Reviewed by Susan Lloyd
The Best Yet by
"The Best Yet is the perfect vehicle for remembering great moments in Switchfoot’s history or for introducing someone to Switchfoot’s awesome body of work."
When one reviews the abundant online information about the San Diego based Switchfoot, it’s hard not to notice the band’s rock solid success. Critical acclaim, a lengthy list of Dove and San Diego music awards, and an impressive list of high profile producers who have helped create the Switchfoot sound are all facets of their journey that lend credibility and longevity to their career. But until recently, something was missing. The band has been steadily producing music since it formed as a three piece in 1996, but after six successful albums and the addition of band members Jerome Fontamillas and Andrew Shirley, there had been no greatest hits CD. Until now.
In the spring of 2008, Sony BMG announced plans to release a compilation of Switchfoot’s greatest hits, and although the band and record company had parted ways in August of 2007, contracts and label rights allowed the production of the CD to proceed. Fortunately, the relationship between band and former employers must still be very strong and band members had a heavy hand in determining the track listing. According to bassist Tim Foreman, the band wanted this to be a collection that would appeal to new listeners as well as die hard fans. The deluxe version of the CD also includes a DVD featuring all the band’s popular music videos plus some never before seen. If Switchfoot and Sony were aiming for a sonic feast for fans to indulge in, they’ve definitely hit the mark
It’s a been a long and fruitful journey for one of San Diego’s finest bands, and although The Best Yet isn’t a chronology, there does seem to be some rhyme and reason to how tracks were ordered on the album. The first four tracks from Switchfoot’s latest three albums are arguably the band’s best known songs. No ‘best of” CD could even begin without the inclusion of super hits “Dare You to Move” and “Meant to Live”, songs which even 5 years after their mega hit status still have the same impact and power they did when they were first released. “Stars” from 2005’s Nothing is Sound and “Oh! Gravity” from 2006’s album bearing the same name further define Switchfoot’s multilayered guitar driven sound. And just when the musical atmosphere of the album has come close to explosion, listeners are treated on the fifth track to the more melodic but equally as powerful “This is Home”, the band’s latest single from the hit movie The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.
The remaining 13 tracks on The Best Yet seem to be in no particular order, bouncing in origin from the band’s first three albums under Sparrow’s label to several of their releases under Sony BMG’s banner. I’m thankful for the inclusion of lesser known songs like “Concrete Girl’ and “The Shadow Proves the Sunshine”, and while avid Switchfoot concert-goers will know these songs well enough to picture Foreman’s distinct performance style when they hear them, newer fans will appreciate the depth of their lyricism. Other gems that received little air play are the soaring confessional “On Fire” and the party-vibed “Company Car”. Sadly, some of my personal favorites like “Gone” from The Beautiful Letdown and “4:12” from Oh! Gravity are missing from the line up, but with such a wealth of healthy stand-alone songs that exist in Switchfoot’s body of work, I’m sure Sony had to draw the line somewhere.
Finishing out the 18 track line up is the gorgeous “The Beautiful Letdown” from Switchfoot’s multiplatinum album of the same name. This song has long been one of my favorites for its depth both in meaning and in method. And although the last five songs of the album are decidedly more cerebral and lush than the first five power rock songs, there’s no “let down” in intensity and the album ends as well as it begins.
I’m proud of these San Diego friends who have been on as much of a quest for excellent music as they have a quest for self-discovery and purpose. I’m thankful they’ve taken us along for the ride. The Best Yet is the perfect vehicle for remembering great moments in Switchfoot’s history or for introducing someone to Switchfoot’s awesome body of work. Kudos to you, Switchfoot and Sony. From daring us to move to reminding us of our fallen status in a beautiful letdown, the message rings loud and true throughout all 18 tracks. Personally, I’m thrilled the title of this collection is The Best Yet with the implication being that there is more to come that will be even better than what these guys have already offered. For the sake of younger bands who do look to these standard setters, and for the average music consumer, I sure hope the implication comes to fruition.
Susan Lloyd is a professional photographer in Charleston, South Carolina who specializes in shooting concerts. She holds a degree in Music Education and has worked as a worship leader and as a youth minister. She is passionate about all types of music and enjoys encouraging and supporting bands who seek to glorify God. She also loves movies, animals, traveling, and making new friends. She and her husband have three kids and have been married for nearly 17 years. More info about Susan's photography can be found at www.susanlloydphotography.com or www.susieq3c.wordpress.com