The music nerd in me loves to compile music lists and rankings, yet I labor and often give up before finishing when it comes to favorite bands. How do you decide? So many songs have had tremendous impact in various seasons of my life. Anyway, here’s my best try at one of my all time favorite bands that I feel like I have literally grown up with from age sixteen on. And so it begins…
- “Dare you To Move”–The Beautiful Letdown (2003)
It had to be this one, or the close second “Meant To Live” for me…This is Switchfoot at the top of their game. Best and favorite lyrics come from the bridge, “maybe redemption has stories to tell. Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell. Where can can you run to escape from yourself? Where you gonna go? Where you gonna go? Salvation is here!” Classic. Don’t ever seeing this one supplanted at number one.
- “Meant To Live”–The Beautiful Letdown (2003)
They chased the sound and success of this one on Nothing Is Sound, and though “Stars” and “Lonely Nation” are both great, they’ll never measure up to this grungy anti-materialism anthem.
- “Mess of Me”–Hello Hurricane (2009)
Another in a long line of anti-materialism, everything-apart-from-Christ-is-meaningless songs, this rocker nearly usurps the throne that is the “Dare You To Move,” “Meant To Live” combo, but not quite. It’s a terrific song nonetheless.
- “Let That Be Enough”–New Way To Be Human (1999)
It’s my favorite Switchfoot ballad, full of earnest coming of age realization. Worshipful. Ecclesiastical and yet hopeful. “Let me know that you hear me, let me know your touch. Let me know that you love me, and let that be enough.” Superb.
- “Where I Belong”–Vice Verses (2011)
Foreman revised familiar territory lyrically as he proclaims that this world is not his home, while yearning for eternity. Rarely did he say it better than “Where I Belong” though. This one is a concert staple, and the right way to end a live show.
- “If The House Burns Down Tonight”–Where The Light Shines Through (2016)
It’s frantic in all the right ways as he states, “you possess your possessions or they possess you. If the house burns down tonight, I’ve got everything I need when I got you by my side.” It works as a rocking romantic sentiment, as well as a reminder of what should be important in our lives. People over things.
- “24”–The Beautiful Letdown (2003)
This is a favorite to belt out loud in my car, as well as sing along with the wife. Very hymn-like when sung in concert.
- “New Way To Be Human”–New Way To Be Human (1999)
I’ve been listening to this one for a long time, though I vacillated about including it in my top ten. It’s worthy though…still smile every time I hear the three chimes near the beginning of the song. Also, a great book by Charlie Peacock was what inspired the song, so a bonus reading recommendation too!
- “Dirty Second Hands”–Oh! Gravity (2006)
A prime example of experimental Switchfoot I love the timing in this one, how it changes and seems unreliable…just like the tech that we “need” can begin to steal our time/life. A rant against technology? A rank against technology that ultimately blames us, not the machine? Yeah, there’s layers worth digging into, but it’s also just a fun song.
- “Gone” –The Beautiful Letdown– (2003)
This one is so fun! It’s the playful and fun side of Switchfoot that shows up less and less after this one, but previously on their debut, and two albums after it. Love the jumpy nature of the song, and the gang vocal harmony approach. They did a more stripped down version in concert that emphasized drawing out the vocals more that still stands out in my mind 15 years later.
- “Only Hope”–New Way To Be Human (1999)
Sung beautifully by Mandy Moore for the A Walk to Remember soundtrack this one also helped launch them into the ear canals of mainstream audiences. Deservedly so.
- “Chem 6A”–Legend of Chin (1997)
This was likely the first Switchfoot song I ever heard unless it was “Underwater.” Memory has faded on that one, I do know I heard them first on one of those 1.99 or free music samplers that were popular for awhile. Simply Fabulous album with hippie color looking cover? Chunky, sloppy, garage band guitar riffs won me over from the start, and I’ve been a fan ever since.
- “Your Love Is A Song”–Hello Hurricane (2009)
This one would fit nicely thematically on their soon to be released Native Tongues album. Lyrics like, “Your love is a symphony, All around me, Running through me…” Lead the way for this solid ballad.
- “Oh! Gravity”–Oh! Gravity (2006)
Some decry this album as one of their worst…and I know why, but I disagree. The title track has always been a favorite strictly due to the out of tune piano mash and it’s frenetic pacing. Some hate it, I for one, love it.
- “Learning To Breathe”–Learning To Breathe (2000)
“Hello good morning how you do? What makes your rising sun so new?” Love this tune! Definitely my favorite from that album as I wouldn’t come to appreciate “Dare You To Move” until later.
- “Daylight To Break”–Eastern Hymns For Western Shores EP (2010)
I can’t remember when I first heard this song, it had to have been shortly after Oh! Gravity era songs…regardless it’s a fantastic Beach Boys inspired surf rock song that I’d loved to have a physical copy. It’s my Switchfoot unicorn song. Hopefully I’ll snag it from a used shop to complete my Switchfoot collection one day.
- “Stars”–Nothing Is Sound (2005)
Switchfoot grungy with a wall of guitars and a killer hook, it wasn’t the first song I loved from Nothing Is Sound, (that would be “Lonely Nation”) but it’s the one that’s had the best staging power.
- “Company Car”–New Way To Be Human (1999)
This is just Switchfoot having fun, and it’s been a longtime favorite…probably top 5 of my most sung Switchfoot songs. Another tune decrying materialism, this was a warm up to their smash hit “Meant To Live.”
- “Vice Verses”–Vice Verses (2011)
First written during their previous album Hello Hurricane, “Vice Verses” plays with the idea of polarity. I love the contrast in the lyrics, and it’s the kind of acoustic guitar based tune that I’ve always loved from Switchfoot.
- “Love Alone Is Worth The Fight”–Fading West (2014)
I could have also gone with the bass heavy “Ba55” here too, but the joy oozing from “Love Along Is Worth The Fight” sticks out as the one with the longest staying power from my least favorite Switchfoot album overall.
Bonus: Two songs from the upcoming Native Tongues that I think have potential to crack my top twenty ranking someday…
“Let It Happen”
“Dig New Streams”
How about you? What are your favorite Switchfoot songs? I’d love to hear from you!