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Album Review: Switchfoot - Vice Verses

Posted by Stephanie Williams on 11/02 at 11:49 AM

Grade: A

When I found out that Switchfoot was releasing a new album on September 22, I couldn’t wait to get a hold of it and find out what new material the band had in store. The band was originally known as a Christian rock band, but has transitioned over to more mainstream rock. I really respect the musicians for their ability to put so much emotion, musicality, and a strong message into every song they perform. Vice Verses lives up to that reputation, and enhanced it even more. The album has such an original and unique sound that sets it apart from other musicians in the genre. Also, each song carries an important message that uplifts the listener and provides an inspirational quality.

The opening track for the album, “Afterlife,” actually surprised me at first because it led off with very strong guitars and a heavy rock sound, something much different than their normal, softer sound. However, it turned around and went back to the usual Switchfoot that longtime fans know and love in the refrain with lyrics: “Everyday the world has made a chance to change but I feel the same, and I wonder why I want to die to come alive, I’m ready, I’m not waiting for the afterlife.” It was just the beginning of the powerful messages that were to come in the album.

The Original” brought back the usual sound of Switchfoot with a playful musical background to the lyrics. The lyrics encouraged everyone to “Free yourself…you’re the original.” Essentially, the track was encouraging the individuality that everyone possess and should celebrate. A much darker track, “The War Inside,” talked about the “fight within” and how everyone is suffering from personal battles. The message of the song was very serious, and the repetitive melody really amplified this.

Then “Restless” toned things down and presented a series of lyrics beginning with “I am…” followed by symbolic phrases: “the sea on a moonless night,” “the thorn in your side,” “the one you left behind.” The song was very melodic and had a definite warming quality with the refrain “I am restless, looking for you.” Heavy guitars changed the mood entirely with “Blinding Light.” The track talked about everyone having hidden potential and looking “for the sun to shine and take me higher and higher.”

Selling The News” really brought out the band’s feelings about the amount of truth that is put in to the news today and what we are expected to believe. “Suspicion is a new religion” was a big statement in the song and what really set it apart was a section that was all spoken, almost in a yelling-tone, demanding to know the truth. This track provided an interesting contrast to the next one, “Thrive.”  The instrumental accompaniment brought on an instant calming sensation and a hopeful tone. The lyrics discussed not really knowing who you are and being able to use struggles to grow, not just survive.

Dark Horses” is a song about taking the unbeaten path in life. The track has a very bold sound and really energizes the listener after a calm track. “Souvenirs” is a very reflective track, discussing the ownership one has over memories and looking back in time. It is a very soft, thoughtful song and very enjoyable to listen to.

Rise Above It” brings back the same themes and messages that are present in “Blinding Light.” I found this track to be quite impressive for the musical quality it presented. The band flowed through different sections, retained a balance in the vocals and riffs, and transitioned seamlessly between varying rhythmic sections. The title track, “Vice Verses,” had vocal phrases that were an interesting counterpoint to the main guitar riff and showcased the band’s rhythmic abilities. The song talked about how there is good and bad in every situation we encounter, and the instrumental track conveyed both moods in the song.

Where I Belong pulled through to give the album a strong finish with the lyrics proclaiming: “This body is not my own, this world is not my home, but I can feel my heart beating out, I believe we can live forever.” This message reverberated on motivating the listener to persevere to the end and beyond.

Overall, Vice Verses was a huge success. The album exemplifies everything that I look for in a band when it comes to musicality, variety and the ability to write positive tracks. I strongly encourage everyone to listen to the album. It is available on iTunes and Amazon.com:

{name} Author: Stephanie Williams
Bio: Stephanie Williams is a senior majoring in Public Relations with minors in Business and Psychology. In her free time, she loves to listen to new music, read, see shows and travel. She has had a passion for music and grew up listening to The Beach Boys, Billy Joel and Fleetwood Mac. Although she still loves the oldies her musical tastes have grown to include Ben Folds, The Kooks, David Guetta, and Coldplay as some of her favorite artists today.

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