Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Review of “Hello Hurricane” by Switchfoot

"I feel like with this record, the motto was, what are the songs you want to die singing?" That is what Switchfoot frontman, Jon Foreman said about the songs on their 7th studio album Hello Hurricane. My first thought about Hello Hurricane was that these truly are songs you would die singing. They're songs that are so meaningful and true that they are destined to walk through life with you. You can really tell that this is the guy's blood, sweat, and tears. Every song is a testament to how much they poured their heart and soul into this record. To me, Hello Hurricane begs to be listened to in order, from the first track, "Needle And Haystack Life", to the last track, "Red Eyes".
It's one of those rare albums where skipping any tracks would not give you the full experience. And in my opinion, it is an experience. Every single song has a very specific purpose and place. You can tell that they were very intentional about the placement of the songs because it really is the most cohesive record they've ever made. When you listen to the whole cd in order you feel like you've been taken on a journey. That's the best way I can describe Hello Hurricane, as a journey.

When you hear the cd opener "Needle And Haystack Life" you get the sense that this journey is just beginning, as you hear Jon sing the energetic rock chorus -"In this needle and haystack life I've found miracle's there in your eyes. It's no accident we're here tonight. We are once in a lifetime". I can imagine this song as the perfect way to open a live show. I loved the line "It's no accident we're here tonight", seeing as how that's how I always feel at their shows. Next track and lead single, "Mess Of Me" is a gritty rock song where Foreman and company loudly declare - "I've made a mess of me. I wanna spend the rest of my life alive." I love the bridge when you hear Jon wailing over the guitar "There ain't no drug, no drug to make me well". It really drives home the point that there is nothing this world can sell us that can cure our pain. "Free" is an emotional cry for freedom that's only found in Christ - "Free, come set me free. Down on my knees, I still believe you can save me from me. Come set me free. Inside this shell there's a prison cell".
"The Sound (John M. Perkins' Blues)" opens with crunchy guitars and an almost eerie sounding build to a pounding rock chorus. Title track "Hello Hurricane" has sort of an indie/rock feel to me. It's a song about hope in the face of pain - "Hello Hurricane you can't silence my love." "Bullet Soul" is a rock anthem for the "dreamers" - "You can't stand by forever. You're a kid with a bullet soul. Are you ready to go?" I love how Jon screams that line at the end. But I have to say out of all the songs on this cd the two that most have my heart are "Always" and "Sing It Out". "Always" is a beautiful piano based ballad that probably has the simplest yet most profound chorus, as Jon repeats the line - "I am always yours". The song builds to a powerful bridge - "Hallelujah! I'm caving in. Hallelujah! I'm in love again. Hallelujah! I'm a wretched man. Hallelujah! Every breath is a second chance." The worshipful ballad "Sing It Out" gave me goose bumps and just about made me cry upon first listen. The song starts off with an eerie sound as the verse speaks of losing the song of your soul. It then moves into Jon's beautiful vocal loudly and powerfully singing a prayer of sorts - "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'd be my remedy. My song. I'll sing with what's left of me." It just totally broke me. That song is my life's prayer.
The cd closes with "Red Eyes" which asks the question - "With red eyes what are you looking for?". I love how at the very end of this song you hear it going back to lines from the first track "Needle And Haystack life" - "I've found miracle's there in your eyes. It's no accident we're here tonight. We are once in a lifetime". It really ties the whole record together and makes for an unforgettable ending.

It's really hard to put into words just how much these songs mean to me. I really feel like this album redefines who Switchfoot is as a band. It feels like a whole new level and a whole new season for them. In my opinion Hello Hurricane is their best effort to date. It is in every sense of the word what my sister would call "a life cd", in that these songs were made to stay with you throughout your life.
Pick “Hello Hurricane” up here

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