Music Review: Swithfoot, The Faithful Spouse

The first sound is a heavily distorted electric guitar strumming a resounding chord; it continues into what sounds like a classic rock song. As the album continues, the songs range from anthems to classic rock songs to pop songs.

Imagine U2 mixed with One Republic and Aerosmith with a smidgen of Kings of Leon; the result may sound something like Switchfoot’s newest full-length album, “Vice Verses.” Smoothly-played, ripping riffs and solos are very much present on this album. After listening to album number eight, it’s obvious that they haven’t lost their energy or tenacity.

“Energetic, tenacity and deeply embedded emotion” could be the catchphrase for this album. That catch phrase seems to be a common one in Switchfoot’s albums. Jon Foreman, who is the lead singer, guitarist and main songwriter, is the one to be given the most credit for these themes and ideas. He often writes and sings of changing the world, waking up inside and even questions, “Am I myself or am I dreaming?”

Foreman acknowledges the repetition of themes in his songs, “Usually, for me, I write about the same things every time. It’s just the same irritant.”

Switchfoot’s themes or sound hasn’t changed much from “Nothing Is Sound” in 2005 to “Vice Versus.” This album definitely has strong family resemblance to their previous album, “Hello Hurricane” (2011). Switchfoot even says that “Vice Versus” is a “cousin” to “Hello Hurricane” and “Vice Versus” the song was actually written during the recording of the album “Hello Hurricane.” This unchangingness and lack of diversity leaves a bad taste in some critics’ mouths, because it doesn’t prove that the band has any versatility, which can wrongly be interpreted as a lack of creativity.

Like a marriage, it’s nice to experience some differentiation from the norm. It’s good to spice things up and do something new. Since “Nothing Is Sound”, Switchfoot has been like a spouse who’s faithful, but who hasn’t taken you out to a nice restaurant in years. You still love them and enjoy them, but the romance is dwindling like the last embers of what used to be a roaring bonfire. You’re hoping for them to do something, anything, to show you that they still love you. Well, with “Vice Versus,” Switchfoot is starting to rekindle the love, but at a very slow pace. They plan to keep you around for the rest of their lives.

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