Review Summary: acting as an anchor, which might be the anti-thesis of most life-altering albums, but that's kind of the whole damn point.
Just like Jon Foreman pleads for you to realise on 'This Is Your Life', yesterday is a promise that you've broken
; a lot has changed since I first began writing about music. In five years which included a stuttering university career and nine months scrambling through foreign nightlife, god died, my best shoes got scuffed, and the beauty I used to see in the simplest things retreated to increasingly complex strongholds. I'm pretty sure this sort of thing isn't unique, more an inevitable detail of seeing more things and thinking more thoughts as you grow older, but wires got crossed somewhere along the road and every now and then something drags me back. More often than not, that something is The Beautiful Letdown
Because there's something about the way Foreman and his band Switchfoot present the things I've forgotten or stopped believing and make me realise the parts of those feelings that still hold true, even since the wires got crossed, and there's something about the music they set it to here more than anywhere else. Everyone's heard the ode-to-living 'Dare You To Move', but it's the overtly Christian cuts that scare me the most, because damn
, am I an atheist. But on a song like 'Redemption', Foreman's vocals are filled with such conviction, I almost find myself wanting to be saved. 'Gone' asks if we know what life is outside of our convenient lexis cages
, which is a sentiment I've been trying to get to the bottom of for years. And so on.
And that beauty in simplicity thing that I mentioned earlier, that's the reason The Beautiful Letdown
is capable of becoming a staple in any pop-lover's music library. While Switchfoot aren't a cliché in any meaningful sense, you can definitely see why they might attract the label, since the piano in 'On Fire' is so downright gorgeous that it's bound to make certain people feel guilty, and since Switchfoot are so unequivocal and steadfast in their ideals and their idealism. But they're polite, too, which makes The Beautiful Letdown
burn slow and inoffensive until you realise that it's uncrossed a few of the wires.
I mean, it's a temporary jolt, because few could go on believing everything Foreman asserts over these eleven soaring pop tracks, and everybody needs something more abrasive than The Beautiful Letdown
's pristine guitars and obvious-as-hell lyrics in their lives, but equally, it helps sometimes to listen to a record which asks you to ponder no more (indeed, no less) than: 'This is your life; are you who you want to be?' If you're in the need of escaping to a world of innocent and arguably naive themes, it works absolutely perfectly. The Beautiful Letdown
acts as an anchor, which might be the anti-thesis of most life-altering albums, but that's sort of the whole point.