From the moment I discovered the band way back in 2003, Switchfoot has been the soundtrack of my life. I’ve seen them in concert over 20 times in five different states, I’ve hung out with the band a few times when I was working in concert promotion (which only furthered my respect for these guys), and I’m also honored to run the “DailyJonForeman” account on Twitter. It’s not just the music from this band that keeps my fandom going. It’s who they are as people. It’s the “Switchfam” community. And it’s the continual pursuit that they have to find truth and beauty in a messed up world.
Their latest album is called “interrobang”, which is the word used for a question mark and exclamation point coming together. And listener, beware: This is probably not the album you were expecting from the band. Even though they have always explored numerous sounds and styles over the years, each album typically has certain elements you can somewhat predict. On their 12th studio record, all bets are off. Does it work? It’s Switchfoot- of course it works.
You may not find the big rock anthem, or a worshipful chorus in these 11 songs. It may not even be in your Top-5 all time Switchfoot records. But if you allow yourself to dive a little deeper, look under the surface, and give these songs some time: You might find yourself uncovering a true gem.
Interrobang is filled with twists and turns, musically and lyrically. And when you listen to the album as a unit, and understand the band’s intentions with this record, it all starts to make a lot more sense.
Jon Foreman always says the song he just wrote yesterday is his current favorite tune. In a similar way, the die-hard fans know that different Switchfoot songs become your favorite in different seasons, or even different days of the week. With that in mind, it’s a little tricky to review the album as a whole. Ask me again next week, and I’ll probably have new favorites. But for right now: I have found myself listening to “beloved”, “backwards in time,” “electricity,” and “splinter” the most.
Opening track “beloved” has a chance to crack my “best-of” Switchfoot list. It sets the stage for the album with incredible lyrics, a mix of soft and loud moments, and takes us on a journey of reflecting on the times we live, while looking ahead.
When I first read the lyrics of this album, I was a little surprised that there weren’t more lyrics “looking upward” at the heavens as Foreman typically writes. But then I realized: This album is all about looking outward. The two greatest commands are to Love God, and Love people. Our love for people is the best way to demonstrate our love for God. This album is all about loving others, in the midst of disagreements. In the midst of a virus, politics, racial tension, family tension, and whatever else you can think of. Because of that, it is still very faith-based for those who enjoy Switchfoot for that part of who they are.
Tracks “splinter” and “lost cause” are still fresh and different, but I think these two tracks have the most Switchfoot feel to them. They sound great driving in the car, or on a jog with the AirPods in. And they boast some of those vintage Jon Foreman lyrics.
Closing track “electricity” is one that can get stuck in your head for hours. It feels like Switchfoot and the Beatles had a baby, and it has been a consensus fan favorite so far.
The song “backwards in time” seems to almost pick up where “Souvenirs” concluded. The second verse is sung by Tim Foreman. That verse along with the harmonies of the song make it one of my favorite tracks of 2021. In fact, I believe “interrobang” boasts the best harmonies Switchfoot has ever produced.
The song “wolves” was written 15 years ago and brought to life for this album. It has an “Eastern Hyms for the Western Shores” vibe to it. The song “fluorescent” finds Jon comparing a moth’s attraction to light to our attraction to the light of our phones. “if I were you” is a fun song that deals with being home in 2020, while “the bones of us” and “the hard way” are very solid tracks that continue to look inward and outward.
It will take me some time before I can fully rank the 12 Switchfoot albums. And again, those opinions can often change. Even if “interrobang” doesn’t make the top half of the list, it’s still an excellent record. It is creative. It is artistic. It is well-timed. And speaking of time, it is worth yours.
Switchfoot has given us another collection of songs that will forever be a big part of our lives. They’ve dared us to move, they’ve called us to love, and they’ve reminded us yet again: Hope deserves an anthem.
“Searching for Seven” includes lots of Jon Foreman quotes and is a quick-read for thinking people! Purchase it here- https://www.amazon.com/Searching-Seven-Tyler-D-Smith/dp/1939815606/