Monday, January 16, 2012

Album Review: "Vice Verses" by Switchfoot

Release Date: September 27, 2011
Genre: Rock
Rating: 5/5 Stars

Switchfoot is one of the best known Christian-originated bands of the present day. With the successful release of Hello Hurricane in 2009, there were many high expectations for Vice Verses. For those of you who were hoping for another solid release from Switchfoot, you got your wish!

The album opens with the grunge-rock, electric guitar-driven song  "Afterlife" which talks about making a change right now instead of waiting until later to do so. "And I wonder why/ would I wait till I die to come alive? I'm ready now/ I'm not waiting for the afterlife." The strong rock feel makes this song a great opener to the album! "The Original" again features many electric guitar sounds as
lead singer-guitarist Jon Foreman encourages the listener to not just blend into the crowd but to "free yourself." The guitar-driven music style carries on to "The War Inside" which features a feeling of a battle while Jon sings "I am the war inside/ I am the battle line/ I am the rising tide/ I am the war I fight."

"Restless" finally balances the rhythm of the album as it largely slows down the speed and has a very serious tone. The band sings of restlessly searching for something great that is not specified, but by the lyrics and history of the band, you know that they are talking about God. With a much more alternative sound than the songs preceding it, "Blinding Light" encourages us to not listen to all the liars around us who try to convince us that things that are not true, ("Hey girl, don't conform now"), but to keep searching for the "blinding light." Switchfoot gets quite unique with "Selling The News" in which Jon talks as much as he sings (if not more) during the song and expresses his hesitation to believe stories he hears nowadays due to them not featuring the full truth. "The fact is fiction/ Suspicion is the new religion."

Another rhythm balancer is "Thrive" which features much acoustic guitar and powerful lyrics of not just living our lives, but to make something out of them. The song can be summed up by the convicting final line of the chorus: "I want to thrive not just survive." It is followed by the lead single and my favorite track on the album, the rock anthem "Dark Horses," that has an amazing chorus! The theme is one of a group of people who are down, but not out. "Born for the blue skies/ We'll survive the rain/ Born for the sun rise/ We will survive the pain." The ending music to "Dark Horses" carries into the beginning music of "Souvenirs" which is much softer and contains a reminiscient theme of the memories of our lives being our souvenirs.

"Rise Above It" has a catchy tune and talks about not following everyone else's ways. It also features a sort of rebel feeling as we are encouraged to "rise above it" all. The title track of the record is a slow song that uses mostly acoustic guitar plucking in its music. In the lyrics, the band searches for more out of what they see in life and finding a meaning in it all. Closing out the album, "Where I Belong" has the band looking forward to the day when they will be in heaven. This closer might just be the most religious of all the songs on the record.

As much as many would like to insist that Switchfoot is still a Christian band, we must all admit that they no longer hold that genre title, but their songs still contain Christian-inspired themes. Vice Verses is full of positive themes and lyrics and one can easily see the Christian roots in their songwriting. Whether you are Christian or not, this is an album that is sure to encourage and inspire you!

Top 3 Songs
  1. Dark Horses
  2. Where I Belong
  3. Selling The News
  1. Afterlife
  2. The Original
  3. The War Inside
  4. Restless
  5. Blinding Light
  6. Selling The News
  7. Thrive
  8. Dark Horses
  9. Souvenirs
  10. Rise About It
  11. Vice Verses
  12. Where I Belong


CoUrTnEy said...

Great review! You made me want the album even more!!! I have heard their song "Dark Horses" and I loved it!

Justin Morden said...

You'll love it, Courtney! Of all the albums since the Beautiful Letdown, I'd say this is the best.

Jesselyn said...

Another impressive review, Justin! Great work!

Justin Morden said...

Thank, Jesselyn! Appreciate the feedback! :)

Josh said...

Good album review I liked it one of my favorite albums from Switchfoot I loved all of the songs on the album. I would say Dark Horses and The War Inside are two of my favorite songs on the album.

Justin Morden said...

@Josh Thanks! The War Inside was definitely a good song too. Nearly made it to the top 3 songs list. :)