Friday, September 16, 2011

Switchfoot: Vice Verses Review

The alternative rock group Switchfoot needs no introduction. Creator of such songs as “Dare You to Move,” “This Is Your Life,” “Stars,” “Oh Gravity” and plenty more, Switchfoot is one of Christian music’s most beloved Christian rock groups. Perhaps it is their grunge rock sound or their creative, inspirational lyrics; but either way, the band releases their eighth studio project Vice Verses to Credential Records September 27th. Taking about the “polarity of the human experience” as the band puts it, the group takes tension in life and turns it into an awesome twelve-track rock project.

Listeners will be blown away by the opening track “Afterlife,” which contains everything fans love about Switchfoot. Opening with grunge guitars, but holding suspense as it builds until the opening chorus, this track speaks of living here and now: “I’m ready now, I’m not waiting for the afterlife.” I have to be honest that this opening track won me over to Vice Verses even before hearing the rest of the project! “The Original,” more on the playful side, is made of grunge guitar rocks and Jon Foreman’s unique vocals, where at times we hear him talk out the lyrics rather than sing them. This song encourages the listener to be free and be original, rather than like the rest of the world.

“The War Inside” featuring a bit of a techno effect with mundane singing (actually an enjoyable aspect) speaks of the war inside, between our spirit and flesh. “Restless” gets more serious, and slows things down to a more contemporary sound, as it talks about restlessness, and speaks of searching for rest in Jesus. “Blinding Light” follows as a song about non-conformation and individuality, a bit between the hard rock and slower sides.

“Selling the News,” a fun track musically, finds Jon Foreman talking out the lyrics in this narrative track, as Switchfoot speaks about many things that are wrong into today’s world. Consider one of my favorite portions of the track for your consideration: “See money speaks volumes louder than words/ virtues with wings maybe not quite at first/ but salaries are paid by the ads not the verbs/ we’re selling the news.” That “the fact is fiction/ suspicion is the new religion” is the bottom line of this track.

“Thrive” is more of a mellow track, stating that “I want to thrive, not just survive,” while the grunge rock single “Dark Horses” looks on the opposite perspective of the preceding tracks: we are a generation meant to rise up and change the world: “We’re singing, hey! You can’t count us out/ we’ve been running up against the crowd/ yeah, we are the dark horses/ we’re singing wait! It’s not over now/ we’ve been down but we’ve never been out/ yeah, we are the dark horses.” The track ends in a soothing, futuristic feel for the last thirty seconds.

“Souvenirs,” although not slow, was a somewhat sad track, reminiscing about someone in the past, while “Rise Above It” picks up the pace again, encouraging the listener to rise above typical: “It all feels so typical/ guess I’m looking for a miracle/ rise above it/ I don’t care what their telling me/ we could be what we want to be/ rise above it.”

The title track actually surprised me, as I expected another amazing grunge rock track. As it turned out, it was a very peaceful acoustic-guitar track, summarizing the message of the album into one song – “Every blessing comes with it’s set of curses/ I got my vices, I got my vice verses.” The nice, contemporary track “Where I Belong” ends Switchfoot’s Vice Verses talking about the longing we all have to be where we belong, and to leave this world to go home.

I have to be honest: prior to Vice Verses, I was not a Switchfoot fan. However, Vice Verses, their eighth album, is an awesome project, speaking about tension in life. The smooth flow of this project was amazing, as was the blend of the more upbeat grunge tracks with slower acoustic tracks. This is definitely one of Switchfoot’s best projects to date, and is a project that fans of alternative rock, especially long-time fans of the band will find to be extremely enjoyable.

Rating: 4/5
Release date: September 27, 2011

Track listing:
1. Afterlife
2. The Original
3. The War Inside
4. Restless
5. Blinding Light
6. Selling the News
7. Thrive
8. Dark Horses
9. Souvenirs
10. Rise Above It
11. Vice Verses
12. Where I Belong


  1. Can't wait for this album!
    BTW I love your review's Jay! Keep doing what your doing!

  2. Thanks, Ana!! Really appreciate that! :)

  3. Awesome album I love it I listened to ti three times :) I will be listening to it a lot more since I love the album so much Switchfoot rocks!!!!!!!! :)


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