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Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|1. Needle And Haystack Life|
|2. Mess Of Me|
|3. Your Love Is A Song|
|4. The Sound [John M. Perkins' Blues]|
|5. Enough To Let Me Go|
|7. Hello Hurricane|
|9. Bullet Soul|
|11. Sing It Out|
|12. Red Eyes|
2009 release from the Alt-Rock band, their seventh album overall. Hello Hurricane was recorded by the band and produced by renowned Hip Hop bassist and producer Mike Elizondo, known for his work with the likes of Dr. Dre, Eminem, 50 Cent, Pink, Maroon 5 and Fiona Apple. The album's driving and urgent first single, 'Mess of Me', powerfully demonstrates the edge behind the new tones. Not content to settle into a single groove, the band moves from the high flying album opener, 'Needle and Haystack Life,' to songs like the stirring 'Always' and the sweetly soaring 'Your Love Is A Song'.
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The album grabbed my attention right from the opening notes of "Needle and Haystack Life", which will thrill long-time Switchfoot fans, and probably win them new fans with the U2-esque epic feel and extremely catchy music and lyrics. This is one of those albums that is meant to be experienced in the order it is arranged as lead single "Mess of Me" switches gears musically and brings a new grunge-type sound with the passionate lyrics "I wanna spend the rest of my life alive!". My favorite new Switchfoot song is next, "Your Love Is A Song" in the style of "On Fire" from The Beautiful Letdown. I've enjoyed this band since New Way To Be Human released in 1999 and Hello Hurricane truly brings a great mixture sonically and stylistically that fans of rock anthems, alt-rock and grunge-rock will enjoy. "The Sound" will also have you shouting along with Jon, whose vocals have never sounded better and musically this song reminded me of "Stars" and "We Are One Tonight" from Nothing Is Sound, my previous favorite Switchfoot album. There is little that reminds me of Oh! Gravity, other than maybe the up tempo but more refined sounding rock songs that perfect the sound introduced with the title track and "Awakening".
Some other highlights for me come towards the end of the album, which cools down with "Always", a truly inspirational song in the style of "Twenty-Four" with this great bridge: "Hallelujah!, I'm caving in, Hallelujah! I'm in love again, Hallelujah!, I'm a wretched man, Hallelujah!, every breath is a second chance". "Always" transitions beautifully to "Bullet Soul", another Switchfoot anthem which will have you moving with a great guitar riff and a call to action "are you ready to go?". As if the album didn't have enough hooks, my next favorite track comes next with the ballad "Yet" a gorgeous contemplative song with a sincere chorus: "I'll sing until my heart caves in, no, you haven't lost me yet".
I find myself singing at the top of my lungs with each song and "Your Love Is A Song" is one of my top 20 songs of the year. For me, Hello Hurricane is now the best overall album by Switchfoot and is one of my top 5 albums of 2009. The standout songs are "Needle and Haystack Life", "Mess of Me", "Your Love Is A Song", "The Sound", "Always", "Bullet Soul" and "Yet".
However, after this trying journey they rediscovered their sound and their identity, emerging with their best and most well-rounded album since The Beautiful Letdown, which has an excellent blend of what the Switchfoot sound and identity consists of: passionate and hard-hitting rock anthems (eg. Mess of Me, Free, Bullet Soul) to the soulfully mellow ballads (eg. Sing It Out, Your Love is a Song) to the catchy almost pop-rock hits (eg "Hello Hurricane," "Needle and Haystack Life," and "Yet"), all with thought-provoking and soul-searching lyrics. While you may not appreciate every track equally given the variety of styles as described, you won't find a bad track in the album. If you've liked any Switchfoot album in the past, this will definitely quickly become one of your favorites (if not the favorite).
1) Needle and Haystack Life (4.5/5) - A catchy rock tune with U2-reminiscent verses that give way to classic Switchfoot soaring vocals in the chorus. If I had to compare it with a previous Switchfoot song, it reminds me of "Dare You To Move." Lyricly, it discusses the beauty and miracle in human life: "In this needle and haystack life / I found miracles there in your eyes / It's no accident we're here tonight / We are once in a life time."
2) Mess of Me (4/5)- This was their first single and has been receiving steady airplay. This reflects the progression and maturity of Switchfoot as a rock band: it utilizes a heavy electric guitar riff, driving drum beat, and includes a bold bridge. What stands out the most to me is the way that lead singer Jon Foreman injects passion into every syllable, as he sings "I want to spend the rest of my life alive!"
3) Your Love Is a Song (4.5/5) - Self-described as a third in a trilogy of songs ("Let Your Love Be Strong" from Oh! Gravity, and "Your Love is Strong" from Jon Foreman's "Limbs and Branches" EP) as he contemplates the concept of love and grace. This is the first of several slower ballads, which are personally some of my favorite songs on the album. Lyrically and musical, this is a beautiful song: "oh Your love is a symphony / all around me, running through me / oh Your love is a melody, underneath me, running to me."
4) The Sound (John M. Perkins Blues) (4/5) - Another edgy rock track in the vein of "Mess of Me," this consists of strong electric riffs that blend into a melodic pre-chorus which ultimately leads into a punctuated, hard-hitting chorus. While the intensity and borderline shouts in the chorus can be off-setting and harsh at times, it reflects the rawness of emotion that the band experiences as they cry out for the world to be transformed by a movement defined by love.
5) Enough to Let Me Go (4/5) - This is more of a light rock love song with evidences of influence from U2. It is driven by a simple yet beautiful acoustic guitar riff accompanied by a steady beat and the occasional electric guitar ornamentation. It explores the theme of how love actually requires faith and letting go. "Do you love me enough to let me go? / To let me follow through / to let me fall for you?"
6) Free (5/5)- My personal favorite of the harder rock songs, I think it represents the perfect blend of edginess, passion, and melody without becoming overly punctuated (ie some of the shouts/screams in "The Sound" and "Bullet Soul"). Lyrically, Jon Foreman is crying out to be liberated from himself, often using the powerful line "Inside this shell there's a prison cell."
7) Hello Hurricane (4.5/5) - The title-track of the record, this song is a catchy rock hit that could see success on multiple formats (Rock, Alternative, Pop), much like "Needle and Haystack Life." This song discusses the theme of overcoming hardships and tragedies: "hello hurricane, you can't silence my love / I'm a fighter fighting for control."
8) Always (5/5) - Already a hit on inspirational radio stations, this song is a ballad that discusses the timeline of human life, beginning with infancy/entering this world, transitioning to heartbreak/tragedy, and then finishing with restoration/peace that comes with surrendering one's life and doubts. This song reminds me most of "On Fire" from The Beautiful Letdown, which is definitely a great thing.
9) Bullet Soul (3/5) - The last of the harder rock anthems, this was personally my least favorite track on the album, but many listeners could very well rank it among the highest, depending on which end of the musical spectrum (from mellow to heavy) they enjoy most. I personally found some of the "screams" near the edge of the album off-setting. However, like stated previously, I could see many listeners liking this song for the same reasons.
10) Yet (4.5/5) - A steady lighter rock song with a cool, laid-back, yet driving feel. The blend of bass guitar and rhythm (created both synthetic and actual drums) with Jon's soothing voice make this song one of my favorites. Lyrically, this songs poses a very thought-provoking statement when Jon sings: "if it doesn't break your heart, then it isn't love."
11) Sing It Out (5/5) - After a few listens, this song has became my favorite track on the album. Completely in line with the thoughts expressed by the lyrics, the verses really embody a feeling of "lostness," in which there is no clear sense of rhythm and just an underlying pool of noise. Then, the soaring vocals emerge from the depths to cry out "Sing it out, Sing it out / Take what is left of me / and make it a melody." The haunting music penetrated by hopeful vocals reflect the hope that brings comfort during dark times.
12) Red Eyes (4/5)- this song signals an emergence from the now-passed hurricane (described by Jon Foreman at a recent concert), opening with a peaceful and melodic hailing of bells and chimes. Now that darkness has passed, Jon focuses on maintaining a perspective that is focused on not becoming complacent and falling back into the routine of life. Rather, he reminds us to focus on the grander themes of life, such as wonder, forgiveness, and hope. The album closes by giving way to evidences of chaos and some lyrics of the first track, signaling the cyclic nature of hurricanes.
Before I get started with this review, there's something that Jon Foreman--the lead vocalist of Switchfoot, also known for his solo project and work in Fiction Family--said about Hello Hurricane that I really agree with. This album is not one that you can listen to and enjoy and not know a single thing about the story behind the music. Each individual song has a unique message about love and hope that has really touched me. That's one great thing about this album. Rarely do you find music with this much meaning put into it. Looking through the tracklist, I can't think of a single song that--while reading Foreman's commentary on--I didn't have a "wow" moment during, whether I said it in my head or out loud. This album has made an impact on me like none this year. And so that you can experience this album the same way that I did, head over to Jesus Freak Hideout's song lyrics database and look up Switchfoot's Hello Hurricane to read the commentaries provided by Jon Foreman. Sure it's a lot of reading material, but it is well worth your time.
Having nearly a hundred songs to work with for Hello Hurricane might have seemed a bit overwhelming for the band, but you can bet they had plenty of good ones to choose from. Some bands go into the studio and do all of their writing at that time--Switchfoot is obviously not one of those bands. So to be able to work with and experiment to see which of these tracks would be the absolute best for the album, the guys in Switchfoot built their own studio so that they could take their time picking through each song. I can tell you now that all of their work payed off. With the exception of the final track, "Red Eyes," which didn't really catch on for me, there is not a single track that I would be able to overlook when listening to the entire album.
The song-writing, as usual, is strong. Without a doubt strong enough to withstand a hurricane. Jon Foreman is a master of song-writing, made evident most recently by the work put into his solo projects. Switchfoot's lyrics separate them from the mediocre song-writing that is found so often in our day and age. Songs like "Your Love Is A Song," "Enough to Let Me Go," "Always," and "Sing it Out," are some of the best. For those looking for the fun rock style of Switchfoot's biggest hits, I think the phenomenal lyrical content of this album might make up for what it lack in heaviness. Of course, you do have tracks like "Mess of Me," "The Sound (John M. Perkin's Blues)," "Hello Hurricane," and "Bullet Soul," that you can still have a great time listening to. And that isn't to say that all of the slower-paced tracks don't sound any good. Quite the opposite--they sound fantastic. Switchfoot is not your average group of guys--to go with the great song-writing, their musical genius is without a doubt some of the best in the industry. Switchfoot could take on any genre, and I'm positive it would sound great. The perfect combination of exceptional lyricism and music makes Switchfoot such an exceptional band.
From the chorus of "Needle and Haystack Life," you know you're in for something good. Foreman sings, "In this needle and haystack life/I've found miracles there in your eyes/It's no accident we're here tonight/We are once in a lifetime." The lead single off the album "Mess of Me" has really distorted electric guitars that create a unique sound. The same sound is used again in a few latter tracks, giving them a fun style that isn't like every other rock song on the radio. "Your Love is a Song" is a beautiful song, one of the strongest on the album. It's a great metaphor of God's love and a fantastic worship song. Foreman's vocals sound almost perfect on this track, and the instrumentals are moving. "The Sound" breaks the calm that was set by the previous track. From the start, you know it's destined to gain popularity. Already, millions of people have heard it through the newest Blackberry Storm 2 commercial. It's great that a Christian band can display their music to such a wide audience. And Hello Hurricane is not overly oblique about God being a huge part of these guys' lives, so I'm sure they're planting a seed in plenty of people's hearts. "Enough to Let Me Go" is a song that, again, talks about love, but this time talks about how it is not selfish. The acoustic sound that the song carries is great. "Free" is a darker song that asks God to free us from ourselves, kind of like the same idea as "Mess of Me."
There are a lot of recurring themes throughout Hello Hurricane. Sometimes that could be a bad thing. For example, there are albums that have songs again and again that talk about some breakup or bad relationship. But the topic of God's love and asking to be saved from the hurricanes that plague our lives can never get old. And, frankly, I don't think it's a topic that's talked about enough. We hear about worldly love all the time, but God's love is just so much more powerful.
The title track is another fun one, singing "Hello hurricane, you're not enough/Hello hurricane, you can't silence my love/I've got doors and windows boarded up/All your dead end fury is not enough/You can't silence my love." "Always" is another beautiful song, following in the steps of "Your Love is a Song." Another highlight that uses great metaphors to describe God's love for his children. It compares a father's love for his newborn son to God's love for us: "I am always yours." "Bullet Soul" is an instant classic, using the same distorted guitars in "Mess of Me." It's one that you'll find yourself singing along to involuntarily. It would definitely be something to look forward to at a Switchfoot concert. "Yet" is another awesome ballad, about looking for hope. "Sing It Out" is one of the best on the album--one more worship track. The bridge sings, "I'm holding on/I'm holding on to you/My world is wrong/My world is a lie that's come true/And I fall in love with those that run me through/When all I need is You." The music that accompanies the already amazing lyrics has some deep meaning behind it. According to Foreman, "The song is singing about itself--struggling for melody, for life, for meaning. Singing about rebirth, the song spends most of its time in the grave and comes to a bright, glorious finish, held out until the very end. To match the lyric we saved almost every instrument for the end of the song." I think that's pretty cool. The only song on the album that I couldn't really connect with was the finale, "Red Eyes." It ends with a reprise of "Needle and Haystack Life" which is kind of interesting to hear at the beginning and end of the album. But still there wasn't much for me to like about it. But that doesn't in any way change the album as a whole.
Hello Hurricane is one of the most brilliant, well-written albums to come along this year. Foreman and crew have managed another beautiful effort to add to their other successful albums. It's great that people will be hearing about God through their music. There's so much to learn from Hello Hurricane about how God's love can defeat any hurricane that comes against us. Expert song-writing and unbelievable instrumentals make this seventh album an epic one, ready to be loved by all who enjoy Christian rock.
That being said, this is an absolutely amazing album. I think it can and will be enjoyed by those who are new to Switchfoot music, but I think it's more enjoyable to their loyal followers because you can definitely see their maturation and progression as a band. Switchfoot resists the title of being a Christian rock band. It's not that their ashamed of their faith, quite the contrary. They just don't want their music to be labled as "christian" in efforts not to detract the non-christians who would otherwise enjoy their music. Instead of classifying themselves as a Christian rock band, they would rather be identified as a rock band comprised of Christians.
Hello Hurricane, however, definitively expresses the progression and maturation of their faith. Though the lyrics aren't implicitly gospel-driven (ie no specific mentions of God or Jesus), it's more than clear many of their songs detail personal struggls followed by God's redemption. They manage to rock out hard core and then slow it down with their traditional slow rock ballads.
This is definitely one of those albums you can listen to from start to finish. I've only had it for 2 days and have already listened to it 3 times through. If you're a Switchfoot fan, you won't be disappointed, and if not, this might be a great introduction to what we already know and love.