Switchfoot: Hello Hurricane Review

Since 1997, Switchfoot has been making meaningful and inspiring music for their ever-increasing fan base. From their debut The Legend Of Chin to their eighth album Vice Verses, the band has displayed a knack for producing highly enjoyable songs with a positive and uplifting message behind them. Jon Foreman’s unique and recognizable vocals, characterized by an every-so-slight drawl, sets this band apart almost as much as the uncannily hopeful lyrics that dominate each track. Nearly every line of a Switchfoot song is quotable, especially during the love songs and ballads, which is where this Grammy-winning group is often at their most transcendent and poetic. In dealing with a band that has such an extensive history full of varying content, putting a label on the best of eight albums is no easy task. But without a doubt, that label belongs with Hello Hurricane. As incredulous as it may seem to long-time fans, Switchfoot’s seventh album surpasses the incredibly high standard of The Beautiful Letdown because of its unquestionably superior ballads and consistently stellar quality throughout its duration. Simply put, this is the peak of Switchfoot’s lyricism, showmanship and all-around inspirational value.

Standout Tracks

While it doesn’t live up to some of the band’s older rockers like “Meant To Live” or “Politicians,” “Mess Of Me” definitely exhibits Switchfoot’s talent and undeniable ability to rock out. The central guitar riffs immediately capture one’s attention and before erupting into a frenzy of wild drumming from Chad Butler and a flurry of electric guitars from Foreman, Jerome Fontamillas and Drew Shirley. This song won’t stand out as the album’s best, but Foreman’s wails mirroring the shrill whine of the guitar is a memorable moment, lending to the catchy and upbeat nature that makes for an enjoyable rock experience.

Switchfoot has an extensive song catalogue dating back 15 years, but one theme continues to be true: this band can do no wrong when it comes to making powerful, inspiring ballads. “Your Love Is A Song” is one of the finest love songs in Switchfoot’s history. Foreman’s unique vocals raise the track’s appeal as his fluctuations between reserved, soft singing and passionate wailing shows off his vocal range. The balance of acoustic and electric guitars evokes emotion as Foreman likens pure love to the beauty in music and melody. Foreman said he writes about things that he doesn’t understand, mainly, “God, girls, and everything else.” Many of Switchfoot’s love songs could fit in all three of these categories, but no matter the interpretation, there’s still something meaningful here.

“Always” deadlocks itself with “Your Love Is A Song” in a tie for the title of best ballad (and overall song) on the album.  Heart-wrenchingly beautiful piano characterizes this love song, enhanced only by Foreman’s soft and high-pitched vocals that grow into impassioned wailing by the end. This song captures the insatiable and eternal emotions of love (either for a loved one or God), clearly evident by the time the string instruments kick in.  The background vocals and steel guitar near the close lend even more emotion, climaxing with Foreman proclaiming “Hallelujah, I’m caving in / Hallelujah, I’m in love again / Hallelujah, I’m a wretched man / Hallelujah, every breath is a second chance.”  This song is simply beautiful and majestic, accurately displaying the emotional and spiritual firepower this band has in their ballads.

The Verdict

From the electric twang of the first guitar in “Needle And Haystack Life” to the dwindling lullaby notes of the touching closer “Red Eyes,” Switchfoot produced their crowning achievement with Hello Hurricane. The phenomenal 2003 masterpiece, The Beautiful Letdown, is still often regarded as the peak of this band’s discography, but Jon Foreman and company outdid themselves with their seventh album. Never has a collection of Switchfoot ballads been more prevalent and enjoyable, nor has Foreman’s eternal hope and faith ever shone clearer through inspiring songs and remarkably poignant lyrics. And although Hello Hurricane is largely dominated by its superb ballads, there is enough variety to give the album a high replay value. The battle drums and imposing, Western-influenced guitar of “Free” adds its own cool style while the deep and scratchy bass of Tim Foreman on “The Sound (John M. Perkins’ Blues)” quickly ignites into frantic energy that displays Switchfoot’s innate ability to cut loose and kick things up a notch with some fist-pumping rock (Foreman’s wailing screams during the chorus are particularly memorable). The album has a terrific flow but stays true to its overarching theme: the spiritual and emotional journey of before, during and after the symbolic storm. Fans of Relient K, Anberlin, Red, Thousand Foot Krutch, House Of Heroes, Fiction Family, Lifehouse and Needtobreathe will be able to relate to such a lyrically and emotionally breathtaking album that still manages to provide fun and high-quality rock music. Nearly every line is beautifully poetic in some way as Foreman reveals universal truths (“Yet” provides one example as the turning point of the song arrives with “If it doesn’t break your heart, it isn’t love”). This is a band that deserves your attention, not only because of their great level of musicianship, but because of the legacy of faith, hope and love they will leave behind in their songs when their time is done. And as Foreman declares in the album’s title track, “You can’t silence my love.”

Final Score: 9.8/10

Rank: 1st (eight total albums)

Track List

  1. Needle And Haystack Life
  2. Mess Of Me
  3. Your Love Is A Song
  4. The Sound (John M. Perkins’ Blues)
  5. Enough To Let Me Go
  6. Free
  7. Hello Hurricane
  8. Always
  9. Bullet Soul
  10. Yet
  11. Sing It Out
  12. Red Eyes

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  1. #1 by search for pdf on July 25, 2012 - 3:29 am

    I love it when people come together and share views. Great site, stick with it!

  2. #2 by black planet on July 29, 2012 - 9:08 pm

    I hardly comment, however i did some searching and wound up here Switchfoot: Hello Hurricane Review Diamond in the Rock. And I actually do have a couple of questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be only me or does it look like some of the comments come across like they are coming from brain dead individuals? 😛 And, if you are posting on other social sites, I’d like to follow everything new you have to post. Could you make a list of the complete urls of all your social sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

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