Switchfoot
Fading West


3.0
good

Review

by thecolorbrown USER (17 Reviews)
January 8th, 2014 | 47 replies


Release Date: 01/14/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: a world-music surfing soundtrack that is undoubtedly Switchfoot

In the eighteen years of being a band, now with nine studio albums, two live albums, a motion picture released, and even a Grammy win, Switchfoot has never stopped being the clan of down-to-earth Christian surfer dudes who knew how to take success and not let it break them. After the success of Hello Hurricane, Switchfoot slipped over into the realm of experimentation, releasing the ever-so dark and honest Vice Verses, garnering moderate success, but leaving the band at a crossroads of where to go next. In an effort to collectively refresh the adrenaline of the band, they sojourned across the globe and created Fading West, the record accompanying a surf/rock/tour documentary, which is their ninth album to date, and the youngest and most energetic one in their catalog.

With its prominent world-music influence, paired up with Swtchfoot’s signature rhythm section, this record reveals a strong return to the band’s lively and upbeat energy that we heard on The Beautiful Letdown and even at times on Hello Hurricane. Opener “Love Alone Is Worth The Fight” is essentially an anthem of the band’s Eighteen year-long journey: "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." Musically, this song exemplifies the recurring indie-pop anthem sound, with its vocal “ohs”, driving guitars, and synth atop a strong and consistent rhythm section – this formula makes up the large majority of the album. Another stand-out track is “All Or Nothing At All” which boasts some of Jon Foreman’s strongest vocals on the record, as well as instrumentation that wouldn’t be out of place next to Arcade Fire or Grouplove. While the record has its danceable moments (“Let It Out”), as well as its heavier jams (“Say It Like You Mean It”), Fading West isn’t necessarily a dance nor a rock album; overall, all the individual tracks coalesce into exactly what the band told us to expect: a world-music surfing soundtrack that is undoubtedly Switchfoot (And with that said, it is important to note that Fading West makes most sense as an album in context with the film of the same name).

Additionally – and expectedly – these surf-pop anthems become a template for Jon Foreman’s spiritual and philosophical insights. The infectious chorus of “Saltwater Heart” sings: "When I’m on your shore again / I can feel the ocean / I can feel your open arms / Like pure emotion / I’m finally free again." In this vein, a common lyrical theme for Foreman is a continuation of Vice Verse’s “Restless”, water trying to find its way home to the ocean as a metaphor for mankind seeking to find its own ocean. Almost every song on the album has at least one line that clings to that metaphor, and as a result the songs bind together very well conceptually.

The downside to this album, however, is that in comparison with their previous work, there is a sense of unfulfillment in the music. What is missing is the riff-based rock songs that made the band famous - the album has no "Meant to Live" or "Mess of Me"; nor is there really a memorable bridge or a power-ballad that Switchfoot has done so well. There are no screams, no (noteworthy) guitar solos, no groundbreaking sounds. What Fading West lacks is dynamics - the music is consistently safe and uninspiring.

When looking objectively at the album as a whole, it is clear that Fading West is a step in a new direction for Switchfoot. Like any other album they have released post-Beautiful-Letdown, the band is honest with where they are at, and they invite the listener along for the ride - like it or not. It is obvious that the band has been doing a lot of surfing, as well as a lot of reflection of who they are as musicians, husbands, fathers, and as a band; the record is a product of their self-realizations and stands as a mission statement of the band thematically. Thus, Fading West is not a finish line, but a new beginning – and although the title Fading West may refer to something setting and coming to a close, never before have they seemed so replenished and revived.

Top Tracks:

All or Nothing At All
Love Alone is Worth the Fight
Saltwater Heart
Say It Like You Mean It



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user ratings (83)
Chart.
2.9
good
other reviews of this album
ProjectFreak (1.5)
The ugly letdown....

nope (4.5)
The album they always had in them...

Green Baron (2.5)
Fading Away...

Adam Amanse (3.5)
A soundtrack comprised of experiences - let the wave take you where it may....



Comments:Add a Comment 
thecolorbrown
January 7th 2014


72 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

feedback is appreciated!

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 7th 2014


4469 Comments


don't have time to read full review rn but it looks pree good, have a pos in faith. one thing is that "eighteen" ain't capitalized

Douglas
January 7th 2014


9283 Comments


In the Eighteen years of being band


couple of grammar errors like that one.

nice review otherwise.

Ever since Dare You To Move i thought this band were long gone



toxin.
January 8th 2014


12924 Comments


i was wondering when they'd release a new album

too lazy to read the review but something about surf pop/rock sounds a lot more appealing than the tripe in their previous effort so maybe i'll check this out

TheSupernatural
January 8th 2014


1819 Comments


I tend to enjoy bands more before I find out that they're Christian. I love Thrice but it boggles my mind that people actually buy into that shit.

That being said, it sounds interesting and I might check it out. Not sure if I agree with your review, given I haven't listened to it yet, but I thought it was well-written. Here's a pos

RadicalEd
January 8th 2014


9446 Comments


Yeezus.

Digging: Maurice Louca - Elephantine

RadicalEd
January 8th 2014


9446 Comments


Foreman solo > Switchfoot.

RadicalEd
January 8th 2014


9446 Comments


lol.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2014


4469 Comments


god dammit dougie read my comment first :[

luv ya anyways tho

thecolorbrown
January 8th 2014


72 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

For the record Thrice is my favorite band, and I think they and Switchfoot both do a good job of letting their faith take a natural place in their music. If it is what they are writing about, then the song is about it, but it isn't necessarily their goal to impose it.



The more I listen to this album, the more I realize how optimistic this review is. I'll leave it as is, but for you guys who haven't heard Switchfoot's music in a while, I wouldn't start here. Hello Hurricane and Vice Verses are both very good albums that may not have "singles" but they are filled with some of the band's best work.



Jon Foreman Solo > Switchfoot. I second that.

thecolorbrown
January 8th 2014


72 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I downed the rating to a 3, and added another paragraph



btw, this album can be streamed on itunes radio: https://itunes.apple.com/us/station/first-play-switchfoot-fading/idra.791210392

forlifeis
January 8th 2014


8 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Definitely looking forward to this album, being the fanboy that I am. I was sorely disappointed by the lack of a physical preorder, but I am resigned to journeying to my local Best Buy next Tuesday to pick up my hard copy.



I am cautiously optimistic for a bit more experimentation with song structures and such.

Green Baron
January 8th 2014


24437 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"The downside to this album, however, is that in comparison with their previous work, there is a sense of unfulfillment in the music. What is missing is the riff-based rock songs that made the band famous - the album has no "Meant to Live" or "Mess of Me"; nor is there really a memorable bridge or a power-ballad that Switchfoot has done so well. There are no screams, no (noteworthy) guitar solos, no groundbreaking sounds. What Fading West lacks is dynamics - the music is consistently safe and uninspiring."



This is the exact problem I have with this album.

Digging: Kate Bush - Hounds of Love

amanwithahammer
January 9th 2014


585 Comments


Ah yeah, this reads at least like a 3.5. I used to dig the shit out of these guys and still find their
stuff before Vice Verses fun in a nostalgic kinda way, but that album came out after my Switchfoot
phase and I couldn't feel it at all. Maybe one day I'll give their post-Hello Hurricane stuff another
chance, maybe not... good review anyways.

Crawl
January 9th 2014


2560 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Exactly what I expected, even though I hadn't heard anything by the band before listening to this. I liked the optimism and catchiness of the two lead singles, despite the obvious cheese. Other tracks just don't do anything for me. Probably a 2.5.

thecolorbrown
January 10th 2014


72 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

check out All or Northing At All. The more I listen to the album, the more I realize that is the strongest song on the record...



and btw, if you've never listened to Switchfoot before, PLEASE don't judge them off of this, go listen to these songs, they are actually a rock band:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5BvhlHFO8w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=et1vriu29Qk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOTcr9wKC-o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHhWVpNlwU8



Crawl
January 11th 2014


2560 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

damn, but those first two songs are great anyway.

Green Baron
January 11th 2014


24437 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

damn, Who We Are has got to be one of my least favorite songs by these guys

Crawl
January 11th 2014


2560 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

come on it's cheesy and sentimental as fk but it achieves what it wants to achieve

thecolorbrown
January 12th 2014


72 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the song in context of the movie changes it completely. I heard it a month before seeing the film, and i was so disappointed. But he wrote that song about the kids of the band members, and they are the voices in the song. It is actually a really cool scene when it shows all the kids singing it - and lyrically it's a pretty cool reflection of who the band was when they were just starting.



but musically, it's bad. 1 2 3 4 5.



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