Wednesday, October 28, 2009

We're Awakening and Land of Broken Hearts Collab: "Hello Hurricane" Review Part 2

Here is part 2 of the We're Awakening/LOBH tag-team "Hello Hurricane" review. For Part 1, go here.


"Your Love Is a Song" (5/5)

"Ooh, your love is a symphony, all around me…"

With these words, this song will capture the listener's imagination and pull them in. "Your Love Is a Song" is as close to a sure-fire pop hit as Switchfoot has come in years. It is gorgeously arranged, navigating the perfect balance between acoustic ear candy and pulsating semi-distorted guitars.

The song begins with a synth-driven wall of sound that is taken from any proven rapper's handbook (it's hard to explain, you'll understand when you hear it). This gives way to a full-blown instrumental intro, the same as what you hear on the first "Hello Hurricane" trailer, before Jon Foreman's surprisingly frail vocal steps in.

It later gives way to his familiar open wail, Jon desperately crying out during the chorus. Drew's perfectly placed guitar melody licks absolutely MAKE the instrumental portion of this song.

If you were forced to tab a song as the next "Dare You to Move," this song is IT. I struggle to find a more moving, beautiful Switchfoot ballad than this one, certainly on this album, but also on "Oh! Gravity." and even "Nothing Is Sound." I would say "The Shadow Proves the Sunshine" still bests this, but the two are so different stylistically it would almost be a moot point to compare… but I digress. It's a great song, a definite highlight on the album, and will be stuck in your head for hours, if not days.

"The Sound (John M. Perkins Blues)" (4/5)

The album quickly and swiftly, almost abruptly, shifts back into pure rock mode, with "The Sound." I would describe the opening riff as a distantly related cousin to the one found on "Bodysnatchers" by Radiohead. But that is where the similarities end. This is no subtle, artsy number –– it's a full-blown, fist-pumping rocker.

Tim Foreman and Chad Butler drive this one starting from the intro to the verse. It's reminiscent in style to "Lonely Nation," where the two rhythm masters from Switchfoot also take charge.

The chorus is simply intense, with the guitarists taking the center stage along with the gang vocals. It makes the hard-charging verse and pumping intro feel quaint at best; needless to say, Jon and co. aren't afraid to let it out for this song.

"This is the SOUND! of a heartbeat, this is the SOUND!" they cry.

Oftentimes, what can be lost with such rock songs is the lyrical content. That being said, "The Sound" may be one of the more challenging songs on the album.

It is essentially a paraphrase of what John M. Perkins said in his book, "Let Justice Roll Down," which Jon has read. In it, Perkins, a civil rights movement advocate, says that America is a haunted nation; the evils and hatred of the past run deep within her veins, running through the streets.

"Our stream of conscience flows, under the streets below"

And yet, despite all of that, Perkins (and Switchfoot) argue that there is a sound, louder than the static hatred: Love.

"John Perkins said it right… Love is the final fight… There is no sound louder than Love."

It's a hopeful tune and rocks as hard as any Switchfoot song has rocked in their 13 years of existence. I foresee this one becoming a fan favorite, once everyone starts to learn it. It has that live energy that is just evident, even in a studio recording.


Your Love Is A Song - 5 out of 5

Jon has stated that this song is the conclusion to a trilogy of sorts - "Let Your Love Be Strong", "Your Love Is Strong", "Your Love Is A Song." So, in preparation for this review, I decided to listen to the three songs in sequence, to more fully understand where this particular song is coming from. Without sounding too corny, I guess I'd label the three songs as follows: A plea; A prayer; A promise. All the ideas, struggles and pain that Jon explored on the previous installments are touched on here, but the approach is completely different. I feel like this song, above all, is a song of hope. "Oh your love is a symphony, all around me, running through me. Oh your love is a melody, underneath me, running to me, oh your love is a song." There's no doubt in the chorus. No anguished plea. Just a simple, bold and beautiful statement. As I listen to the album, I keep catching onto a running theme: holding on. Holding onto hope desperately with all that you have, even when life is crashing around you and everything seems utterly lost. I sense that theme strongly throughout the course of this song. "I've got my eyes wide open, I've been keeping my hopes unbroken."

Lyrically, this song simply soars. The music and lyrics together become a journey that sweeps you along and leaving you with an oddly voyeuristic feeling. Personally, I feel this is the most "beautiful" and accessible song Switchfoot has ever created. The emotion and music will simply not leave your mind.

I predict people are going to fall in love with this song... and fall hard.

The Sound (John M. Perkins Blues) - 5 out of 5

This song has become one of my favorite tunes on the record, and I think I have to give Tim the credit for that one. For me, his backing vocals in the chorus just MAKE this song. If you watch a live performance of "The Sound", you'll notice it's Tim's vocals that give this song that extra jolt of energy and drive. Another person I need to champion would be Chad. His drumming on this album has reached a whole new level. I normally don't hear the drums on albums... to me they're an intrinsic part of the music, but not something that I ever notice separately. However, as I play the CD, I find myself listening for the drums, trying to tune everything else out and focus solely on them. Chad has managed to capture a tangible energy and life into his beats, and it grabs (and holds!) your attention.

Lyrically, this is another Foreman masterpiece. A song that gets your blood flowing with it's pulsing and pounding music. The lyrics are gripping. "The static comes in slow, You can feel it grow, Our stream of conscience flows, Under the streets below..." I find that visual to be brilliant.

Besides Tim's vocals, my favorite part of this song is the pause right after the second chorus... everything stills but in the background, you hear something start to slowly build... building... building... then "DOWN!" Jon screams out.


No comments: