Monday, November 2, 2009

We're Awakening and Land of Broken Hearts Collab: "Hello Hurricane" Review Part 6

Here is the sixth and final part of the We're Awakening/LOBH tag-team "Hello Hurricane" review. For Part 1, go here, for Part 2, go here, for Part 3, go here, for part 4, go here, and for part 5, go here.


"Sing It Out" (4/5)

This song is unlike anything (and I mean anything) the boys have done before. If anything, the closest comparison to a past Switchfoot song I can think of is "Daisy." This song is another grower. If I had reviewed this song first, I would have probably given it a lower review, but listening closely changed my opinion.

It is a slow-building song, with a desolate, haunting tendency –– it feels darker than anything Switchfoot's done. Yet, the chorus somehow captures an optimistic tone.

"Sing it out… sing it out… take what is left of me… make it a melody."

Throughout the first part of the song, a low, almost incoherent pad pervades, before giving way to a burst of guitars in very similar fashion to "Daisy." Not quite as intense, "Sing It Out" feels a little more frail, more unsure of itself, whereas "Daisy" ended in hard-charging fashion.

In no way does it feel superior, however. It's another solid track to the cd.

"Red Eyes" (3.5/5)

The album closes on a quieter note. "Red Eyes," while a little louder than past Switchfoot closers (think "Twenty Four" or "Let Your Love Be Strong"), it isn't nearly as strong as those tunes.

The guitar riff throughout sounds a lot like it could've come from the days of "New Way to Be Human," and it's a welcome addition to the song, although at times, it sounds a bit rushed and sloppy. However, it is raw and emotionally charged, which partially makes up for it.

Perhaps it wasn't the best of songs to end an album with, musically, but it's raw and introspective, which should leave people with something to think about. The "outerlude" features a random assortment instrumentation, as well as a reprise of "Needle and Haystack Life."

"Red Eyes" appropriately bookends an album that began with a song about finding "miracles there in your eyes…" After such an eclectic, varied, energetic, introspective, personal, moving musical journey, all while saying hello to a hurricane, it only makes sense that the end of the road sees us with tired, red eyes…

I'm sure Switchfoot felt the same way after completing this masterpiece for us to enjoy. Those red eyes may have come from the tears poured out while making this record; they may have come from the sheer exhaustion that comes from working on a record for almost two years. Whatever it is, the guys gave it their all while making this album.

"I hope it moves you..."


Sing It Out - 5 out of 5

I have been dreading writing this particular review. I don't know if I can explain why... it's just that... for me? This song is as close to perfection as Switchfoot has ever come. I feel inept and dismally unqualified to review such a masterpiece.

Jon once said that a review tells you more about the reviewer than the actual product, and I think this review is going to showcase that strongly. I LOVE this song. When I first heard it, I was absolutely speechless. It was so... new. So unlike anything Switchfoot had ever done before. I believe I told Romey the song was "haunting", but that's really not the right word. So once I could get my hands on a dictionary, I started searching for a word that would described this song more accurately. Haunting wasn't it. Melancholy? Almost, but there's a hope in this song that the word wouldn't convey. Poignant? Not powerful enough. There doesn't seem to be anything that can concisely convey the emotions in this song.

The beginning stills your soul. It's beautiful. It's pain and it's beauty all in one. Jon's voice is deeper than usual and the quiet longing in his voice is unequivocal. The chorus smolders with a deep passion and fervor, but maintains the throbbing mournful tone of the song.

Again. This song is master class. It will tear you apart.

Red Eyes - 4.5 out of 5

Red Eyes has a long history. It's been around in the Switchfoot catalog for quite some time now; in fact, it was even on the short list of songs for Oh! Gravity. I'm glad this song has finally seen the light of the day.

One of my favorite moments is the beginning, where the song begins like a lullaby, playing a gentle tune, before the guitars kick in with a melodic crunch. However, while the music itself is solid, for me, the real hero of the tune is the lyrics. "What are you waiting for? The day is gone. I said I'm waiting for dawn. What are you aiming for, out here alone? I said I'm aiming for home. Holding on. Holding on..." Those lyrics paint a clear visual in my head. The entire song is intricate, with subtle doses of wistful melancholy. Jon sings the song as only he can - emotionally. "All of my days are spent within in this skin, within this cage that I'm in," he sings, his vocals breaking slightly on the word "cage." This is a song that is going to make you feel something - pain, loneliness, hope - something.

As good as the song is, the very ending outshines everything that went on before. In fact the ending might be one of my favorite moments on Hello Hurricane - and probably one of my favorite Switchfoot musical moments EVER. I don't want to spoil anything for you, so I'll just say this... when I first listened to this song, back in July, all of the guys kept telling me repeatedly to listen to the ending of Red Eyes. When I commented on this to Tim, he laughed but then said seriously, "The ending just ties the whole album together. It brings it full circle."
It does indeed.

In conclusion, I LOVE this record. But it's not an "easy" record. The album has SO much emotion; SO much power; SO much passion, that it's almost overwhelming. It wades into these difficult areas of pain and triumph, and it's almost kind of tough to process everything. The songs are relatable, real, and brutally honest. This album, above all else, will make you feel.

Personally? I feel it's one of the best releases of 2009, and quite possibly, one of the best of Switchfoot's already impressive career.


Jeremy said...

I have to say that I was struck dumb when I heard "Sing It Out" for the first time. The only other song that did that to me when I heard it for the first time: "Bad" by U2. Yep, for me "Sing It Out" is that good!

Job said...

That's a very honorable comparison dude. I love "Bad."