Thursday, September 3, 2009

"Mess of Me" storming the globe! Also, first "Hello Hurricane" review

Talk about distribution! Switchfoot's new single, "Mess of Me," is emerging all over the world! From Brazil to Canada, the UK to Russia and Iceland. It has appeared on the Golden Gate Bridge, Mall of America, at churches, in schools, campuses, in Chik Fil-A restaurants, under palm trees and on ocean piers, as well as dozens of other places you wouldn't quite imagine seeing a cd single in.

That's the genius of this whole plan by Switchfoot. The giant, world-wide hunt for "Mess of Me" has created a frenzy, and almost without any financial charge, Switchfoot has gotten their music out across the globe. That is what I call utilizing the fanbase to extreme effect. And it's only going to get crazier as more and more people start getting and hiding the song.

If you have gotten the song, make sure you make more than one cd to hide around. You are by all means allowed to hide multiple copies, and are also allowed to share it around online. BUT make sure it makes it to other people one-at-a-time. Mass-transfer of the song will ruin the game. In a few days perhaps it will be ok, but for now, respect what Switchfoot is doing and play along!

By the way, they expect us to keep the ball rolling:

Twitter:
- OK, #messofme is going too fast now! search #messofme &/or @switchfoot to find one in your area, enjoy & pass it on!

--------

Also, the first official "Hello Hurricane" review is in from Stereo Subversion:

Sometimes you have to simplify and do whatever the hell you want. Switchfoot had this epiphany shortly before leaving Sony Records in the summer of 2007, when they decided they just couldn’t get any traction with a company that fired people so often it was impossible for the band to build and maintain any relationships. So they fired themselves, went independent and sought to re-inject some of the life back into their band that had been lost over the previous few years.

Hello Hurricane, their first release of new material on their own label, lowercase people records, is a jarring experience. From the punchy, crunchy guitar rock of “Mess of Me” to the soaring vocals in the ballad “Sing It Out,” Hurricane covers such a broad spectrum of sounds and feelings that it’s not immediately apparent what kind of album this is, and the themes aren’t blatantly obvious either. But listen to this one a few times and a clearer picture begins to form.

One of the central themes present is the two-fold notion of discontent and choosing to do something about it instead of allowing yourself to wallow in it. “Mess of Me” talks about reclaiming the rest of yourself from the wreckage of bad decisions and choosing to live each day with new purpose, while “This is the Sound” is the heavy, raucous song that love uses to put a beatdown on the pain and numbness in life that try to squelch it. Similarly, the title track stands in calm, happy defiance against the trials this life, knowing that they can’t beat this man down.

Lead vocalist/songwriter Jon Foreman has long been known for wearing his emotions on his sleeve (not to mention being so prolific that he has to be a cyborg) whether doing his solo work, tunes for Switchfoot, or his recent collaboration (Fiction Family) with Nickel Creek’s Sean Watkins. Hello Hurricane is no different. At times his vocals soar melodiously into the heavens (“Needle and Haystack Life”), at others they scream cacophonously to whoever will listen (“Mess of Me”). They match the tenderness of a song (“Always”) or the soul’s desire to burst forth into action (“Bullet Soul”). As always, there’s no question that Foreman is a passionate singer.

In a way this album is like a meeting of A Beautiful Letdown and Nothing is Sound, with touches of modern jangly powerpop rock thrown in for good measure. There are moments when Foreman and Co. seek to propel you forward into new, exciting facets of this life, while at others there is a struggling, melancholic introspection of the frailness of the human condition (a detail that is explored most fully in the dark tune “Free”). The lightness of Oh! Gravity is non-existent, and with each successive album the band further distances themselves from the whimsical, clever, self-aware content and themes of their earliest work.

Hello Hurricane isn’t so different that you won’t recognize it as a Switchfoot album, but it has added enough new colors to its palette that it might take a couple listens for the album to really grow on you. The deeper messages of the soul’s longing for more in this life than the everyday are still intact, and the energy vibrates through both halves of the album’s odd structure (the first seven tracks are almost completely rock ‘n roll, while the final five tracks are mostly ballads and subdued numbers), but the way these elements are presented are unfamiliar enough to make you do a double take.

Hello Hurricane is a solid entry in the Switchfoot discography. While lacking the “change your life forever” appeal of A Beautiful Letdown, the cathartic soundscapes and lyrics of Nothing is Sound, or even a catchy and clever single a la “New Way to Be Human,” it nonetheless stands as a testament to their faith in the power of life over merely existing, and the hope that this fact will always be enough to withstand any and all hurricanes that come their way.

--------

^That review sounded fairly favorable. Judging by the tone of the writer, the album seemed to make a solid impression on him, but not a lasting one. That's why he only gave it 6.5 stars.

Also, when he says that it lacks the "catchy and clever single," I would disagree highly. Every song I've heard from the record so far has latched its way into my head for long periods of time. But perhaps, it's all a matter of opinion.

So far, from the two reviewers we've heard from, "Hello Hurricane" hasn't been INCREDIBLE, and still falls to "The Beautiful Letdown," (for them). Of course, any work by Switchfoot is going to indefinitely be compared to Letdown, so we shall see…. I'm just hoping "Hello Hurricane" can help bring Switchfoot from under the shadow of "The Beautiful Letdown." But that's just my opinion.

--------

2 comments:

Bleah Briann said...

Did we expect anything less? LOL

J. M. Richards said...

I'm a big believer in attitude and expectation, always leaving room for surprise. I love Switchfoot, ever since TBL, and yeah, it was a "change your life forever" kind of album. But I also loved "Nothing is Sound" a LOT, and "Oh! Gravity" had a lot of great tracks that I just about wore out playing.
Form what I've heard so far, "Hello Hurricane" will rock, too, and because it's Switchfoot, there will also be the depth and meaning that makes them my favorite band.

People--generally speaking--always seem to want their favorite artists to outdo themselves. Example: audiences were disappointed when not every M. Night Shyamalan movie was as breathtaking as "Sixth Sense"--why? Expectation.

I expect to like--probably LOVE--this album. Will I adore every single track? Probably not, but I rarely do. I can't wait. Anything new from Foreman & Co is good in my book, whether reviewers agree or not. I'm sure I'll find plenty to love about it.

Thanks for posting this review, though--it gave me a sense of what to expect.