For almost twenty years, Switchfoot has been delighting our ears with smart surf-rock, but the real star is always their hopeful and thoughtful lyrics about things that truly matter. Sure, you heard “Meant to Live” 5,000+ times back in 2003, but when you take the time to dig into their back catalog, there are some true gems to be found. To celebrate the release of their tenth album Where the Light Shines Through (buy), let’s revisit just a few of Switchfoot’s best deep cuts.
From 2005’s Nothing Is Sound (buy), “The Blues” is a standout for sure. Fun fact: Jon Foreman’s vocal track is the original demo, and it gives the song a raw, aching feeling to match the desperation in the lyrics.
“Faust, Midas, and Myself”
Oh! Gravity (buy) is the Switchfoot album that sometimes slips through the cracks. It arrived on the tail end of their mainstream success and a few years before their independent comeback. But dig deeper and you’ll find some forgotten gems, like this 21st century cautionary tale where mythic stories meet rock ‘n’ roll.
Honestly, The Beautiful Letdown (buy) has so many epic hits, it’s hard to find a song that everyone doesn’t know. But “On Fire” deserves to be highlighted as a powerful rock ballad worth revisiting over and over.
“Let That Be Enough”
New Way To Be Human (buy) was definitely no sophomore slump. The 1998 alternative record still holds up after all these years. Of course this record gave us the classic “Only Hope,” but “Let That Be Enough” shines just as brightly as an understated acoustic prayer.
“Love is the Movement”
From Learning To Breathe (buy), this is the sort of positive anthem that defines Switchfoot’s career. “Love is the Movement” starts with a low-key groove and thoughtful lyrics, then builds to a stirring finish backed with a gospel choir. Awesome.
“Selling the News”
Over the years, Switchfoot hasn’t backed away from sharp social commentary. But something about “Selling the News” from Vice Verses (buy) stands out. The unusual, almost spoken word style delivery adds an extra layer of urgency to this take down of modern media.
The California coast has always been the backdrop of Switchfoot’s art, and its role in shaping the band has never been more apparent than in Fading West (buy). “Saltwater Heart” blends the ocean imagery and philosophical musings into one uplifting song.
“What It Costs”
Turns out the Fading West sessions yielded far too much music for one album, and some of the extras made their way into the world with The Edge Of The Earth EP (buy). “What it Costs” is worth highlighting not only as a lovely acoustic ballad, but also for being the only song in Switchfoot’s entire catalog where Tim Foreman takes on the lead vocals.