About 24 hours ago I stopped procrastinating and bought Switchfoot’s new CD Nothing is Sound and, man, did I make a good decision.

It is another offering of what we’ve come to expect and love about the San Diego pop/rock band: a mixture of clever, profound and often deeply moving lyrics coupled with catchy tunes and talent-ridden riffs on guitar.

I think Jonathan Foreman, the writer of most of the band’s songs, is something of a modern prophet. The majority of the tracks on the album cut deep into the heart of the problems of western culture. “Stars”, their hit single (and made into a super cool music video), sets the tone by stating, “Maybe I’ve been the problem / Maybe I’m the one to blame” and later “I’ve been thinking about everyone / everyone you look so lonely.” This gets right at the deep individualism that tears at the souls of our society. Halloween is a lame celebration, in my opinion, but at least neighbors connect somewhat. Think about how rare that is!

“Easier Than Love” sheds light on the abuse of sex in our culture. Sex has largely replaced relationship, as Foreman writes: “She (sex) is easier than love, easier than life. It’s easire to fake and smile and bribe / It’s easier to leave / It’s easier to lie / It’s harder to face ourselves at night, feeling alone / What we have done, the moster we have become / Where is my soul?” I wonder if he wrote this in response to shows like Friends and Seinfield. The humor and laughs of this show – and many of our lives – merely masks the emptiness and lack of relationship that characterizes our godless lives. When you’ve fallen for the lie that sex and looking nice is the end of life, it makes sense to leave when things get hard and lie to cover your back.

The mind-blowing success of their last album, Meant to Live, didn’t dilute their faithfulness to Christ in their latest offering.

The brilliance of Switchfoot is that they have discovered a way to preach a message, the message “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”, in a way that thousands are listening to. God bless them. If you ever get tired of the culture war, you will find encouragement in the work of Switchfoot.

Posted by Andrew Selby

  • A youth pastor in my church ironically says that the words in this album have no meaning. Yet what word, poem or lyric can have no meaning? I agree with your analysis that Switchfoot does indeed see and lyrically interpret society. In the music industry, they have witnessed what they have penned and they give through their music, an answer to these societal problems. This album may not be blatantly preaching the Gospel, but it defines the disease and points the listener to the Physician.

  • Tim

    Apparently, Switchfoot has said that “Nothing is Sound” was intended to be at least in part a musical journey through the book of Ecclesiastes. Youth Pastors, unfortunately, usually make poor art critics. Then again, this post itself is coming from an amateur art critic. One recalls Lewis’s reminder that prudence, not just sincerity, is necessary for the Christian life.

    Also, as a point of clarification, their last album was called “The Beautiful Letdown”, not “meant to live”–that was just their hit single.

  • Could Switchfoot be the next U2? I have been a fan of the band from Dublin with their deeply religious lyrics since Joshua Tree in the 80s (dates me doesn’t it?).

    Switchfoot is a great band with some innovative music.

    Thanks for the post.

    Kind regards,

    Bill Rice

  • I love Switchfoot’s music dearly. My amateur art critic opinion: They are no where near the level of U2.

    Not yet, at least. Their arch has been ascending at a steep angle, in terms of quality of music and lyricism, so I remain optimistic, and eager for their next production.

    In the meantime, I listen to “Daisy” everytime I need to let off steam.