A Band for All Seasons: Switchfoot Review


     This is the last time, I promise myself, that I’m starting over writing this article.

     My fingers are freezing as they sit on the keyboard. My brain is blocking like an artery; my chest is full of this desire, this need to write something, to put into honest and smooth words this world around me that isn’t my home. Something beautiful and meaningful. Something worth writing.

     But I’m stuck like the snowflakes outside, clinging for dear life to the wood and brick.

     What I need is a song.

“I’m on the run,

I’m on the ropes this time.

Where is my song?

I’ve lost the song of my soul tonight.

“Sing it out, sing it out

Take what is left of me, make it a melody.

Sing it out, sing out loud,

I can’t find the words to sing

You be my melody

My song, my song, I’ll sing it with what’s left of me.”

     When my own writing isn’t enough to express the frustration of writer’s block as a writer or a musician, Jon Foreman’s comes pretty close.

     Our lives are songs, and Foreman and his band are singing it out for all their worth, a rock band with a message of hope and honesty. They’re the one band that can set our family dancing and playing air guitar at night in the rain at their concerts.

     Switchfoot started out as a garage band in San Diego, a group of two brothers and a friend; three surfers who loved music and wanted more, more than just surviving.

     Two additional members and ten albums later, Switchfoot has spread their love of song and their message of hope far beyond San Diego. Early this year they released their album “Fading West”, which accompanied a movie they filmed themselves, to be released at the end of the year. It’s an awesome year to be a Switchfoot fan.

     Their music is something more than just songs, just instruments and voices. Somehow, “Love Alone is Worth the Fight” is enough to make me believe that exercising is some really epic feat.

“And we find what we’re made of

Through the open door

Is it fear you’re afraid of?

What are you waiting for?

Love alone is worth the fight.”

     I’m proud and patriotic about this band–if I had a fedora like Jon Foreman has I’d wear it–and it’s our family’s dream to meet them face-to-face. They are the real deal, because they’re not afraid to sing. They’re living it like a song. This verse from new song “Let it Out” sums it up pretty well:

“From the day we’re born

We are scarred and torn

We’ve been scared to sing out loud

But we don’t care no more

‘Cause we know life is short

So we don’t care who hears us now.”

     Switchfoot is a band ‘for deep thinkers’. They’re a band for all seasons — a band of powerful songs. Trying to choose my favorite Switchfoot song is like trying to pick a favorite Lord of the Rings character. But if there’s one song that can really send chills up and down the spine and fill my soul with hope, it has to be “Where I Belong” – a song that seems to sum up Jon Foreman, and as a Catholic, my own hopes. I’ll just quote a part of it here, but you really have to look it up and listen to it.

“Until I die, I’ll sing these songs

On the shores of Babylon

Still looking for a home

In a world where I belong

Where the weak are finally strong

Where the righteous right the wrongs

Still looking for a home

In a world where I belong. . .

And on that final day I die

I want to hold my head up high

I want to tell You that I tried

To live it like a song

When I reach the other side,

I want to look You in the eye

And know that I’ve arrived

In a world where I belong.”

     I envision that moment and my writer’s block seems pretty small. My frustration is such littleness in the face of that hope, of that moment when I’ll reach the other side and look Him in the eye, and know that I’ve arrived in a world where I belong. After all, what greater story, what greater song, could there be, than the story of His love, a love beyond our death?

     I’m grateful for Switchfoot’s witness to that love, for helping to open my eyes to the reality that we don’t belong here, and that we are here to sing until the final day we die. Will you sing with us?

By Clare-Therese