Sound — 10
"The Beautiful Letdown" is the 4th release of the San-Diego based Christian Rock band Switchfoot. "The Beautiful Letdown" comes three years after Switchfoot's third independently-released and critically acclaimed album "Learning To Breathe." Often compared with a music of REM, Coldplay, and even Nirvana, Switchfoot's "Letdown" represents the quartet's evolution toward a more accessible sound, it retained the band's raw energy and smart lyrics. Filled with edgy guitar driven rock on tracks like Meant to Live, diluted with softer rock tunes of More Than Fine, Dare You To Move and anthemic alt-rock crunch This Is Your Life, "The Beautiful Letdown" offers an outstanding rock album with a powerful and clear voice of Jon Foreman. What is also impressive is that Switchfoot do have their own sound -- that makes them stand out from the rest of many rock bands these days -- perfectly balanced, tone-suspended, distorted guitars with a sharp and clear "voice". However, you can't hit the band for a resemblance throughout the album, their music varies from a song to song, and that makes you think of a constant searching of the band's weight niche -- perceptible jumps from smooth acoustic tones to a sharp distortion prevent them to be categorized. Fans of solid guitar rock will fall into love with this album as soon as they hear the opening crunch of Meant To Live -- the song about how much we have strayed away from God. It has very strong intro and nice chorus. People with a softer side of their music demands will be suprized by This Is Your Life -- the band's most anthemic rock crunch since Dare You To Move from 2002's "A Walk to Remember" soundtrack, and More Than Fine -- a sophisticated and catchy alternative pop. However, both songs won't lose anything, if those Madonna-like synths would be turned down. For the hardcore, you can't beat Redemption, Ammunition, and Adding To The Noise. The Beautiful Letdown with a bulged bassline is another decent song.
Lyrics — 10
There is the only one letdown on the album -- the slight downfall (probably just a stagnation) of lyrics. While avoiding obvious sacred references in their lyrics, they're still using the same formula, which were used by Creed, Jars of Clay and many other Christian Rock acts. They are not overpreaching though. Nevertheless, Foreman's songwriting is impressive, which is obvious by his possibilities to put hidden messages behind the lyrics.
Overall Impression — 10
On one side we have a firm rock album filled up with a mixture of hard rock sounds along with softer pop-rock ballads and alternative passages. Having kept in mind a top production quality, it ends up as a worth product. On another side, this perfection comes close to a pure flat overpolished sounding and it's not easy to take off the feeling that their songs are overproduced and designed to appeal to the widest audience. But it's not obvious and could be easly ignored. All in all, with catchy rock tunes and deep lyrics along with passionate and confident voice of Jonathan Foreman it is safe to declare -- "The Beautiful Letdown" rocks!