Let me start by saying I love Switchfoot. I think Jon Foreman is an amazing lyricist and the music of Switchfoot is always a step ahead of any of their contemporaries. Switchfoot is truly a pro band. Having said that, the songs on this record did not blow my mind.
As a follow-up to a greatest hits record, I expect perfection. These songs are good. The lyrics come from some seemingly deep places. Some of the stories are ones worth telling, I’m sure. I’m just not happy with how they are being told. Don’t get me wrong; these songs are better than most of the stuff that I’m sure fills your iPod (or Spotify), but the Foreman brothers can do better than a handful of forced modern rock choruses.
I don’t know how else to say this, but the production on this record does not sound like Switchfoot. In the past, Switchfoot has done well with two very different approaches to making records:
1. The experimental approach – take it song-by-song in order to fully flesh out each song as a free-standing entity (See The Beautiful Letdown).
2. The epic rock approach – lay down some fat guitars, record some really roomy drums, and get some TLA/CLA-style mixing for it (See Nothing is Sound).
Switchfoot opted to take a, yet unlisted, third option. This option consisted of a very broad-strokes approach to the record. One thing I will say is this record is cohesive. Even in a Switchfoot shuffle, your average listener will be able to pick out the Hello Hurricane tracks.
This record was not tracked or produced in any one location or by any one person. This means that the overall sound of this record was intentional on a few levels. I’m not attacking the production/mixing/mastering of this record. In fact, it sounds great. It just doesn’t sound like Switchfoot. It sounds like The Vines. The guitars (especially the bass) are really overdriven and the drums have no body.
Overall, this departure may be a welcome one by some, but not this guy. Good songs and great production should add up to an awesome record. I don’t hate change, but if it ain’t broke…