Switchfoot, originally known by the name Chin Up, is about to enter their 23rd year as a band. Thankfully, they changed their name, but haven’t changed in their consistent artistry through the years. Now, about to release album number eleven, January 18, 2019, I thought I’d share my fourteen favorite lesser known songs from their catalogue. These span the years, and are no means exhaustive, just the ones I’ve connected with to varying degrees. Hope you discover a new (old) favorite, or enjoy being reminded of a tune once forgotten! In no particular order...
“Evergreen” - Happy Christmas Vol. 1 (1998)
A Switchfoot Christmas song! I hear shades of rawness, a la their debut, and pieces of what was coming in their follow up New Way To Be Human. Terrific song.
“Spirit” - Listen Louder Compilation (1999)
A worship song if there ever was one, this is Switchfoot in a way rarely seen since, as their mission expanded to include more mainstream listeners. A perfect companion to songs like “Let That Be Enough” and “Only Hope” from the same period.
“C’mon C’mon” - Oh! EP (2006)
A steady acoustic guitar strum and Foreman Pastorally encouraging listeners to not live in the past, but press forward into the future. Nothing super special here, though still a solid tune.
“The Sound In My Mouth” - Oh! EP (2006)
Definitely a Oh! Gravity-ish song, this one is Jon calling himself out on the truth from Proverbs that, “the power of life and death is in the tongue.” They must have been on a Rolling Stones listening kick, because I hear their influence all over this upbeat one.
“Connect With The Spine” - Eastern Hymns For Western Shores (2010)
Musically this seems like it would have fit perfectly on the Oh! Gravity album. I like the gentle beginning and the swirling strings paired with Jon’s yelping “yeahs” to end the song. This one should have made an album somewhere along the way in my opinion.
“Overflow” - Eastern Hymns For Western Shores (2010)
A mid-tempo song with ominous tones about overthrowing your own wicked heart before pointing fingers asking for an overthrow of the government. Perhaps more apropos now than ever we need this reminder in our polarized nation.
“Slow Down My Heartbeat” - Edge Of The Earth EP - (2014)
Perhaps the most “known” of the lesser known Switchfoot catalogue, I picked this one as it’s pretty deeply buried on the companion EP to the Fading West album. The song itself starts slowly with an electronic beat, and slowly builds as he sings “slow down my heartbeat,” with beeps and blips aiding an otherworldly sound until it collapses into musical chaos, only to slowly conclude. Much of the song reminds me of what Radiohead has done well for many years.
“Good Night Punk” - Nothing Is Sound B-Side (2005)
A short (and sarcastic?) piano based song from the Nothing Is Sound era. This one playfully takes to task those that mistakenly claim punk as a genre versus an attitude. Never fear Jon, I think you’re “punk enough.”
“Another Christmas (Old Borego)” - Nothing Is Sound B-Side (2005)
A Christmas based loved song to a significant other, and a city? Seemingly, Foreman is broke but in love with both regardless. Favorite line, “this town is a thirty-five Ford in a bad mood.” Another song from the Nothing Is Sound timeframe.
“Daylight To Break” - Eastern Hymns For Western Shores (2010)
Easily my favorite from the Eastern Hymns...EP, and perhaps my favorite Switchfoot rarity/B-side ever. Its Beach Boys harmonies and surf rock guitar vibes make it a perfect summer song for the car.
“We Are Bound” - “Eastern Hymns For Western Shores (2010)
Anchored by a chiming guitar time similar to hit song “Dare You To Move,” this one is somewhat dark sounding. The ending is my favorite part, though I don’t revisit this song much.
“Rebuild” - Independently Released (2007)
A Co-penned Jon Foreman and Matt Thiessen tune featuring both on vocals, and Ruth leader singer on harmonica? Yup, and it’s catchy goodness written to garner more support for organization Habitat For Humanity.
“Light & Heavy” - Where The Light Shines Through (Deluxe Edition)(2016)
A song using Greek mythology (Icarus, Daedalus, Ariadne) to try and make sense of seemingly senseless death from Daedalus’ perspective; this might be my second favorite Switchfoot rarity. The bass guitar sets the meandering groove, as the heavy drums join a lightly strummed guitar, all delivering a satisfying juxtaposition.
“Stitches” - Hello Hurricane Deluxe Edition(2009)/Eastern Hymns For Western Shores (2010)
Short on lyrics but that doesn’t mean there aren’t depths to explore. What are the stitches that he’s trying to escape from? I have my thoughts, but I’ll leave you to make your own conclusions. Though released later (2009/2010) the guitar and music remind me of late Nothing Is Sound or Oh! Gravity 2005-2008, and it’s likely when beginning stages of the song we’re birthed, though I could be wrong.
So there it is! Which did you already know, and what did you just discover? What did I miss?