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File:Switchfoot 2557.jpg

Switchfoot are an alternative rock band from San Diego, California. The band's members are Jon Foreman (lead vocals, guitar), Tim Foreman (bass guitar, backing vocals), Chad Butler (drums, percussion), Jerome Fontamillas (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, accordion, pretty much everything else, really ), and Drew Shirley (guitar, backing vocals).

Formed in 1996, the Foreman brothers, sons of a local Baptist preacher, got fellow bandmate Chad Butler together and started recording music. They were then discovered by producer Charlie Peacock who signed them to his re:think indie label and produced their second and third albums. Their first three albums, The Legend Of Chin (1997), New Way To Be Human (1999), and Learning To Breathe (2000) helped the band gain some indie status, and also snagged them a few Grammy nominations for Christian music.

After re:think was bought by Sparrow Records, Switchfoot signed to Columbia Records in 2002 and released their breakthrough album, A Beautiful Letdown in 2003. They gained two radio hits from it, the epic "Meant To Live" and the heartwarming "Dare You To Move" (the latter had previously appeared on Learning To Breathe, but was remixed and rerecorded for the new album). Their music started massively being used in TV commercials and shows, quickly growing them more recognition.

Their next two albums, Nothing Is Sound (2005) and Oh! Gravity (2006) saw some commercial success, but lukewarm critical attention. The band slowly grew more and more tired of being pushed around by Executive Meddling and left Capital in 2008 to start their own independent label known as Lowercase People.

They then recorded 4 albums worth of material. The first, Hello Hurricane was released in 2009 and was a refreshing return to their old sound. The second, Vice Verses was scheduled for a summer release, but was pushed back an extra year and now is featuring a new songlist than originally planned.

They're unique for not being blatantly Christian and being able to appeal to audiences of all kinds. They have some surf rock and punk influences, but many listeners have trouble separating them from other post-grunge bands.


Switchfoot contain examples of the following tropes:

  • Album Title Drop: Nothing Is Sound is the only album not to have a title track on a Switchfoot album. Instead it's a line repeated in "Happy Is A Yuppie Word". Seven times very loudly, if the first time didn't suffice.
  • All Just a Dream: "Faust, Midas, and Myself" from Oh! Gravity. Jon hangs a lampshade on the first line of the song. [1]
  • Chewing the Scenery: Jon on Oh! Gravity, which might have led to some of the lukewarm reception for the album. Just listen to the title track or "Amateur Lovers". Oh, dear sweet whoever you happen to pray to, "Amateur Lovers"...
  • Christian Rock: Though not a blatant example.
    • Not Christian Rock: They are this if they aren't Christian Rock. Pretty much any discussion of how "Christian Rock" should be defined will eventually mention Switchfoot.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Averted pretty soundly. In fact, when Sony placed a Copy Protection on Nothing Is Sound, Tim posted a way to get around it.
  • Follow the Leader: U2 are a big influence on the band. So is Bob Dylan.
  • "God Is Love" Songs: "Only Hope", "On Fire", and oh so many more.
    • Or they could be plain old love songs. Your interpretation of those songs will vary.
  • Gratuitous Panning: The intro to "Meant To Live". If you're listening in headphones, it's a very quick way to find out if your headphones are on backwards. [2] Ditto "Mess of Me".
  • Latex Perfection: Used at the very end of the "New Way To Be Human" music video.
  • My Friends and Zoidberg: Jerome is jokingly treated like this during live shows, as his official position is somewhat vague compared to the other members. Jon once introduced him as Switchfoot's "keyboardist, accordionist, DJ, and life coach."
  • New Sound Album: The Beautiful Letdown for the change into their more pop-punk oriented sound, and then Hello Hurricane for their return to form.
  • Nice Guy: All of them! Seriously, you'll be hard-pressed to find another group with the same level of popularity that are as amiable and friendly as these guys. For proof, watch their interviews, or better yet, their podcasts. And if you do decide to watch the podcasts, prepare to laugh at almost every single one of them! They love to goof off, with special mention going to Drew.
  • The Philosopher: A lot of Jon's lyrics are inspired by philosophy; the album New Way To Be Human name-drops both Augustine and Kierkegaard.
  • Piss-Take Rap: Jon on "Dirty Second Hands". It's actually pretty cool.
    • He does it again in "Selling the News", and it actually works quite well.
  • Post-Grunge: They're more this in name then in sound, though.
  • The Rival: For some reason they are always considered rivals of the Newsboys and DCTalk.
    • Even though they are far more successful in the mainstream, and more vague about their faith, than the two bands in question.
      • They'd probably be more likely to be rivals to Anberlin, or POD.
  • Rock Trio: Switchfoot started like this for their first three albums, adding Jerome Fontamillas right before getting big.
  • Signature Song: "Dare You To Move" and "Meant to Live"
    • Among the fanbase, "Gone" is also really popular, and during concerts will sometimes draw the loudest cheer of the night.
  • Uncommon Time: They have been known to play around with this quite a bit.
    • "Happy Is A Yuppie Word" from Nothing Is Sound, which is mostly in Common Time, throws in a 6/4 bar regularly to 'lag' time between lines in the verses.
    • "Circles" from Oh! Gravity, goes 5/8 in the verses and 6/8 during the chorus.
    • "Dirty Second Hands" from Oh! Gravity cranks this Up to Eleven. It moves back and forth between 5/8 and 6/4 during the verses, throws in a hardly discernible time signature during the chorus, only to move to full-on 6/4 during the last third of the song. Long story short, the song's a musical Mind Screw.

Notes

  1. Of course, that's before you find out that the song is about dream within a dream within another dream.
  2. The intro guitar riff starts panned all the way to the left speaker.
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