For as long as I can remember, I have beeninfatuated with all types of rock music. Over the years I have purchased manyrock albums, some decent and some disappointing, in a quest for the ideal.Occasionally I would come across an album so appealing that I would convincemyself I had found the ideal album. But then I would grow tired of it, andrealize its insufficiency. I’d end up, once again, disillusioned.
As timepassed I became increasingly fastidious in my purchases; I even succumbed to thenotion that rock is dead as the deep meanings and messages in those powerfulsounds and identifiable lyrics were gradually replaced by repetitious hip-hop andmeaningless pop music.
I was close to denying the existence of theperfect rock album, but then, when I least expected it, I witnessed theinexpressible sublimity of Switchfoot’s “The Beautiful Letdown.” Icouldn’t believe my ears – the producing, songwriting, playing, singing and soundwere perfect.
I had finally found the ideal rock album and was utterlyhappy and satisfied every time I listened to this superlative collection of 11songs. Perhaps the most extraordinary track is “This is Your Life.” Theintro is very distinct and makes an intriguing transition from the previous song.It begins with decelerated base sounds separated by pausing intervals thatgradually lead into a shrill synthesizer, immediately followed by the soft strumsof a 12-string acoustic guitar played by Jon Foreman.
After Foreman singsprofound lyrics about the inevitability of the unchangeable past, he utters thewords, “This is your life … Are you who you want to be?” At thispoint, the listener is either weeping or completely dumfounded at the song’somnipotence – I think I passed out the first time I heard it.
Anotherawesome song is the title track. The message here is so undeniably true that itpractically demands the listener’s undivided attention. Foreman addresses achallenging truth about the distinct time when each is faced with the decision toaccept Christ as Savior and convert.
Foreman calls this conversion thebeautiful letdown because what once seemed beautiful is always a letdown when youfind truth in God. “The Beautiful Letdown” is only one of many thatfocuses on spiritual longing, and is perhaps the reason why this is the idealrock album.
Every song is incomparably impressive, I guarantee it.Through this album, Switchfoot has impacted my life. And if you have not yetwitnessed this, I hope and pray “The Beautiful Letdown” will becomeyour ideal rock album.