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I started following Switchfoot's music back when I first heard their song 'Only Hope' in Mandy Moore's movie soundtrack, 'A Walk to Remember'. I deeply admire this band's unique way of sharing themselves by putting in together diversified sound and a captivating message on their lyric. Their words, for me, resemble a mirror to my own situation and to life's question of what really are the purpose of my existence; what life beyond, what life ahead and what is behind me now are all up to my choice. Their lyrics really spokes to me that why I even love listening to this album that just merely enjoying the music. For me, this has made them special and worthwhile to look up to.
Switchfoot is composed of brother's Jon and Tim Foreman who both played guitar and vocals; with drummer Chad Butler, guitarist Drew Shirley as among the pioneer members of the band. Later keyboardist Jerome Fontamillas joined the band. Switchfoot is often labeled as Christian band but according to lead vocalist Jon Foreman, they are don't want to just be limited to that genre though their stand of faith clearly speaks out in their lyrics.
Beautiful Letdown was their debut album under major record label released in 2003 following their exposure in 'A Walk To Remember' movie soundtrack. Phenomenal success follows after that. This album has sold more than 2 million copies, has reached double platinum status and has won them Dove Award's Artist of the Year in 2005.
The album contains 11 tracks and to be honest, I love hearing all the songs in this album. I never get tired hearing them again and again over the years. 'Meant to Live' , 'Dare You to Move', 'This is Your Life', and 'Gone' are among the crowd's favorite and has been my best pick too. Full list of the tracks are:
1.Meant To Live -
I like the electrifying sound on this song. The lyrics talk about life that we are more than this world got to offer. We simply meant to live for something beyond now. I guess an expression of hope and of future fate of man.
2. This Is Your Life -
A nice reflection of yesterdays and a mirror of who you are today. As what the lyrics says, "This is your life, are you who you want to be? ...is it everything your dream in it would be, when the world was younger, you've got everything to lose."
3. More Than Fine -
This is jolly hippy song, an experience of day to day life..hoping for more than just OK situation..something more than fine.
4. Ammunition -
Words of the songs speaks about their observations on today's society. Who's to blame of the mess? But I can certainly agree that we are the fuse and ammunition of the world around us because we have the power to choose to build or destroy society.
5. Dare You To Move -
This is my favorite song. What happens next is a big question in this song...a question of what I can be when everyone is watching, everybody is expecting my move, my life...
6. Redemption -
This song telling a story struggle I think because it was mentioned in the lyrics being insecure and incomplete, and asking whose to get him.
7. Beautiful Letdown -
In the world of bitterness and bitter doubt, the writer is saying that he don't belong here. In a Christian point of view, I guess and I believe that life here on earth is temporary. And there is life beyond today, something to look on to.
8. Gone -
I love this song musically and lyrically. A story of a woman who lives like no tomorrow and pretend she's immortal by plainly living on material things, etc.. But truth is, all things are temporary..your beauty, your wealth, your live will not meant to be forever. Someday somehow, these things will be gone.
9. On Fire -
This could be a love song or something else..nice song.
10. Adding To The Noise -
This is a groovy good song. Everywhere is a noise, so the song is saying that if this music will add more to the noise, turn off this song..hmmm....sounds ridiculously true.
I guess this is a story of regret, of wrong expectation, failure as what the words in this song narrates, asking the "Spirit" to take him up...
Whist listening to this album, just try to pay careful attention to the words in each song and somehow dig deeper into a bigger picture that the lyric is trying to reveal. I believe that each song will sing to your heart and inspire you with the lyrics. These musical masterpieces would definitely be unique sound you would ever hear. This album has been my most played and I never get tired of enjoying this great music and have always touched by its refreshing lyrics. For me, this album is definitely a must-have.
==Who are Switchfoot? ==
The band's members are the following:
Jon Foreman (vocals/guitar)
Tim Foreman (bass guitar/ backing vocals)
Chad Butler (drums)
Jerome Fontamillas (guitar/keyboard)
Drew Shirley (guitar)
The band are from California and are considered as an alternative rock band. They first gained recognition when in 2002, four of their songs, were put on the soundtrack for A Walk To Remember (beautiful songs for a beautiful film). This brought them national success.
In 2003 they brought out a Beautiful Letdown, here's the review on the tracks and my opinion:
Track 1- Meant To Live
This is one of the most well known songs by Switchfoot, and it's a great opener to the CD. The whole song is very rocky, and is filled with very strong guitar beats as well as drum beats, which you would expect to drown out the lead singer, however he keeps his voice powerful and deep and it really works perfectly alongside the rest of the music.
Quite a few of Switchfoot's songs I have found are very rocky like this track, however the way he sings, if it was just an acoustic song, it would probably be counted as more of a ballad than anything. Together with the music though it works brilliantly, the lead singer's vocals are just tremendous, and it works so well with the lyrics, which are just beautiful and filled with some great meaningful lyrics.
A great start to what I hope is going to be a good album from all that I've heard of it. A brilliant song.
Memorable Lyrics: "Dreaming about providence
And whether mice or men have second tries
Maybe we?ve been livin with our eyes half open
Maybe we?re bent and broken, broken"
My Opinion: 10/10 (A very powerful opener to this album, brilliant)
Track 2- This Is Your Life
I wasn't to keen on this to start with, the start is quite weird, but don't let that put you off. The whole song is just beautiful, it's a lot slower than Meant To Live, and is more of a ballad than anything. The instruments are still there, but no way near as powerful as the previous track. It's a lot quieter and I think it'll be to more people's liking than Meant To Live.
The lyrics in the song are brilliant, I believe what they are saying is live your life to the fullest, you only have one life, live everyday to the full and make sure you don't regret anything. A beautiful song, but definitely not one of my favourites.
The song takes a while to pick up, I think in the chorus, John Foreman really gets to shine. His vocals have this very unique sound to it, which I can't really compare to any other artist. It's very raw and edgy and works with all the songs that they write.
Memorable Lyrics: "Yesterday is a wrinkle on your forehead
Yesterday is a promise that you?ve broken
Don?t close your eyes, don?t close your eyes
This is your life and today is all you?ve got now
Yeah, and today is all you?ll ever have
Don?t close your eyes
Don?t close your eyes"
My Opinion: 8/10 (Not a fan really of this song, It just takes a bit too long to get good)
Track 3- More Than Fine
Not a fan of this song, I don't think Jon's vocals are as brilliant and the song itself is pretty weak. The instruments really work against his vocals rather than for them. They're trying to hard to bring an up-tempo song into the mix but it really doesn't work.
The song is quite annoying to be honest, there's nothing good here.
Memorable Lyrics: "When I wake in the morning,
I want to blow into pieces.
I want more than just ok, more than just ok.
When I?m up with the sunrise
I want more than just blue skies.
I want more than just ok, more than just ok."
My Opinion: 2/10 (The lyrics are alright, but not brilliant)
Track 4- Ammunition
Another song which isn't brilliant. Jon's vocals are drowned out in this song by all of the instrumentals, the song itself is a lot darker than most of their songs, it's all about desperation and blame etc. The song itself is not brilliant however, you can't really hear the lyrics, which aren't brilliant when you read them, the song's just okay.
A disappointment, especially considering how brilliant the first two were and what's coming up next.
Memorable Lyrics: "have no generation
Shoe me my motivation
One world one desperation
One hope and one salvation
Look what a mess we?ve made of love
Look waht a mess we?ve made
We?ve got ourselves to blame
Look what a bomb we made of love"
My Opinion: 4/10 (Just a disappointing song, nothing special here, but it's not painful)
Track 5- Dare You To Move
My favourite track by Switchfoot has to be this song. I first heard it on the film A Walk To Remember and have been in love with it since. The lyrics are incredible, even if everything else wasn't amazing, I could sing it and make it sound good. The lyrics are powerful, they are saying despite having an awful day, you have to make yourself get up and treat life like it really should be treated, everyone has bad days and your not alone.
This song is just amazing; Jon Forman's vocals are very powerful and work so well, especially in the chorus, which is just beautiful, a really powerful chorus with some simple lyrics. The instruments in the song work so well with Forman's vocals, the song as a whole is just magnificent.
Memorable Lyrics: "Maybe redemption has stories to tell
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here"
My Opinion: 11/10 (A gorgeous song, with some incredible lyrics)
Track 6- Redemption
Another disappointing track. I don't think it's as natural as some of the previous tracks, sometimes Jon Foreman's vocals sound very natural and very raw but in this track, it's not brilliant vocals and the song itself is not really a joy to listen to.
It feels like the song has been done a hundreds time before, not only by Switchfoot but by quite a few other artists, I wouldn't call it a unique song. The lyrics aren't brilliant either, after the incredible Dare You To Move, I was expecting them to follow with a brilliant track, but again they come forth with an okay track. It's the sort of song you'll listen to, but not even remember the name of it afterwards.
Memorable Lyrics: "Four A.M., two hours to go
I'm wearing out a lonely glow
I miss you more than I could know
Here I am, here I am
Won't you get me....
I've got my hands at redemption's side
Whose scars are bigger than these doubts of mine
I'll fit all of these monstrosities inside
and I'll come alive, come alive"
My Opinion: 5/10 (A 50/50 song, there's nothing exciting there at all, it's just a good song, nothing brilliant)
Track 7- The Beautiful Letdown
This song was quite a letdown I have to say, it's another anthem kind of song and is about despite having everything in the world, you still don't quite fit in. I like the lyrics to this song and meaning behind it, this is something that Switchfoot are usually brilliant at, however with this track, it just doesn't quite hit the mark.
It's an almost strange track, the start put me off slightly, and then it get's a bit better as it goes through, but it never really hits the peak that Dare You To Move or Meant To Live had, it's just an okay song, but Jon Forman's vocals are of course amazing.
Memorable Lyrics: "It was a beautiful let down
When I crashed and burned
When I found myself alone unknown and hurt
It was a beautiful letdown
The day I knew
That all the riches this world had to offer me
Would never do"
My Opinion: 6/10 (I was really expecting more from this album, but so far haven't got it. This track is just another satisfactory track)
Track 8- Gone
This is a weird track, I really didn't expect to like it, but it's really catchy after a while. I'm not too keen on the beat and his vocals have been better on the album, but it's the way that they all work together alongside the lyrics, and create a very uptempo song, that is very memorable, and quite strange in the fact that you don't really realise you like it until afterwards when it sticks in your head.
Don't be put off by the strange start to the song, give it a chance, its' one of those growers, with some fantastic lyrics including Elvis, Al Pacino and Frank Sinatra. The song is about the same things that a lot of the other songs are about, taking life as it comes and making sure you life for today as nothing lasts in the life, just like Frank Sinatra.
Memorable Lyrics: "She told him she?d rather fix her makeup
Than try to fix what?s going on
But the problem keeps on calling
Even with the cellphone gone
She told him that she believes in living
Bigger than she?s living now
But her world keeps spinning backwards
Don?t say so long in the cellphone
Don?t spend today away
Cuz today will soon be"
My Opinion: 8/10 (A really good song, it does take a while to get into it, but it's still brilliant)
Track 9- On Fire
This is probably the slowest paced track on the album, it's a lot different to a lot of their songs on this album, and it slightly reminds me of some of their other songs like Only Hope. They do do ballads brilliantly I have to say. First and foremost Forman's vocals are really strong in this song. The music doesn't over power him but instead complements his voice and really helps him get the power.
This is a really beautiful song, I don't think it's as good as the Meant To Live or Dare You To Move but it's a really nice song, which is sung beautifully. One to listen for. The song deals with what the whole album seems to deal with, that there's more to life than what's heard and found in conversations.
It's about dealing with what people feel. It's a very Christian kind of song, which is pretty much what this band is based on, but you see it come through a lot more in this song.
Memorable Lyrics: "And you?re on fire
When he?s near you
You?re on fire
When he speaks
You?re on fire
Burning at these mysteries
Give me one more time around
Give me one more chance to see
Give me everything you are
Give me one more chance to be... (near you)
My Opinion: 9/10 (Such a nice song, however it doesn't compare to the other two brilliant tracks)
Track 10- Adding To The Noise
His vocals aren't brilliant on this track, I'm not too big of a fan of this song I have to say. The lyrics are brilliant I have to say, they're talking about the noise in life today, and if this song is just adding to this noise, then your welcome to turn it off.
Despite the lyrics, which are very good, it just doesn't seem to fit not only on it's own together and inside this album.
Quite an annoying song, and one you'll probably never listen to on repeat. Just a boring and almost painful song to listen to.
Memorable Lyrics: "Twenty-four oceans
And twenty-four tries
Twenty-four finds me
In twenty-fourth place
With twenty-four drop outs
At the end of the day"
My Opinion: 3/10 (A boring and unmemorable song, which could be considered painful in places)
Track 11- Twenty Four
Wow, what a boring song, but like always I'm going to listen through it all the way through, what feels like 2 hours, and am going to get the proper feel of the song. This is a very boring song like I said, his vocals are good but not brilliant and the lyrics are good but not brilliant. It's just an okay track, but doesn't feel right on this album.
With an album like this, when they started big with Meant To Live, I really expected them to end big, but they ended on a slow song, which was just as disappointing as the rest of the album to be honest. Not a good album and not a good song.
Memorable Lyrics: "Twenty-four oceans
And twenty-four tries
Twenty-four finds me
In twenty-fourth place
With twenty-four drop outs
At the end of the day"
My Opinion: 2/10 (A very boring track, a poor note to end on)
I really thought I'd love this CD, I had read a lot of reviews on amazon before buying this CD, and all of them almost were giving the CD 5 stars, so I was expecting a lot. I had heard the best two songs on the album before, Meant To Live and Dare You To Move are just awesome songs, with some amazing lyrics and some brilliant vocals, and I have no idea what the hell happened to the rest of the album.
The lyrics are the main thing that struck me about this band, like a lot of people (including my friend Jordan), thought that they were a Christian band, which amazingly they don't really show. Of course ALL of the songs are about living today for today, and making sure you don't live life with regrets and that everyone suffers now and again, and most of the songs are very powerful when they've written about this, however everything else just seems to falter.
Jonathan Forman who is the lead singer of this band, has a very unique and raw voice, which you don't really see a lot anymore. A lot of the artists all sound the same nowadays, but Forman really is unique. However that's only shown in a few songs, 60% of them are just average, he really doesn't shine in a lot of the songs.
I was all in all really disappointed with this album, there are probably four songs out of 11 which even stick in my memory, two of them I heard hundreds of times before, and loved them already. There was nothing brilliant here; nothing new and it all just seemed rushed to be honest.
Don't go on my opinion with this however, I must just have a weird taste in music, as all of those people can't be wrong, however I just found quite a few songs painful and despite the lyrics being brilliant, nothing else around it worked.
On 3 of the songs, beautiful. Really powerful and really unique, however on the other 8, okay. He really didn't sore as much as I thought he would. I have heard quite a few songs by this band, a lot of them are not even on this album, and they are really brilliant.
I really like the band, I think as a whole they're very original and their style is just brilliant. The lyrics they write are just amazing as well and the band really brings the music foreward and makes brilliant tracks some of the time.
I found that the band, despite Forman's voice being quite strong, overpower him slightly in a lot of the tracks, this is something I hate when listening to music, I have to be able to hear the lyrics and the lead's vocals. The music is supposed to be there as background music not foreground unless their doing solos or something.
Wow, this is one thing I am going to say good about the band, there lyricist is just amazing. Especially in songs like Dare You To Move, which is truly incredible. It's very repetitive, a lot of the song is repeated throughout but you don't really notice, all you notice is how powerful the lyrics are and how much they really mean.
Should You Buy The Album?
Nah, it was pretty awful, but I would recommend these following songs:
Dare You To Move
Meant To Live
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Meant To Live
2 This Is Your Life
3 More Than Fine
5 Dare You To Move New
7 The Beautiful Letdown
9 On Fire
10 Adding To The Noise