Switchfoot’s Fading West, sure to be another top-seller, is the crest of a wave in the whole picture of albums. If you start with Nothing is Sound and continue through to Vice Verses, the shape is waves. Nothing is Sound begins with an upward motion and ends with a crashing wave, Hello Hurricane is a series of waves, and Vice Verses is the trough building into a wave far out in deep sea. It is all the pain and uncertainty floating out at sea awaiting a crash onto the beach.
Fading West is a joyful, big-sounding album. It is the wave that is surfed. It is the beach the wave joyfully crashes on. The seeking and yearning is still within the album like most of Switchfoot’s work. But the sound is big, joyful, singing in harmony. The album is a call against the sin and decay of the world, “They said the fight would break us/ But the struggle helped make who we are.” The album cheers the listener to come alive. How appropriate for a winter release.
“The World You Want” reminds the listener to not despair. “It's when I stop to listen/ All the moments I've been missing/ I finally hear a voice I can trust.”
Lyrically, Fading West has all the fun, uplifting, and deeper level themes, but the music is the most upbeat, almost dance-party-esque. As a fan of Switchfoot, I love it lyrically, but it will take me a few listens to enjoy the musicality. I am a fan of the guitar-driven songs. But lyrically, Switchfoot always draws.
I am certain this is a great compliment to the Fading West movie. The album has everything about the power of the ocean, the fun of the beach, the contemplative nature of looking out across the vast sea. It has the quality of a night on the beach with a fire burning under the stars, with friends talking about silly things to struggles and sin and brokenness, to deep things—sacred and profane—and waiting for the beauty of the sun to rise and surfing the morning away. The album is fighting for life. It is a battle, but it is worth every step. It is the formation of the Christian pilgrim in a foreign land with pain and joy mixed awaiting the culmination. This is a fun album. I can’t wait to see the movie that compliments the album.
“And my heart is yours/ And what a broken place it's in/ But you're what I'm running for/ And I want to feel the wind at my back again/ Back to the beginning again/ Back to the beginning again/ I want to feel the wind at my back again.”