Listen to the New Advent Project by Graham Jones!
Listen to the New Advent Project by Graham Jones!

    For our 8th annual Highlighting feature, we split the year into TWO pieces -- January to June and July to December. Each list contains 15 artists/releases for a total of 30 in total for 2014. So, without further ado, we give you Highlighting First-Half 2014!

  2 of 15  

Album Cover
#2. Switchfoot
Fading West

Release Date: January 14, 2014
Yeah, it's out already, but Switchfoot is one of those bands that just knows how to keep things interesting, and putting together an album that also works as a soundtrack to a movie made about the making of that album makes Fading West more than just another pop rock record. Even before hearing the final product, this was a much-anticipated release for months, and after getting the full Fading West experience (seeing the movie, then hearing the album), there's good reason it's still high up on our list.
        - John DiBiase

Okay, okay, Fading West is already old news to some. But we'd be remissed to not honor this achievement on our list. January is historically a pretty weak month for music, so Switchfoot's latest accomplishment started 2014 off on more than the right note. Experience Fading West's film and soundtrack if you haven't already.
        - Roger Gelwicks

If you haven't picked up Fading West yet, it is well worth your time. This film soundtrack features huge anthemic hooks and a warm, atmospheric vibe that's quite different from the heavy rock-leaning Vice Verses, but they bring some very welcome sunshine to these winter months. The best way I can think to describe it? These songs are alive.
        - Jen Rose

I may have been in the minority in indiscriminately liking Fading West upon first listen (something I had not expected based on the grapevine), but the fact remains that Switchfoot definitely pulled out another quality album.
        - Mark Rice

Few listeners - and, if they're being honest, few folks surrounding the band itself - would have guessed that, when this San Diego trio-turned-quintet turned in their modest, yet thoroughly engaging, debut under the watchful eye of producer Jimmie Lee Sloas, they'd still be at it some 17 years later. While many a fan secretly hopes their favorite group tosses artistic growth to the wind and merely replicates their last release, front man Jon Foreman and his companions have arguably staked the better part of their legacy, particularly in recent years, on their ability to simultaneously confound expectations while somehow managing to still deliver the proverbial goods nearly every time out of the gate. And, as their latest release shows, they've once again managed to do just that.
        - Bert Gangl

There's a reason that Switchfoot has been around for so long, and it might just be because they constantly reinvent themselves. With Fading West, they've done it again and with style. Lyrically challenging and more infectious than ever, it seems like the band isn't planning on stopping anytime soon, and I'm completely okay with that.
        - John "Flip" Choquette

The boys from San Diego made a surfing film (probably a long time dream come true) and scored it with the epic tunes that soundtrack the film. "Love Alone Is Worth The Fight" may be the best song you hear this year. This album made the dark and cold month of January a bit sunnier for many music fans.
        - Alex "Tincan" Caldwell

Switchfoot has earned "buy on release day, even if I've got an advance copy" status for me. This project, with its unique gestation and the accompanying feature film, made me more curious than any before.
        - Mark Geil

  • Visit our Switchfoot page for more information about them...

  • 2014 Countdown:

    15 | 14 | 13 | 12 | 11 | 10 | 9 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1
    Highlighting 2014
    ©January 2014 / June 2014

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