Switchfoot’s eleventh album NATIVE TONGUE is out and available now and it’s an exciting record for the band. Switchfoot is another band that have managed to chameleon themselves from record to record sonically. Their most successful material came with the release of The Beautiful Letdown. When the band first got popular, their music had a lot of guitars to it, but it really wasn’t the focus. They used a lot of space and production to their music to do something different. “Meant to Live” comes to mind first and foremost as a clinical example of how to use space in your songwriting and “Gone” is a great example of how the band used some production elements in their early years to be successful.
After their debut album, Switchfoot did some different things. They went heavy guitar on the next few albums with a heavy focus on rock. With their new album it feels like they went back to that initial sound that made them successful in the first place. There’s a lot of creative production. There’s a lot of good use of space. There’s even a big range of sounds; from emotional ballads to full-on pop songs with horns. Switchfoot’s latest record is the closest record to The Beautiful Letdown that the band has made.
There are several examples of tremendous songs on this album. “Native Tongue” and “Voices” are rhythmic songs that let frontman Jon Foreman do what he does best – sing simple melodies. “Dig New Streams” is the pop song that’s heavy on originality and production. Really, all the songs on Native Tongue are solid. It’s probably the most fun that I’ve had listening to a Switchfoot record in a decade.
Switchfoot’s tenure has been an impressive one, and it certainly seems like they have the fanbase to continue to be successful going forward. There’s not going to be a song on this record that’s going to chart or do amazing things for the band this go around, but they don’t really need to do anything like that anymore. They just have to keep their artist aspirations alive so they can continue to play big shows all over the world.