15 Songs, 1 Hour

EDITORS’ NOTES

The San Diego alt-rock vets find hope in darkness. Their tenth LP, Where the Light Shines Through is an uplifting set of shimmering anthems (“Shake This Feeling”) and athletic grooves (“Float”) that even sees the GRAMMY® winners join forces with Lecrae on the moody rap-rock highlight, “Looking For America.”

Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The San Diego alt-rock vets find hope in darkness. Their tenth LP, Where the Light Shines Through is an uplifting set of shimmering anthems (“Shake This Feeling”) and athletic grooves (“Float”) that even sees the GRAMMY® winners join forces with Lecrae on the moody rap-rock highlight, “Looking For America.”

Mastered for iTunes
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Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
406 Ratings
406 Ratings
A00077 ,

Switchfoot Heals Wounds On “Where The Light Shines Through”

TL;DR: Lyrically, musically, and conceptually, Where The Light Shines Through is one of the best albums of Switchfoot’s career.
Switchfoot released Where The Light Shines Through in 2016, nearly twenty years after they released their debut album. Musically and lyrically, this album is an aggregate of their past catalogue, featuring influences drawn from each record. The album still sounds fresh and relevant in the modern music scene.

WTLST is thoughtful and fun, and this comes out in both the lyrics and music. The album fits well into the Pop Rock category, with influences from disco (Float), anthems (Shake This Feeling), jam guitar (Where The Light Shines Through), and ballads (I Won’t Let You Go). As with all Switchfoot albums, the feel of California beaches weaves through the music. The instruments are standard rock fare - keyboards, piano, electric / acoustic guitar, analog / digital drums – but there is enough variety in the composition to prevent the album from becoming repetitive. This also lends itself well to the album’s musical consistency, as no song feels out of place. The production is great; listeners can expect to differentiate individual guitar parts, even the tone of distortion on songs with many layers. Jon Foreman’s vocals also have a relaxed, yet soaring quality, in each of the songs.

I appreciated the album’s release strategy as a Deluxe Edition. For the consumer, this means that the band put out the “real” album (12 songs), with five additional tracks. In the iTunes age, this gives the listener the opportunity to replace songs that may not be appealing with more preferable options. So if the listener only liked eight of 12 songs, the favorite tracks can be supplemented with extra songs. This gives the listener more options and helps to create a better experience. Out of the 15 songs on the Deluxe Edition, I kept 12, 10 from the standard and two from the deluxe.

Jon's brand of uplifting lyricism with spiritual overtones matches the album's music well. What separates Switchfoot from many Pop Rock outfits is the use of thoughtful, fun, and challenging lyrics. Jon is known for composing based on the writings of thinkers, philosophers, and theologians he admires (ex. Soren Kierkegaard; Dietrich Bonhoeffer). Jon’s lyrics are accessible enough for the lay poet or rock fan, but complex enough to inspire the listener to think about the deeper meaning and personal application of each song. Sometimes Jon is straight-forward in his message (“money gonna run away hardest / money gonna leave you broken-hearted” from Float), and other times, the words require listeners to interpret the meaning (“my enemies weren't the ones I had fought / my liberties weren't the freedoms I had sought / what I learned weren’t the lessons I’d been taught”, from The Day I Found God). Among the serious and philosophical, are more light-hearted pieces (“baby says she's got that feeling / Moonwalking on the ceiling… baby's in that slow emotion / Moonwalking on the ocean”, from Float).

The consistent lyrical themes throughout the album are struggle (“when your fear is currency / and you feel that urgency / you want peace but there's war in your head”, from I Won’t Let You Go), faith (I want more than just a crutch to lean on / yeah I'm looking for that freedom / so let's go there / to the healer of souls”, from Healer Of Souls), and healing (“take the burden from my arms / take the anchors off my lungs / take me broken and make me one / break the silence and make it a song”, from Live It Well), with the occasional topical song (America). Despite being open about struggle, many of the lyrics reflect a fight for hope (“I wanna sing with all my heart a lifelong song / even if some notes come out right and some come out wrong… I got one life and one love / I got one voice, but maybe that's enough”, from Live It Well). The centerpiece of the album, Where The Light Shines Through, brings pain, healing, and hope together in one package (“when you're feeling like an astronaut / stuck on a planet even time forgot / and another bottle on the shelf can't numb the pain… the only tattoos I have are scars / I got your name written on my heart… cause your scars shine like a dark star / yeah, your wounds are where the light shines through”).

By comparison, WTLST sounds like a turn-of-the-century Pop Rock album. Fans who grew up in the nineties and early 2000s will recognize similar song structures and guitar tone as Switchfoot’s earlier The Beautiful Letdown, and both of Third Eye Blind’s and Tonic’s eponymous albums. Switchfoot’s brand of hopeful, thought-provoking rock is still present, but with more complex guitar, and lyrics that carry a coherent message across the entire album. For long-time Switchfoot fans, this album is a culmination of the band's past records and influences, as well as a high point of Jon’s lyrical maturity. WTLST may not have all the big hits from The Beautiful Letdown, but it is consistently better and more cohesive.

I enjoy listening to Switchfoot on my 45-minute morning drive to work. This album’s perspective helps to get my mind ready for the day. If the listener is looking for a light-hearted album with spiritually relevant, uplifting lyrics, Where The Light Shines Through is a good choice.

116ATWT ,

Great Album

Great Band
Keep doing it
for Jesus!🙏

EngageAsp95 ,

Lit

Holy water is a great song

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