we face in life that they won’t silence or put us down. “Always” is a beautiful piano ballad that serves as another great worship track. “Bullet Soul” is another rocking track that shows that fun energetic side of Switchfoot. This song features another sweet guitar solo which is definitely a plus for me since I always love a great guitar solo–and it is awesome that there were three on this album.
“Yet ” “Sing It Out ” and “Red Eyes” are all laid-back ballads but each has something great aboutit and shouldn’t be overlooked. “Yet” especially shows a lot of passion from Jon with a simple drumbeat and the light touch of acoustic guitars backing this track. It is another great ballad and the conclusion of this song simply blows me away:
“If it doesn’t break your heart it isn’t love/and#8232;If it doesn’t break your heart it’s not enough/and#8232;It’s when you’re breaking down with your insides coming out/and#8232;That’s when you find out what your heart is made ofandhellip;”
For some reason the last two tracks don’t stand out to me as much as the rest of album. They definitely aren’t awful tracks since I actually enjoy each of them quite a bit but they didn’t strike the same chord with me as some of the others had. These tracks show that the band doesn’t always need a rocking tune to drive the songs because Jon Forman’s strong vocals do the trick. “Sing It Out” is a good example of this; at the beginning of the track Jon’s voice is the main focus. The song then springs to life at the close to wrap up the passionate track. “Red Eyes” is carried on by some nice guitar work and ends the album on a good note. It takes us back to the start by faintly playing the chorus of “Needleand Haystack Life” again to tie in the whole album nicely.
Through this album Switchfoot has released their most cohesive collection of songs yet and made something that is truly Switchfoot. I think this is a very strong album in Switchfoot’s already outstanding collection of work. Having been a fan for quite some time it is hard to say if it is their best album but there is no doubt it is a highlight of their career. Hello Hurricane is very easy to get into and is an album you will want to revisit over and over again. The album is almost a perfect representation of a hurricane. It unleashes the fury of a storm at times and then at other times it has that perfect calm that comes after the storm. I personally love the concept and that the album is filled with life and hope. It is perfect encouragement to deal with life’s struggles and is very uplifting. Now the trick is to see if the band can top this with Vice Verses which is due out sometime this summer. I for one will be waiting in great anticipation to find out.