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[ Switchfoot - The Best Yet ]

When i heard that there was a greatest hits project planned for Switchfoot, i had my normal reaction - a slight groan and a roll of the eyes. you see, Switchfoot is now an independent band and The Best Yet is scheduled to release on their former label, Sparrow Records. Generally, this means that the label is just trying to get a little extra mileage out of the songs. Of course, there are two sides to the issue and, even though they've been featured in the Walk TRu a number of times already, Switchfoot is back, and this is the best yet...

Track One: Dare You to Move... speaking of getting extra mileage out of a song, this one was featured on two albums (one of which released in at least three different iterations)... but when it was finally released as an official single, it did pretty well, i think... David Cook sang this on American Idol this season as well, so the song seems to never age... in fact, it still feels pretty fresh right now as it's playing... i love the energy that builds up to the final strains... Track Two: Meant to Live... this song has such a cool intro... i always get a little giddy when bands utilize the stereo aspects of their recordings... this one is also off of The Beautiful Letdown, which marked the beginning of the group's foray into the "mainstream"... the message of the song and the presentation is still spectacular and i'm sure helped establish them on the big stage... Track Three: Stars... i remember first hearing this song under the stars at the great Creation Festival of 2004... i wasn't terribly impressed at the time because it was hard to really make out what they were saying and i thought that the melody was a bit too familiar... even when it released as a single, i didn't give it much attention, but somewhere along the line, it became one of my favorite songs to go hoarse singing along with... i love how it reminds you to look around and realize how small you are in the grand scheme of things... a cry to take in the bigger picture... and the chorus just really soars and the guitar riff is pretty sweet... Track Four: Oh! Gravity... by the time this album came out, i think it had kind of become a proving ground for Switchfoot... in some sense, Nothing Is Sound bombed with less singles than The Beautiful Letdown and a bit of controversy regarding copy protection... (and really, 550k units is NOTHING compared to the 2.6mil of the previous album - of course, the shadow proves the sunshine)... anyway, this tune sparks off the new album with a touch of experimentation and that good old rock and roll that the kids like these days... this is a quick 2 and a half minutes though... Track Five: This Is Home... my first experience with this song, from Caspian, the second Narnia movie, was in April, watching Switchfoot kick off the Music Builds Tour... they had this song tucked into the setlist and it was a nice change of pace... i've since come to really appreciate the message of the song and i love that it's something of a ballad, because i think that Jon handles ballads pretty well... Track Six: Learning to Breathe... now this one digs back in the crates a bit to a time when i was one of the few who had even heard of Switchfoot... this was the band on the verge of breaking through... the third official album from Re:Think and a continuation of all that i enjoyed about them... this is the album that introduced "Dare You to Move" and had the wacky TV headed stick figures on the cover... hello good morning, how do you do?... Track Seven: Awakening... one of my early favorites from Oh! Gravity just happens to be one of the more straight-forward rockers on the album... i've come to appreciate more and more the growth that they've shown elsewhere on the album, but this was the song that kind of bridged the gap between the new and the old... it revisited the theme of wanting to live for more than what has been presented to us by the culture around us... a call to action... breaking through our inhibitions and YEAH... awakening... Track Eight: This Is Your Life... also on this theme... i remember hearing a demo of this song way back when and it was such a cool rhythm and departure from their previous work that it really stood out... of course the chorus really sticks with you and asks that tough question... not just the obvious question that's written into the lyrics, but also, what are you going to do about it?... of course, i'll never hear this song again without remembering the conversation i had with my son as he tried to sing along and i corrected the lyrics for him... "no, it's 'are you who you want to be?'"... "oh, i want to be Buzz Lightyear, Star Command!"... classic... Track Nine: On Fire... you know, there are six songs from The Beautiful Letdown on this greatest hits album, making up a third of the total... and the thing of it is, they all are great songs... in fact, you could make a case for a few more to make the cut, but there's only so much space on a CD... this is probably why i keep the entire Switchfoot catalog on my hard drive and iPod... they're among a very elite group, since i'm constantly running low on space... anyway, another wonderful ballad... even more of a ballad than "This Is Home"...

*** INTERMISSION (maybe it's cheating but i'm falling behind on this typing and i need to go stretch) ***

Track Ten: Only Hope... continuing in the ballad mode... this is a heart-wrenching song... not just because Mandy Moore sang it in A Walk to Remember, but also because it's just a great song about the frustrations about trying and failing in the world because our focus is in the wrong place... we all struggle to be good enough... strive to be accepted... spin our wheels endlessly in an effort to accomplish... anything... and, really all we can do is "lay [our] head back down and lift my hands and pray to be only [His]"... what a powerful song... i've got a Left to Write coming soon with these lyrics in mind... Track Eleven: Dirty Second Hands... i'm not sure if this was an official radio single, but it was one of the preview tracks that they used to tease us about the new album before it released... a bit different from the title track, but still hitting on similar themes and showing that the group was working on growing and expanding their wheelhouse, so to speak... Track Twelve: Love Is the Movement... i always liked this song's message... and i found myself singing the lyric to myself many times, but the chorus never really sat well with me... i'm not entirely sure why, but it's just a driving little rhythm and a simple lyric... and everything else about the song i really like... just the style or something... oh i love this bridge though... this is a revolution... i guess it kind of just feels like you're marching in a line and it seems to formal and orderly for something as revolutionary and radical as love... maybe that's it... that's what i'm feeling now... Track Thirteen: Company Car... sadly, this is the only entry from New Way to Be Human, which just happens to be my favorite Switchfoot album on any given day... except for this song, actually... this was always one of my least favorites... again, i'm not sure why, and i sing along just the same, but i'm pretty surprised by its popularity... check me out... i've got the company car... maybe if i had a company car... maybe, then... Track Fourteen: Lonely Nation... one of the better songs from Nothing Is Sound and one that i'm still surprised was never released as a single... i think it would've played really well to the radio... in fact, it still would... i mean, who doesn't want to hear about how the corporate world exploits us as a whole and just uses us for market research and expanding the influence of their company?... that's what everyone is aware of these days... we're all hip to the games... and we all want more than a lonely nation... Track Fifteen: The Shadow Proves the Sunshine... my favorite, favorite song from Nothing Is Sound... i think it picks up stylistically where "This Is Your Life" left off... the use of the drums is just great... and i love the lyric... it just reaches into such a dark place of questioning and frustration and uncertainty and drizzles in the beams of light that we all need to reflect on to understand that we're not alone and that we're not failing and that it's all under control... just not necessarily our control... Track Sixteen: Concrete Girl... and now we're back to the very beginning with the sole entry from Legend of Chin, which i distinctly remember buying from a hole in the wall, privately owned Christian bookstore after having seen Chem 6A on CCM-TV or Z Music or something like that... it only took me the one song and i've been pretty much hooked on the group since... i could make a case for a number of other songs on that album to have been included as well or in place of this one, but this represents the album pretty well... Track Seventeen: Twenty-Four... another strong ballad and another solid entry from The Beautiful Letdown... this song almost feels like it's a bonus track... probably because it closed the album and it was stylistically distinct from the previous few tracks... my boys used to sing this song rather often as well, "oh a oh, oh a oh, i am a singing man"... yeah... it's great having kids... and it's great to be able to introduce and share music like this with them... i'm forever haunted with the thought of not being who i thought i was... and the image of wrestling with angels for more than a name... man, it's just a great song... Track Eighteen: The Beautiful Letdown... this is the first song beneath the fold on the album, the title track, and all that jazz... and i didn't care for it all that much... sure enough though it grew on me rather quickly and the lyric "I will carry a cross and a song where I don't belong" is one of the coolest thoughts... well, anyway... it's about time to move on... it's been fun... and i suppose it's worth noting that i don't have the official disc for this... i just built the playlist in iTunes and went from there... since i have them all, it was just easier for me... i had my own Switchfoot mixtape a while back... i wonder where that went to... thanks for walking with me...

for more info: Switchfoot.com - MySpace - SparrowRecords.com

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