Switchfoot has been one of the most influential and important alternative rock bands of the 21st century. With their presence in Christian, alternative and mainstream radios, they have continued to put out quality music over the course of the last 19 years. Their hit songs “Meant to Live”, “Dare You to Move”, “Stars”, “This is Your Life”, and “Only Hope” will live for many years to come in the alternative repertoire and will continue to influence future generations.
A lot of the group’s success is thanks to the incredible lyrics of their lead vocalist and founder Jon Foreman. Jon has written profound lyrics that resonate with nearly all of his listeners. While he is fully invested in Switchfoot, he has had a handful of side projects. He also started Switchfoot’s imprint record label, Lowercase People Records, for Switchfoot releases and side project releases.
Foreman teamed up with the Nickel Creek band member Sean Watkins to form the group Fiction Family. They’ve released two albums and an EP under this title. Jon has also released two solo projects, one of which is still forthcoming.
The first solo project Jon endeavored was a series of four EPs titled Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer. His solo sound is a very folky, laid-back American sound that is in many ways a direct connection to his heart.
His second solo project is yet another series of four EPs. Over the past ten years, he’s spent over 1,000 hours, over 100 days, worked with over 24 producers, over 50 musicians, and written over 24 songs to create a project in four parts. The project is called The Wonderlands and consists of the EPs Sunlight, Shadows, Darkness, and Dawn. It will contain a total of 24 songs, one for each hour of the day. The first three have been released, and we’re currently waiting on the release of Dawn.
Each of the EPs cover a certain part of the day and do so very artistically with their corresponding themes. Sunlight focuses on a very bright and folky sound. While the themes might still be somewhat dark, the sound of the record provides a wonderful contrast. With a very minimal style and consistent tone and dynamic, this piece beautifully illustrates the consistency of the energy radiated from sunlight. Some of the songs of the project that stand out most come from this EP. Songs like “Caroline”, “Terminal” and “The Mountain” have prevalent heart searching themes.
“Caroline” addresses issues of materialism, growing up and family:
“They say your heart is where your treasure is
But maybe there’s another way to measure this
Cause it feels like what you find your pleasure in
Are the things that are bringing you down.”
Jon takes a very personal approach to this song that deals with our own desires and what we pursue. He parallels these themes with themes of spiritual liveliness and faith in “Terminal”:
“Don’t let your spirit die before your body does.
These subjects are also tackled in “The Mountain”:
“Maybe faith is found inside a seed.
Maybe faith is found inside of me.
Mostly, I feel like I’m lost at sea.
I believe, Lord, help my unbelief.”
With Shadows, Jon takes a much darker musical approach by adding a more ambient sound of electric guitars, doubled acoustic guitars, bass, full drum set, brass, woodwinds, percussion, pianos, strings, synths, banjo, mallet instruments, accordion, and featured clarinet solos. Jon incorporates a very diverse sound with folk, soft rock, contemporary classical, indie, jazz, blues, and Latin sounds. It also wrestles more melancholy themes.
But he also includes very uplifting and gratifying lyrics with his song “Your Love is Enough”. This song is the third of his trilogy of “Your Love” songs: the first being “Your Love is Strong” from his Spring EP, and the second being “Your Love is a Song” from Switchfoot’s Hello Hurricane.
“Who can satisfy these longings?
Who could wash these doubts away?
Who can save me from my follies
Even when the feelings fade?
Your love is enough.”
Jon’s lyrics are some of the most though provoking, uplifting, and skillfully written lyrics you’ll hear in music today. Take a listen to Jon’s new EPs and, if you haven’t, listen to Switchfoot’s music. We’ll be covering the second half of Jon’s project The Wonderlands upon the release of his final quarter.
Nat’s Favorites: “The Mountain”, “Fake Your Own Death”, “Your Love Is Enough”. Kate’s Favorites: “Terminal”, “Caroline”, and “Siren’s Song”. You can find his music on Spotify, iTunes, and his website. Enjoy!