Jon Foreman - Summer
Record Label: Lowercase People Records / Credential Recordings
Release Date: June 10, 2008
The final chapter in what has become a season-encompassing journey with Jon Foreman, the lead singer of the alternative rock band Switchfoot, has arrived. What started as a small, post-major-label side project, has evolved into a collection of well-crafted tunes, embraced both by the indie community and die-hard Switchfoot fans alike.
Summer picks up from where Spring left off. The hopeful chords of the season past are followed closely by the vitality of summertime. The EP opens with “A Mirror Is Harder to Hold,” which begins with a rather odd musical twist (mariachi’s featured prominently), an example of the eclectic San Diego music scene, and is a solid, wistful song that retells the old adage about how pointing the finger leaves three pointing back at yourself. It’s full of tasty lyrical pieces like “Sure you’ve got your sharp edges / but my wounds are from my own reflection,” and Bob Dylan-esque melodies. A solid opener, although it sounds more like an end-of-summer song than a beginning, making it an odd choice for opening track.
The second track, “Resurrect Me” is a stand-out from the rest of this entire EP project stylistically. Like Dylan on Highway 61 Revisited, Foreman went the rock-and-roll route with this track. Of all the songs churned out over the past few months, this one sounds most like his band, Switchfoot. Doubletracked vocals, heavily-layered guitar work, a wider vocal range, and full drums make the track sound like it would have fit comfortably on Switchfoot’s Oh! Gravity. album, sitting nicely between “Amateur Lovers” and “Dirty Second Hands.” Oh, and how can you beat a song with full-blown sitar, featured prominently both at the beginning and throughout?
“Deep In Your Eyes” is an abstract, beautifully ethereal offering, which is quickly proceeded by the brutally straightforward “Instead of a Show.” This is the preachiest song I’ve heard in quite a while, though not in the typically expected sense. Rather, it is a critique of the modern church, and the rather hypocritical focus on showy worship, rituals, and overall fakeness of many a Christian brother and sister, begging that “Instead / let there be a flood of justice.” Kudos to Foreman for stepping it up and opening himself up to possible criticism from jaded Christian journalists.
The record ends rather weakly from here on out. This is not to bash on “House of God Forever” and “Again,” but it’s hard to live up to the first half of the EP. Sarah Masen adds the female touch on “House,” a delicate song about how “Surely goodness / follows me / in the house of God forever.” It is a song about God’s love, which is followed by the similarly-themed “Again” to close out the series.
All in all, Summer is a fitting closer to what’s been a pleasantly surprising collection of songs. It cannot be reiterated enough that Jon Foreman is one of today’s great lyricists. While the lyricism in this EP is not as brilliant as in past projects, there are still many nuggets to be found and this EP is not to be overlooked.