I was fortunate enough to go to Switchfoot’s amazing Vice Verses concert in Johannesburg around 2 years ago, thus I was very much looking forward to their latest release. Switchfoot’s Fading West album starts off with a feel good sound with ‘Love alone is worth the fight’. This is a great song to kick off the album, because the nature of song is vibrant and upbeat – epitomising the album itself. The album then eases into a similarly uplifting sound of ‘Who We Are’, which included the defiant lyrics of “they said the fight would break us but the struggle helped make us who we are”. ‘When we Come Alive’ has a very catchy melody, with a Hillsong United-esque intro, and further perpetuates the fun element of the album.
‘Say It Like You Mean It’ feels like a background song in a videogame, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but to me, it’s one of the most skip-able songs on the album. The relative dip of that trick is made up for in a big way with ‘The World You Want’, which I feel is the best track on the album. The message behind this song is especially strong, and to me personally, this is one of Switchfoot’s all-time best songs. The song’s goal is to challenge the listener to ensure that their actions are congruent with their words; to combat hypocrisy – which is a message that I think we all need to hear on a regular basis. After doing some research into ‘The World You Want’, I was extremely interested to find reports stating that the background vocals are from the Kuyasa Kids, which is a choir composed of orphans from the Kayamandi township in Stellenbosch (South Africa) who have lost their families to HIV – this is a great touch from Switchfoot, and shows how classy they are as human beings.
‘Ba55’ is a catchy song with a strong spiritual message, containing the resonating lyric of “I believe you’re the fire that can burn me clean”. ‘Let it Out’ has the feel of a song targeted specifically at high school students adopting a YOLO mentality, and is another feel-good, fun, yet slightly unimaginative song with characterising lyrics of “but we don’t care no more ‘cause we know life is short”.
‘Back to the Beginning Again’ is a good way to end the album, and I really like the lyrics of “my heart is yours, and what a broken place it’s in, but you’re what I’m running for” which closes the album off by placing the focus back on how God should be at the forefront of our lives.
While having a couple of really high quality songs, I was simply in a state of “whelmed” after several listens to the album. My expectations may have been set extremely high simply because Switchfoot is Switchfoot – thus for any other band, this would have been a terrific offering, but the poppier style didn’t resonate with me as much as previous albums have. With that said, it’s a fun album that’s great to listen to if you’re in need of spiritual upliftment or just a general good-hearted relaxation period. The depth of the lyrics and the limited diversity of the songs don’t equate to it being Switchfoot’s best album in my eyes, but a very solid album nonetheless!