The San Diego rock band Switchfoot didn’t need to release a greatest hits compilation, but with Jon Foreman focusing on his solo career and Fiction Family, the band has been itching to let fans know their still kicking. Recently freed from the corporate ties that bind (Columbia/Sony BGM), the band is wandering the country as an independent artist (the band’s own imprint Lowercase People) and looking forward to the years that lie ahead. The greatest hits collection, titled The Best Yet offers up a batch of songs from their major-label albums, as well as their highly-successful, pre-major label albums. Of those songs offered, “Only Hope” and “Love is the Movement,” are the most captivating. But did we really need a glimpse of their earlier songs? Wasn’t 2004’s, Gold-selling The Early Years: 1997-2000 (Sparrow Records) a good slice of pre-major label Switchfoot? Maybe they just love reaching their fans. To date the band has released seven DVDs, six studio albums, two compilations (including this one), and one live album. So maybe they’re just trying to keep their fans happy?
Or maybe it’s a way of drawing in the casual fan? As is well documented, long before their breakthrough, The Beautiful Letdown, Switchfoot was a major name on the California independent and Christian music scene, but I for the life of me can’t really figure out why? The edgy “Concrete Girl” is a bit too abrasive and cookie-cutter and “Learning to Breathe ” just comes across as tepid and mediocre.
Is this really the best the band has to offer? If so, it’s weird to think this band signed a major label album deal. These songs are good, but they’re not great. As is usually the case, the band’s best stuff came to life on its major-label albums, and its most recent offerings. Save for the by-the-book, ballad “Feels Like Home,” from the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian soundtrack, the album is chock full of gloss, professionalism and wholly engaging rock. Though only seven of the 19 tracks actually charted on Billboard, it’s a neat collection of songs no matter how you slice it. Beginning with their mega-hit ballad “Dare You To Move,” and closing with the contemplative “The Beautiful Letdown,” The Best Yet reveals a solid set of 18 pop-rock gems. Varying in tempo from hard-charging alt-rock to smoothly. melodic mid-tempo numbers, there’s little Switchfoot can do wrong. Here’s hoping the next album comes out rather soon. I for one am quite antsy to see what’s in store.
And, if anyone can find me a copy of the Deluxe Edition, please send it!
Disclaimer: I jumped on the Switchfoot bandwagon on the heels of the music video for “Meant to Live.” I don’t own any of their prior stuff and before picking up this album, hadn’t heard anything off of their pre-Beautiful Letdown albums. That being said, I for the life of me can’t find a band more consistent and more compelling than these guys. Their inspiring, contemplative, angsty and always consistent. One day soon I will see them live.
- « Analyst Projections=Prolonged Recession
- » Gary Fields Brings Smooth Standards To Life….And He’s Not Even 30!