Sunday, October 9, 2011

Listening to Records: Switchfoot

I want to listen to more records here on my blog.  I did Daniel Amos hodgepodge last time I did this.  Now, I think I'm going to do all eight of Switchfoot's albums, starting with the first: Legend of Chin.

They named this album after their friend Willis Chin.  Jimmy Lee Sloas produced it, the same one who did all of PFR's albums and even some Garth Brooks.  The album even has a cast of Matt Slocum from Sixpence None the Richer and Charlie Peacock who produced later Switchfoot albums and did a better job than Jimmy Lee. 

The band at the time was just Jon and Tim Foreman, two PK brothers, and their friend Chad on drums.  They were surfers from San Diego, just kids then, very handsome, and at age 12 I was going to marry them.  At least Tim.  I'd marry him.

You finally lit the fuse that's in my head.  I still don't know what this song means, turning off fluorescent tubes, anything.  It's a great opening.  The guys start from a bass riff to a song that explodes like a bomb into an amazing song.

Whoa, baby!  A music video.  The guys were preppy, clean cut, shiny.  When I saw them in concert I was 12, Jon was 21, Tim was 19, and I never did meet Chad.  They opened for Third Day.  I had a poster, got to talk to them.  Jon signed it saying, "Meghan is cool."  Yeah, does wonders for a girl's ego.

The song Chem 6A, again, don't know what it's about, but I can identify with not wanting to do something like be in class, working, even church sometimes because I'm feeling lazy, lethargic, depressed, tired, and even lazy.  But you still have to get up and do what you need to do.  Here they sing about not wanting to be big or famous, but now that they are, they're pretty much the biggest sell-outs with songs on commercials and shows and PSAs.

If I recall, most of the homemade videos have the lyrics, so you can sing along.  This song was the debut of Jon's Kermit Voice.  He's never lost that voice.  I think it even shows up on Vice Verses.  This is their most forgettable song.  It goes on a bit long, but you can already see their emotional music about wanting to save people, losing people, caring about people who may not be able to be helped, and there is nothing more melancholy.

This is the beginning of the awesome on this album.  When this album came out, I was reading the Chronicles of Narnia for the first time since my mom first read them to me when I was 7.  The music fit perfectly with the books.  Especially Prince Caspian, which I was reading during this song.  I can totally see Lucy in the woods imagining the trees in their dryad state and finally running into the real Aslan.  And you are on the edge of your seat in those books.  And as these guys were college age, you never know what happens next from high school graduation and after that.  Oddly enough, they did do a song for the Prince Caspian movie.  Too bad the Narnia movies are fairly Pelagian and nothing like the books. 

Same thing.  Jon is a long way from home, a long way from his thoughts to what he'll say, a long way from paradise to where I am today.  The perfect Switchfoot longing for something so much bigger than the current world that we can see which is also a C. S. Lewis theme.

Switchfoot has long since matured and are not so tongue-in-cheek anymore.  This is my first favorite song on the album.  It's a heart-wrenching love song about unrequited love, amazing guitars, you can hear their surfer culture as they want the girl to "be there when the sea turns gray."  Then, I guess they thought "might have been her" sounded like "might have Ben Hur" and titled the song that way and dedicated it to Charleton Heston.  (I'm also still in love with him, too, but he's definitely dead now, but I really do believe he was a Christian.  He was at least big on the NRA.)

"Concrete Girl" is my favorite song on this album, and possibly in all the Switchfoot canon.  They always have some theme about people wanting to fit in with society and who lose themselves in the process.  Another song was out by Reality Check called "Plastic Friends" and being in middle school at the time, those were the only girls I knew.  Girls into make-up, boys, dirty talking, WB shows, and most of whom ended up pregnant at some point by the time we graduated or shortly after.  I couldn't fit in with these girls who didn't think or just did anything to fit in, and I was even made fun of.  Switchfoot actually shows care for these concrete girls, warning them not to get lost and turn into robots or even just generic.  The guitars on this are also heart-wrenching, and you can imagine the White Witch's stone statues and the Lion coming to breath them back into reality.  Not to mention, this is also the one song from this album that Switchfoot put on their greatest hits CD.

Another song about life's meaninglessness and how there has to be more.  Very Ecclesiastes.

The first time I heard of Switchfoot breaking into the secular music realm, I read this article about this song that was played on Dawson's Creek (early signs of them compromising with the world).  It was "You" by Switchfoot.  This was years before Walk to Remember. I still think this song is 1) actually about God, 2) kind of boring.

The best song on the album (yes the other best song).  It's specifically about their friend, they refer to it on "Gone" four albums later, and an urge to make sure you are aware that every decision you make has consequences for the rest of eternity.  "Life's more than girls."

The end of this album and this blog post for now.  "You be around and I'll be square."  More corny lyrics in an otherwise very heartfelt song.

These guys are already poignant, emotional, and adorable.  They don't really mention God at all on this album but you can tell the songs are about Him and when you see them in concert you can feel the worship experience, at least pre-Walk to Remember days, which were the only times I've seen them.  It does bother me that they are so moot on God and sometimes global like Bono, but they are believers, yea even Christians, and they reach a whole lot of people for the Lord, and their music is still amazing, so all in all, they are my favorite band.

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