A band that has a range of styles, Switchfoot took its name from the surfboard. As anyone who surfs or uses a windsurfer knows, the “switchfoot maneuver” is what you need to master to send you in a different direction.
Switchfoot used that term as a way of depicting themselves as being about change and movement in their music. An interesting band, so I decided to take a look at the top 55 Switchfoot songs.
The band was first formed in Southern California as Chin Up and was based in San Diego. They released some original material on an Indie label, Re: Think, and had no real plans to become an out-and-out Christian Rock band.
A Desire To Offer Variety
Re: Think was bought out by Christian Music giant Sparrow Music, so the band had to go along with it for a while. They were interested in developing some Christian Rock material. But they also wanted to do other things.
Their music, though, was only being marketed to Christian radio stations. Founding member, Jon Foreman, referred to it as a time when “Half of who we were was lost.”
The big breakthrough came after some of the songs were heard in the film A Walk to Remember. From that came a better record deal with Columbia. Switchfoot is known for its music but also for its live performances, which become an important part of its profile. So, let’s take a look at some of the best Switchfoot songs, starting with…
Top 55 Switchfoot Songs
Say It Like You Mean It
This is one of their later tracks that is taken from the album, Fading West, released in 2014. It wasn’t released as a single. However, the album was successful, reaching #6 in America, #12 in Canada, and #50 in Australia. The song has the feel of some of the early songs by British Indie band Kasabian, especially “Club Foot” from 2004.
Prominent drums and plenty of distorted guitars, and a distorted vocal as well. Not much in the way of a melody, but then this is a song that doesn’t need that.
You can see why Jon Foreman commented on doing more than what is considered to be Christian Rock. You probably don’t get too much further away from that genre with the way this song is written and produced.
Now, for something completely different, as someone once said. A track from the 2016 album, Where The Light Shines Through. This is a song that has some nice harmonies and an easy style, but it is far more than just a pleasant song. It is a song dedicated to a man named Jeremy Courtney.
He was a friend of Jon Foreman and a volunteer who helped families in Iraq during the worst of the troubles there. Especially those families that had been the victims of ISIS aggression. “Float” is a song of hope and about rising above the problems, the world gives us.
“Don’t you need someone to lean on? – Don’t you need that taste of freedom? – It don’t take no education – All you need’s an invitation.” Essentially, this is a song for his friend, but it can apply to anyone faced with difficulties or others’ difficulties. The song did well, as you might imagine, on the American Christian Rock charts.
This is the first single taken from the album, Vice Verses, released in 2011. The song was written by Jon Foreman and bass-playing brother Tim. Vice Verses was one of their most successful. It reached #8 on the American main chart, #30 in Canada, and #62 in Australia. Also, it gave them their only chart entry in the UK, where it peaked at #127.
The band was very involved with a charity for children in the San Diego area where they are based called ‘Stand Up For Kids.’ They have arranged several benefit concerts raising money for them.
A dark horse, as you are probably aware, is someone that is little known in a competition that does well. It can also refer to someone battling against the odds and winning.
And this is what this song is all about…
“We’re singing – Wait! It’s not over now – We’ve been down, but we’ve never been out – Yeah, we’re the Dark Horses.” That is how the band sees these young kids who have not had the best start in life but who battle through it all. Another song with a big meaning that is worthy of its place in the Top 55 Switchfoot songs.
A track from their 2009 album Hello Hurricane. The album did quite well, reaching #13 on the American chart. However, the single wasn’t what you would call a commercial success. The song was written by Jon Foreman on the piano, which is a change from his usual process of using a guitar.
An easy-tempo ballad, something that you might have heard Rod Stewart sing many moons ago. Once again, a change of style emphasizes the varied music they could produce. The song was used in the soundtrack for a few TV shows, “Grey’s Anatomy” was one.
I Won’t Let You Go
Back to the Where The Light Shines Through album from 2016. This track was released as a single but only managed to achieve chart recognition on Christian Music charts.
Another one of their songs where the lyrics are the most relevant aspect. A song written from an interesting viewpoint. It takes a situation where a higher being is talking and assures the listener that they will stay with them and “won’t let them go.”
A song that was written for the Christian market, so it is surprising that the message of the song was not more popular. “If you could just believe in me now – I swear that I won’t let you go – I won’t let you go.” It refers to facing the dark moments we all have to face and then dealing with them without running away.
Mess Of Me
Back to the Hello Hurricane album from 2009. A song that talks about issues many are familiar with. We all make mistakes, and quite often, we regret them. But, in most cases, it isn’t possible to go back and rectify them.
This song is about the imperfections we all have…
“I wanna get back the rest of me – I made a mess of me – I wanna spend the rest of my life alive.” The thought is it will take forever to make amends, and spending the rest of our lives alive to problems is the only way.
But, one thing that must be avoided, as the song refers to, is man-made solutions. Drugs and alcohol never work in solving problems. They might eradicate them for a few hours, so you can pretend they don’t exist. Yet, when the experience has worn off, the problems are still there. In some cases, worse than they were before.
If you are expecting a sympathetic ballad with plenty of strings, then sit down and prepare for a shock. It is almost Punk Rock in its style. Definitely one for the live shows. It didn’t make the main American chart but reached #1 on the Christian chart. As a result, it’s one of the most successful Switchfoot songs.
This is from the album, The Beautiful Letdown, released in 2003. A successful album, it reached #16 on the American Album chart. The single, though, failed to make any chart impression anywhere.
Once again, it is a song that makes quite a profound lyrical statement. It emphasizes that “we” are the problem, not the world. It’s us and how we carry on. “We’ve been blowing up – We’re the issue.” He is trying to compare the conflicting views and beliefs of the world to the dissonance that exists in music. On one side, you have harmony; on the other, discord or dissonance.
Having said that, you could argue that it is like stupidity. There are plenty of stupid people around, but the world wouldn’t work without them. Their utterances give the rest of us something to laugh at. A busy but basic drum intro starts it all with plenty of distorted guitars.
Your Love Is A Song
Returning to the 2009 album Hello Hurricane for this track. It wasn’t a commercial success but still has plenty going for it. It was written by Jon Foreman and Mike Elizondo. “Your Love Is A Song” is another great Switchfoot song with a strong spiritual message that is sung over some Rock backing. An interesting combination in many ways.
Dare You to Move
Our first visit to the album, Learning To Breathe gives us this track. One, which many say, is the archetypal Switchfoot song. It is a track released in 2000 but failed to chart. Likewise, the album was a commercial disappointment. It was recorded again later with a much heavier arrangement and included on The Beautiful Letdown album.
This time it was much more successful commercially, reaching #11 on the American chart, #35 in Australia, and #117 in the UK. It starts with some nice jangling acoustic guitar and then moves into a Rock ballad. The song is an encouragement to try and make sure you are always moving forward and trying to better yourself.
Meant To Live
Probably the most well-known Switchfoot song and their most commercially successful. It’s another song from the 2000 album The Beautiful Letdown. The song reached #18 on the American chart and #29 in the UK. Also, it was #52 in Australia and entered the Top 100 in Holland at #92.
You would be forgiven if, for the first 30 seconds, you might be listening to Tony Iommi and Black Sabbath. That is how it opens up. But, once again, despite how powerful the music is, the lyrics give a powerful message.
The song is about the choices made in the past…
And how we must avoid the same mistakes in the future. “We want more than the wars of our fathers – And everything inside screams for a second life, yeah – We were meant to live for so much more – Have we lost ourselves? – Somewhere we live inside.”
A very good track and my choice as their #1 song. A song that helped to put the word “Alternative” into “Alternative Christian Rock.”
Learning to Breathe
Love Alone Is Worth the Fight
The Sound (John M. Perkins’ Blues)
The War Inside
House of Blues
Bull In a China Shop
The Shadow Proves the Sunshine
All I Need
Enough to Let Me Go
We Are One Tonight
Needle and Haystack Life
The Strength To Let Go
If The House Burns Down Tonight
Daylight to Breakthrough
Dark Side of Innocence
Selling the News
Live It Well
Dirty Second Hands
Dare You to Move (Alt. Version)
Where I Belong
Against the Voices
Salt, Light, and Love
You Found Me
Only Thing We Need.
Meant For You
On My Way To Heaven
Want More Songs That Deliver a Message?
Well, check out our thoughts on the Best Inspirational Songs For Motivation, the Best Songs About Life, the Best Songs About Death, the Best Songs About Hope, the Top Songs About Gratitude, and the Top Songs about Searching for more meaningful song selections.
Also, you will need to hear them. So, take a look at our in-depth reviews of the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds, the Best True Wireless Earbuds, the Best Earbuds for Running, the Best iPhone Earbuds, and the Best Cheap Earbuds Under $100 you can buy in 2023.
Top 55 Switchfoot Songs – Final Thoughts
Was Switchfoot underrated? I think so, musically, anyway. The message is strong, and the lyrics are very good if you are looking for reasons and change.
They operated in an environment that was always going to be slightly restrictive. Religious-based music isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But, of course, they did vary their styles. And, while the lyrics might have been religious, the backing music wasn’t what you would call spiritual.
In my mind, a decent band that is underrated. Especially their songwriting. If you have enjoyed some of the tracks, here are three albums that cover their styles. A live album from 2008, Best of Bootlegs, Vol. 1, and another from 2009, The Best Yet Live in Nashville. And, of course, The Best Yet, an album with the best songs by Switchfoot, some of which I have included in this list. Worth a listen, I think.
Until next time, happy listening.