Switchfoot recently released their sixth album, Oh! Gravity, and it is arguably their best album to date. Considering they have already released three very successful albums, The Beautiful Letdown, Nothing is Sound, and Learning to Breathe, the fact Oh! Gravity rises above those successes is reflective of the band’s growth and confidence.
The band was able to expand their sound in Oh! Gravity. Many of the songs have a beat that crosses several genres of music. Switchfoot’s Oh! Gravity steps outside the alt-rock arena, and delivers an awesome sound in touch with the world at large.
Switchfoot is a word used in surfing that has to do with changing one’s stance. And that meaning is sort of the symbolic feel of Oh! Gravity. When listening to their latest music, you get a sense of change. But longtime fans can still be comforted with the knowledge that they are still riding the same board, even if they have taken a new stance with their sound.
If I am to be honest, the vocals of Switchfoot’s lead singer Jon Foreman have never wowed or wooed me. Instead, I am much more appreciative of they way he sings, than how he sounds. The passion Jon Foreman puts into his singing, the lyrics worth speaking, and the instrumentation of the band as a whole is what makes me want to sing along with Switchfoot. So if that is the criteria I use to judge Switchfoot, it seems I will be singing along to Oh! Gravity for years to come.
A few of the tracks have a different tone; one I don’t naturally associate with Switchfoot. For instance, on the track Yesterday, Jon Foreman seems to be channeling Coldplay or the like. Even the title of the song, Yesterday, sounds like a Coldplay song to me. But the sound works; much like most everything works for Switchfoot on Oh! Gravity.
From the first title track Oh! Gravity to the last track Dirty Second Hands (bootleg), whether singing about brotherly love or the effects of technology, Switchfoot’s Oh! Gravity maintains a sense of sincerity. Whether you want to ponder the politics of their lyrics or get lost in their sound is up to you, the listener, though. And that’s how it usually is with the albums worth buying.
With all this talk of passion, sincerity, and Coldplay, I would hate to leave you with the impression that Oh! Gravity is a mellow album. No worries, whatever may be mellow is subtle. Oh! Gravity still plays with the energy of classic Switchfoot.
If you want to test the waters before buying, download Oh! Gravity, Circles, Dirty Second Hands, and Awakening. A couple more dollars to burn? Go with Head over Heals (in this life) and American Dream. And if you like the Brit-Pop sound, whether you are a Swtichfoot fan or not, Yesterday is worth downloading.
Pleasure in the music.