Ranking Switchfoot Albums/Songs

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  • Chris Yokel

    So Switchfoot’s 10th album is coming out next month, and Jen had a freelance article project that led us to discuss how we would rank Switchfoot’s albums or top songs. Anyone want to take a stab?

    The One True Stickman

    This is probably me being Switchfoot nerd, but are you thinking “what’s my favorite [album|track]”, ranked listing of all of the above, top ten, or full elimination bracket? I’m not sure where to start, except that New Way To be Human was formative in my musical youth and is still one of my favorite plays.

    They call me.... thread killer.


    My favorite is Learning to Breathe! 🙂

    @theonetruestickman, at this point said freelance project will probably be a list of their best deep cuts ever, so if you want to remind me of awesome songs I forgot, that’s cool…. 😉

    My Totally Definitive and Indisputable* Top 5:

    1. Nothing is Sound
    2. Vice Verses
    3. New Way to Be Human
    4. Fading West
    5. The Beautiful Letdown

    Fun Fact: Did you know our beloved oddity Doug McKelvey co-wrote a couple of songs on New Way to Be Human? Including the title track? Until yesterday I HAD NO IDEA.


    * Okay, you can dispute this list, but I won’t change my mind. 😛

    The One True Stickman

    Ok, I’ll dispute – albums or songs? 🙂

    Deep cuts off the top of my head – Sooner or Later, Incomplete, and Faust, Midas & Myself. There is so much awesome in that song. I’m sure I’ll think of more…

    I had no idea Doug McKelvey co-wrote on that album – that is awesome. I also only learned who Charlie Peacock was a couple years ago after seeing his name on stuff!

    They call me.... thread killer.

    Chris Yokel

    My rough list of top Switchfoot albums:

    1. Beautiful Letdown (only because it was my intro to the band)
    2. Vice Verses
    3. Fading West
    4. Nothing Is Sound
    5. Oh! Gravity

    And top songs (in no particular order):

    1. Let Your Love Be Strong
    2. Learning to Breathe
    3. On Fire
    4. The Blues
    5. Dare You To Move
    6. Only Hope
    7. Always
    8. Twenty-Four
    9. Let That Be Enough
    10. Daisy


    The One True Stickman

    Now that I’ve had a chance to listen through again –


    1. New Way To Be Human
    2. The Beautiful Letdown
    3. Nothing is Sound
    4. Oh! Gravity
    5. Vice Verses


    1. Faust, Midas, & Myself
    2. More Than Fine
    3. Sooner or Later
    4. Yesterdays
    5. American Dream
    6. Amy’s Song
    7. Easier Than Love
    8. Selling The News
    9. Only Hope
    10. Happy is a Yuppie Word
    11. Amateur Lovers (I can’t not dig the Beatles references)

    Also not in any particular order, though vaguely ranked. And the opening riff off “The Original” is a killer.

    They call me.... thread killer.

    Chris Yokel

    Happy is a Yuppy Word is great song.

    I don’t know guys, to me Nothing Is Sound is one of the most quintessential Switchfoot albums.  Oh! Gravity ranks highly in my book too.

    And where’s the love for Hello Hurricane?  Historically, I think I remember being more impressed with that album individually than with any of their others.  Maybe that’s just because I was paying more attention to them around that time, but it still stands as kind of a keystone in their discography for me.

    So I guess you could say I’m a bigger fan of ‘Switchfoot: the middle years.’

    Chris Yokel

    @danrechlin, I’ve been listening to Nothing Is Sound over the past few days, and I have to agree, it’s a great album. It’s also their darkest album, which was a bold move considering The Beautiful Letdown was their biggest success so far. @jroseyokel convinced me of this in a conversation yesterday.

    I need to go back to listen to Hello Hurricane, because it didn’t strike me as being quite as good as their others, but I haven’t heard it in awhile.

    The One True Stickman

    Good point about Hello Hurricane – I will confess that I don’t actually own it yet, hence my oversight. I recall enjoying it but don’t know it that well. I really need to remedy that. <span style=”line-height: 1.5;”>We also haven’t really mentioned </span><em style=”line-height: 1.5;”>Fading West<span style=”line-height: 1.5;”> much… that one I haven’t really connected with yet, it doesn’t feel as cohesive to me.</span>

    I am also now feeling wishy washy about ranking The Beautiful Letdown ahead of Nothing Is Sound… which is indeed a great album. I’d forgotten how much I love those middle albums until listening through last weekend. NWtbH might not rank as highly were it not seminal to my early in my Switchfoot – and rock music – experience.


    They call me.... thread killer.

    I think Switchfoot has become one of those bands whose albums take on a different flavor for every person depending on the season of life you were in when you listened to them the most.  I also think this is neither as negative or as simple as it might sound.  That makes this forum topic such a joy to read, because it says so much more about each person than just ‘I like this album the best.’  It brings out each of our stories.  But maybe that’s just ’cause we’re on the Rabbit Room, and every band that we share is like that to some degree or another.  <smileyface>

    @danrechlin I really dig Hello Hurricane. I kind of waffled on whether that or The Beautiful Letdown was my #5. (TBL has some incredible songs individually, but somehow I never want to listen to them together? Weird.)

    Anyway! Hello Hurricane was my Switchfoot rediscovery album. I felt kind of “eh” about Oh! Gravity, and they hadn’t released anything in a few years. So when I got HH and heard the opening riff of “Needle and Haystack Life” it was like “YUSSSS SWITCHFOOT’S BACK.” And this record has “Your Love is a Song,” “Always,” “The Sound,” “Mess of Me”…

    Oh dang. Maybe it is my #5. haha.

    @theonetruestickman Fading West is one of my favorites, but it’s definitely an oddity. It’s really musically different, and I’m not sure if it’s affected by being a bunch of songs written for a film. But man, I do like playing that one loud with the windows down. 😀

    Chris Yokel

    So if you’ve heard the new Switchfoot album, what do you think?

    First of all (for those who don’t know me, which is likely everyone since this is my first post), Switchfoot is my favorite band.

    I love their new album, and I think it may be my favorite album of theirs (but I definitely think it is their most fun album).  If I don’t count WTLST as #1, then Vice Verses is my favorite (but for now I will call it #2).

    WTLST is a crazy fun album.  It is their most classically rock and roll album (Float, WTLST, Bull in a China Shop) but still has some good Pop/Ballads as well (Live it Well, I Won’t Let You Go, Hope is the Anthem).  Very solid theme of Hope throughout the album.  Also, where some of their other “better” albums had some sub-par experimental songs (Oh Gravity – Amateur Lovers; Vice Verses – The Original and Rise Above It), I felt the experimental songs were better on this album (Bull in a China Shop specifically).  Also, the delux version of the album (if bought on the Switchfoot site) has 5 bonus songs which are all extremely good.  The only other albums with that significant amount of bonus songs were Fading West (the Edge of the Earth EP) and Oh Gravity (if you count the Oh EP, a couple random B-Sides, and the Eastern Hymns EP which were all largely recorded around the time of OG); but I personally think the 5 bonus songs in WTLST are better than the other other bonus songs (though that is saying a lot, because those other EPs are ranked very high for me).

    If I had to rank the 10 albums from best to least, this would be my list:

    1. WTLST
    2. Vice Verses
    3. Oh Gravity
    4. The Beautiful Letdown
    5. Nothing is Sound
    6. Hello Hurricane
    7. New Way to be Human
    8. Legend of Chin
    9. Fading West (I know, I know; I just didn’t like it)
    10. Learning to Breathe (hate putting this one at the bottom, but one of them has to fall there)

    I am TOTALLY with you on the Oh! EP.  For me it ranks up there with their full-length albums in terms of good-ness.

    Confession/maybe brag?: At our wedding, I walked down the aisle to On Fire. The husband is a giant Switchfoot/Jon Foreman fan. I sent him a link to this thread hoping he will chime in!

    @allysonschaefer “On Fire” is one of my all time favorite Switchfoot songs.


    Love this thread! Rankings and lists are my weaknesses! I haven’t listened to Where the Light Shines Through enough, so it’ll probably end up rising on my list. But for now, here’s my ranking.

    10. The Legend of Chin
    9. Learning to Breathe
    8. Oh! Gravity
    7. Fading West
    6. New Way to Be Human
    5. Where the Light Shines Through
    4. Vice Verses
    3. Hello Hurricane
    2. Nothing Is Sound
    1. The Beautiful Letdown

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