Sound — 9
Well, Switchfoot's sound on Oh! Gravity is different then anything they've ever done before. To me it's an improvement over their last album Nothing Is Sound while keeping the familiarity of their older albums. It's chock full of skillful arrangement and songwriting. The styles of the songs are diverse and range from punchy rockers like "American Dream", bluesy acoustic to full band chaos contrasts in "Dirty Second Hands", pop-edged rock anthems like "Awakening and Burnout Bright", earnest tracks like "Circles" and "Faust, Midas, and Myself", the truely alternative for lack of better words song Amateur Lovers with a hint of 60s flair, the not to be forgotten "Oh! Gravity", and the excellent acoustic track "Let Your Love be Strong". However, the tracks Yesterday and 4:12 are kind of dry, repetitive, and sleepy. They also seam to be weak in melody arrangements. Aside from those lacking yet listenable songs, this is a solid album with good songs you can listen to repeatedly.
Lyrics — 9
Switchfoot are Christians on a major label. They have written lyrics that have undoubtedly shown they're beliefs, but Oh! Gravity lacks the christian messages they once had much like Nothing is Sound does. There are songs that have lyrics doubtlessly about God like "Head over Heels(in This Life)" and "Let Your Love be Strong", but most of the songs point more towards issues in life and of happiness. The lyrics do go well with their respective songs and the pairing of lyrics with the music make the emotional effect of the songs much greater. Last but not least, Jon Foreman is a skilled singer that delivers the lyrics well. His voice is not as full as it was in The Beautiful Letdown, but it is still good. He seems to be opting for a more relaxed, yet sill earnest approach. Overall good lyrics and singing, but could have used more christian messages, but that's my preference.
Overall Impression — 10
My overall impression of this album is a good one. It's not as good as The Beautiful Letdown, but it is very good nonetheless. It's about as a good as Learning to Breathe in that it's a stepping stone for Switchfoot in terms of direction. Learning to Breathe was a more complex work than they had previously done before at that time and paved the way for the excellent The Beautiful Letdown. Oh! Gravity has much of that same feel to it and it's a good direction from Nothing is Sound. Most all of the songs on the album except for the two mentioned are really good songs that showcase their skill in diversity and the quality thereof. I would probably by the CD again if I lost it or if it was stolen.