With its play on words, Vice Verses, the title of Switchfoot’s new album, coherently suggests the album’s theme: everything has two sides. “Every blessing comes with a set of curses,” singer-guitarist Jon Foreman sings on the title track, all the while wondering if “there’s a meaning to it all.” That theme runs through the album’s 12 songs and is even reflected in the album’s black and white cover.
“The whole thing is about polarity,” says Foreman. “We wanted to write about the polarity of what it means to be human, the lights and darks. I’m always intrigued by the tension that exists between life and death. When making Hello Hurricane, there was a graveyard right by the hotel we were staying at while we were mixing it, and I spent a little bit of time there each morning walking through and sorting it out…really Vice Verses started there. This record is as much about loss as it is about what we still have while we’re living.”
One example of that quest for meaning includes the Foo Fighters-like “Afterlife,” in which Foreman contemplates mortality. There are plenty of other good examples, too. In the ballad “Thrive,” he muses, “Am I myself, or am I dreaming?” Foreman starts the hard-rocking, anthem-to-be “Dark Horses,” by admitting, “I’ve made my mistakes.” And in “Souvenirs,” he practically channels U2’s Bono as he croons, “Nothing lasts forever.” But the one track that will really throw fans for a loop is “Selling the News,” a Beck-like song with a hip-hop beat that finds Foreman performing spoken word.
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