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Figuring Things Out

Switchfoot's Foreman blends the Socratic and spiritual.
Fall and Winter
Spring and Summer
Jon Foreman
Credential Rec.

When Switchfoot left CCM label Sparrow and signed with Columbia Records in 2003, they became one of the hottest pop-rock acts in mainstream music. Some wondered why they had "abandoned" their roots, playing solely secular venues and singing songs decidedly lacking in JPMs (Jesuses Per Minute).

But the band—and the brains behind it, singer-songwriter Jon Foreman—hadn't jumped ship at all. They were simply playing the songs born in Foreman's inquisitive mind: "I'm interested in reading philosophy and trying to figure things out," he says.

Foreman apparently had more of those songs up his sleeve, judging by the recent release of four solo EPs—six songs each—under the titles Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer (4 stars for the set). The music is stark and spare, rough and unpolished. Foreman and his guitar are everywhere, but it's the creative inclusion of other instruments—trumpets, harmonica, tuba, even a Chinese guzheng—that give the music its most noteworthy twists. This is not Switchfoot-lite; this is free-association Foreman unfolding in a blend of the Socratic and the spiritual.

On Fall's "Lord, Save Me from Myself," he rasps: "My mind is dull and faded / From these years of buy and sell / My eyes have seen the glory / Of this hollow modern shell / And sex is a grand production / But I'm bored with that as well / Ah, Lord, save me from myself." One Winter track is titled "Learning How to Die," while another ("Somebody's Baby") explores the lonely death of a homeless girl.

But it's not all bleak; there's much faith, hope, and love. Winter's "White as Snow" is a beautiful adaptation of Psalm 51. Spring's "Your Love Is Strong" begins ...

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Christianity Today
Figuring Things Out
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November 2008

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