Written by: Jon Fisher (08/19/2021)

The year 2020 left a mark on all of us to a lesser or greater degree, and this included music. Without live music nor the ability of musicians to gather to collaborate and record, these times might end up being a scar on the musical landscape that reverberates for a decade. It’s not surprising that the effects were felt on the veteran (has it really been over 25 years?), successful Christian crossover group, Switchfoot. Working in their Southern California recording studio throughout 2020 and into 2021; Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman, Chad Butler, Jerome Fontamillas and Drew Shirley recorded their 12th full-length album, interrobang. Switchfoot’s press release explains the interesting title of this album. “Interro is derived from ‘interrogation point’, the technical name for the question mark, and ‘bang’ is printers’ slang for the exclamation point. Seeking freedom from the broken promises and failed expectations of 21st century America, the souls that run through these stories ask hard questions with eyes wide open.” This should be no surprise to anyone as we live in broken world and recent events have only served to magnify that point.

interrobang is definitely a departure from earlier albums with more experimental sounds which are apparent in songs such as “Beloved”, “I Need You (To Be Wrong)” and “Electricity” which demonstrate a very overt Beatles’ “Revolver” and Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” influence. These influences are nicely blended with Switchfoot’s signature sound, and provides the listener with a very interesting experience.

“Beloved” which opens the album is a mishmash of pyschedelica, but an extremely listenable song. It really addresses the tribalism and fracturing of our society that we’ve seen over the past year and a half. But the message eventually comes around to where we’re all more alike and need each other more than we realize. Foreman writes as an explanation for “Beloved” that he wanted to set the tone for the entire album with this song, and he succeeds masterfully.

“maybe every “other” is a “we” maybe

Differences are easier to see

Than the family we are that’s underneath, maybe

Like you need me?”

“If I Were You” contains in that same vein about disagreements and sniping, and it perfectly encapsulates all that was/is wrong with a great number of relationships. However, as Foreman puts it “How can any of us ever see a different perspective if we all think exactly alike?”

“Cause we bicker over listerine

With twitter as our liturgy

What a crumbly legacy

2020 enemies

If I were you

And you were me

Would we still be doomed

To disagree”

“Lost ‘cause” is definitely a favorite and one of the reasons I really appreciate Foreman as a songwriter, as he always is fantastic at the wordplay and double meanings – we’re a lost cause and we’re lost (be)cause. Very nice. As Foreman explains: “Entering into a relationship with another human soul is a surrender.”

“I Need You (To Be Wrong)” is another highlight of the album. Again singing about friction in relationships because everyone is so sure that they’ve got all the facts and they’re right on the position they espouse. We’ve seen so much of that lately. Here, Foreman just says it would be good if people realized that we need each other more than we need to be right about something. I like how the chorus ends simply with either “You need me” or “I need you”.

“you need me (to be wrong)

You need me (to be wrong)

You need me

All along we both were wrong

I need you (to be wrong)

I need you”

It’s good to have a new Switchfoot album in the catalog, and to see their legacy expanded. I always thought that Hello Hurricane was their first “grown-up” album (and one of my favorites) where they demonstrated a maturity that wasn’t present in some of their earlier albums. With interrobang they’ve taken another step in their life cycle as a band where they’ve articulated the angst of a hurting people and a distressing time.


Released: August 20, 2021

Label: Fantasy Records

Track Listing:

  1. beloved (5:34)
  2. lost ’cause (3:44)
  3. fluorescent (3:35)
  4. if i were you (3:48)
  5. the bones of us (4:02)
  6. splinter (3:47)
  7. i need you (to be wrong) (3:33)
  8. the hard way (3:26)
  9. wolves (3:10)
  10. backwards in time (4:13)
  11. electricity (4:38)

11 Tracks, 44:00

Buy on iTunes

More from Switchfoot:

  • The Legend of Chin (1997)
  • No Way To Be Human (1999)
  • Learning To Breathe (2000)
  • The Beautiful Letdown (2003)
  • Nothing Is Sound (2005)
  • Oh! Gravity. (2006)
  • The Best Yet (2008)
  • Hello Hurricane (2009)
  • Hello Hurricane (Deluxe Edition) (2009)
  • Vice Verses (2011)
  • Vice Verses (Deluxe Version) (2011)
  • Vice Re-Verses (2011)
  • Fading West (2014)
  • The Edge of the Earth: Unreleased Songs from the Film “Fading West” (2014)
  • Where The Light Shines Through (2016)
  • Where The Light Shines Through (Deluxe Edition) (2016)
  • Native Tongue (2019)
  • Native Tongue Reimagine/Remix EP (2020)
  • Covers EP (2020)
  • interrobang (2021)

Visit Switchfoot’s Official Site Here