Album Review: Switchfoot ‘Vice Verses’

Switchfoot 'Vice Verses'

The album starts off with the screaming of a wall of sound… Jon yells “I’ve tasted fire I’m ready to come alive’… it’s clear Switchfoot are back and they’ve got something to say… and they’re gonna leave a piece of themselves on this album.

Switchfoots latest album starts of with all the bravado in the world… the attitude of a punk band, the cool of a 80’s rock band with all the riffs in the world to burn, buckle up this album isn’t about comfort and being nice… this album is about the tensions we live in, and the best way to do this it seems is AT HIGH VOLUME… and the boys are not holding back punches with lyrics like

Eyes open open wide
I can feel it like a crack in my spine
I can feel it like the back of my mind
I am the war inside

After a big start to the album Switchfoot give you a chance to rest musically with the song ‘Restless’, but they’re not about to let you rest on what they are wanting to say…  this album deals with what we all deal with, the battle of our soul, the battle of our minds and ‘Restless’ tells us about the search that goes on…

Switchfoot are sounding like a band that have finally found a sound that ‘fits’ them and songs like ‘Blinding Lights’ show they’re not afraid to pull from their sound treasure trove with tonal colours in their music reminiscent of albums like 2003’s ‘Beautiful letdown’

And to add to the tension of the album they boys through in ‘Selling the news’ – when i first heard this on the album  though someone changed the album, vocally it sounds like Jon is somewhere between some kind of circus ringmaster, and a newsboy on the corner

‘I wanna believe you, I wanna believe
But everything is in-between
The fact is fiction
Suspicion is the new religion’

Lyrically this album is so powerful, and the music only adds to the power of the words which just goes to show the strength of Switchfoots songwriting, and the fact that they are at the peak of their powers… and yet they are brave enough to look into themselves and sing ‘I know i’m not right’…

As the album prepares for a landing the band lays it down on the line with the track ‘Rise above it’ a glimpse that we are born for more than this, and yet we’re living in this world that is not perfect and we’re living everyday with the fact that we’re not perfect either, still dealing with our own vices.

This is the first album in a very very long time that i think hits the mark not only lyrically, but muscially and not only that… but being real and truthful and not willing to pull any punches… there is a sense that blood was left on the mat for this one… and it’s powerful in it’s humbleness…

the album end with this;

And when I reach the other side
I want to look You in the eye
And know that I’ve arrived
In a world where I belong

Where I belong

10/10

Album Review: Needtobreathe ‘The Reckoning’

NEEDTOBREATHE 'The Reckoning'

Since hearing Needtobreathe’s song ‘Washed by the Water’ from their 2007 album the heat, I have been following the band with interest… their distinctive ‘southern’ sound.

The band has based their sound around the growl of  their lead singer and main songwriter Bear Rinehart and by doing so they are really on to a winner… by it’s self his voice is both powerful and delicate, but when you add on top of that the harmonies that Bo Rinehart and Seth Bolt add to the mix (and often a good ole’ southern sounding choir) and it turns the atmosphere into something to be a part of… it’s somewhere between an intimate rock concert and a southern church service.

And it brings us to ‘The Reckoning’ – this album is certainly more melancholic than the other albums, but it also has more depth to it at the same time. One of the things that I respect about NtB is the growth that you hear on each album, their craft is broadening and you can here the change from them playing in small gig towns to large stadiums…

The album starts off with ‘Ohhs and Ahhs’  a simple bass and piano and Bear growling rhythmically over top – the rest of the boys come in with some southern harmonies before the song explodes into a layered rock song filled with trumpets and strings and riffs that give you a taste that this album is about to take you somewhere you may not have expected… and then we are launched into ‘White fences’ a cross between an Irish pub singalong session and a southern drink session…

At this point you are thinking “Ok I’ve got a feel of this album” and then they land their first single from the album on you ‘Drive all night’ and it’s a cracker… it’s Matchbox 20 meets Counting crows meets Tom Petty… it’s all rock it’s all southern and it’s melodic, and gives you a taste… and you want more… But like any good band NtB know not to play all their cards in their first half of their albums, and they drop you nicely into the Celtic infused ditty ‘A Place only you can go’ and it is beautiful and it is gentle and it is laced with bagpipes.

‘Slumber’ and ‘The Reckoning’ pick up the rock trail again before the very singable track ‘Able’ which almost has a Gaither band feel in the chorus, and a real tip of the hat to the old southern sound that the boys were most likely grown up with.

‘Maybe there on to us’ reminds me of a Rob Thomas song, it almost has an R&B feel to it.

The album finishes with ‘Learn to Love’ it’s beauty in it’s simplest and it feels like it’s a slow farewell that you expect from a concert…

This is a great southern pop infused rock album, it has enough swagger and drive to keep you interested while taking you on a musical journey through the lives of Bear and Bo Rinehart.

9/10

Here’s the video for ‘Slumber’ the second single from the album ‘The Reckoning’

 

Why do you love me?

I love you because

Image by Scarlet O. via Flickr

Have you ever been in a relationship where someone has asked you the question “why do you love me?”

The correct answer is NOT “because you’re pretty, and you’re smart, and you’re intelligent and you are more fun than all the other girls I met… we have so much fun together” – why not say those things, they sound like good things to say?

The reason you don’t say those things is that you have just put a value on your love… you have said ‘I love you because you’re smart, and witty and intelligent” – that means that for the person you love to feel like they’re loved, they have to keep doing those things… they have to keep up appearances… because THOSE are the reasons you love them.

I recently heard someone answer that question “Why do you love me?” with this answer and I thought it was very very cool… they said this “I love you babe, just because I love you

Now that is cool… love with no strings attached, and it’s not just words or sweet talk either… because there IS NO OTHER WAY for love to operate.

And it’s like that with God… God love you soooooo much… just because HE LOVES YOU.

And THAT factor will transform you and transform your life… if you PERSONALISE IT.

God loves you because HE LOVES YOU… he chased you down, and died for you for no other reason than the fact that God loves YOU.

There are no strings attached like the other relationships that you may have been in…

You don’t have to ‘put out’ once a week…

You don’t have to cook…

You don’t have to hang out with his/her mates…

You don’t even have to look the best ALL the time…

God loves you – just because God loves you.

 

Has the Love Revolution… just missed the point?

All you need is love

We’ve all heard the songs…

“The Power of Love”

“All You Need is Love”

“Love lifts us up where we belong”

And the list goes on…

But we as Christians have jumped onto the band wagon… or should I say we’ve RE-jumped onto the band wagon.

Wasn’t it Jesus who said:

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another – John 13:35

But the world is taking what Christians are (and should) be known for “Love” and changed what it means.

Christians say “We should LOVE the Earth so lets save the planet…” – so what? So do hundreds of other ‘non-christian’ organisations.

Christians say “We should LOVE the poor so lets work in Africa…” – so what? So do hundreds of others ‘non-Christian’ aid agencies.

Christians say “We should LOVE our neighbour’s lets work in our communities…” so what? Other groups are now doing the same…

NOW PLEASE HEAR ME…

I’m NOT saying that we should stop doing these things…

YES we need to be in and helping our community.

YES we need to be helping the poor.

YES we need to keep the planet in a good condition.

Yes, Yes, Yes….

My question is… Have we diluted the GRACE message with a LOVE message that is just like the rest of the world.

What does Christian love look like… that is different from the love message that the world portraits?

We seems to have jumped on the marketing train… and the easiest thing to market is LOVE.

I heard from someone a a few months back that ‘The church is most appealing when the message of GRACE is the most apparent”… and it got me thinking… does that mean that the church is most EFFECTIVE when the message of GRACE is most evident?

i love the book of Acts, it shows where church started, and you see that even the very first church wasn’t perfect… however I’m not sure we’ve progressed as far as we think we have.

As part of the very first church meeting Peter said in Acts:

“We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 15:11

You see that love was the driving force behind what the Jesus was doing (after all God IS LOVE)… but the message of GRACE is the message we are to share with the world…

No one else can copy that…

The church (to a point) is just being ‘nice’ to people… and that in itself isn’t wrong.

However the message the Jesus COMMANDED us to spread… is much greater than a world of being nice, recycling and buying local… because any chump with a heart for people, or the planet or commmunity can do that.

And they do… often better than us!

What they can’t do is show them the grace of Jesus Christ.

This is what is the MOST appealing to the outside world.

Lets rediscover what makes LOVE so amazing.