What’s a 54-year-old Switchfoot fan to do when she’s listened to Vice Verses 7,000 times? Occasionally, just for a change-up, I’ve listened to Hello, Hurricane a few times, but since last Christmas, that’s been a fairly daily diet.
I must say that I did discover Needtobreathe last year (thank you, Amazon) and received two of their CDs for Christmas, too. They are excellent, and I have listened to both of the CDs way too often for my son’s comfort, since they are more country than my usual taste. Of course they are! Those boys are from Possum Kingdom, South Carolina, so you know they’re country. But not too much. They’ve got some rock and roll in them, too, and the lead singer reminds me of Randy Newman. They range from serious (“White Fences”) to fun (“Girl Named Tennessee”). Altogether, their sound is all their own, and I’m glad they’re touring all over the world now.
I’ll listen to early ‘70s rock (no disco!) and folk music, and almost any kind of good music out there. For Christian music, I’ve loved DC Talk, Jars of Clay, and many other Christian rock bands. I do like some worship music, but you know how it goes. Most of the time, you get the acoustic guitar that’s just strumming– nothing fancy– and either the strong baritone or the suburban-mom soprano. It’s oh-so-respectable and bland. This must be what the Christian radio stations call “family friendly.” How in the world did we come to believe that the gospel is supposed to be innocuous? Did these people ever read the Bible?
Anyhow, on the other end of the spectrum in Christian music, you’ve got the unintelligible Skillet and a host of others who are even now queuing up to have polyps removed from their vocal chords. I once told my son that his metal bands sounded as if they were vomiting into the microphone. Not my cup of tea. (Ew. Sorry about that image.)
No other band that I know comes up to the level of Switchfoot. I totally love that they can run several songs with awesome dirty guitar licks, and then follow up with a ballad that will break your heart. Who else but Jon Foreman writes songs about Soren Kierkegaard or gets me to read John M. Perkins’ memoir, Let Justice Roll Down? “The Sound,” by the way, is as close to a perfect rock song as has ever been written. It’s not just the absolutely fabulous music, it’s that they actually have something substantive to say. Even my son, who is not a believer, calls it “intelligent people’s music.” We own every album they’ve ever made, and they get better every time.
A couple of days ago, I spent over an hour online searching for some new music. There are some interesting groups out there, but I don’t feel as if I’ve uncovered any gems or made great discoveries. Of course, we don’t have a local Christian radio station to keep me up to date, either, since Raleigh—in a county of almost one million—does not seem to be able to support a Christian radio station with a radius of more than five miles. We have to switch stations halfway when we drive across Wake County, so we end up listening to the local pop station or CDs. Oh, well. They probably only play “family friendly” music, anyway.
Maybe what I really need is a new Switchfoot album. Write faster, Jon!