There are few artists that inspire. I mean truly inspire, challenge, and encourage with the music they create. There are few artists that care enough deeply about their own music and how the power of what they sing about impacts people. And even if an artist does truly care they may have 1 of those albums in their career. Too often artists do care in the beginning but after the industry, record sales, radio, and popularity happen it is dismissed in favor for those same things that kill it.
I feel Johnny Cash and U2 have had those albums throughout their career AND have also been able to inspire different generations. For many U2’s “Joshua Tree” was that album but for me and my generation I believe it was U2’s “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”. “Joshua Tree” came out when I was 9 and to be truly inspired, challenged, and encouraged I feel you need to be older. Yes sometimes an older album can do that later for someone but the impact of the initial release is what sets it apart.
So every now and then we have a few more artists that come along and create an album that does just that. For me personally there was also a former local PA band named Jawbone Hill that created an album called “Grind” that was actually the first album to move me to tears. I also believe dcTalk’s “Jesus Freak” was one of those albums.
Talking about the songs leading up to the those that would become Switchfoot’s newest album “Hello Hurricane” Jon Foreman said this. “They didn’t feel like the type of the song you wanted to die singing. And for ‘Hello Hurricane’ that became the prerequisite for the song. If you’re not crying why are you singing it. If you don’t believe it with every ounce of you then there’s no point in singing it.”
Many will say that Switchfoot did that 6 years ago with “The Beautiful Letdown”. But I believe they have done it with “Hello Hurricane”. Why? Because they care to. Because they took almost 3 years to write it. Because they were independent and didn’t have the industry beating down their door for the next radio single. Because they care to engage with their fans but more importantly they care to inspire, challenge, and encourage themselves.
Most bands don’t rebound after having the amount of success that Switchfoot did with “The Beautiful Letdown” and then the “let downs” of 2 albums following it. I too was even a skeptic of if Switchfoot could bounce back and in some regards had lost my desire for the band’s material. The 3 years between albums by all industry standards could’ve killed this band but I believe this album will be the band’s shining moment. I believe this album will be the album people remember.