Sound — 10
This time around Switchfoot has mixed their sound up a bit, drawing from a number of sources for inspiration, sporting a variety of tracks, no two alike. At first I was a bit anxious to hear this album would draw from sources like, motown, funk, and hip-hop, but... It works! The band sought to build an album around bass and drums, and it shows. The rhythms and bass lines here are top-notch, not just filling up space but actually contributing to the music. don't worry though, the guitar that Switchfoot is known for is still there loud as ever, but this time around it works together with the rhythm section much more seamlessly. Pay close attention to the mixing and the variety of sounds on this album. No two songs are the same, and everything sounds crisp, clear and balanced - props to producer Neal Avron and executive producer Mike Elizondo. Musically this is Switchfoot's most impressive album to date.
Lyrics — 9
While not quite as complex as the lyrics displayed on "Nothing Is Sound", "Vice Verses" still features some of Switchfoot's best lyrics to date, continually proving that Switchfoot writes songs for "the thinking man". The lyrics here push this album farther in the direction of a concept album than ever before, featuring themes of polarity, (life/death, light/dark, truth/lies, etc.) from start to finish, and a lyrical reprise of the first track on the last track, tying this album together quite nicely. The messages here aren't entirely new though, songs about being yourself, and finding a sense of belonging aren't new territory for the band but the music is fresh and each song offers something new to previously discussed topics. Jon Foreman steps out of his comfort zone to great success on "Vice Verses". Spoken word lyrics on songs like "The War Inside" and especially "Selling The News" prove the range of Foreman's abilities both as a singer and as a songwriter have not faltered over the years. Whether singing a ballad, or a heavy rock song, Foreman always hits the right mood with his singing.
Overall Impression — 10
"Vice Verses" for me stands right alongside "Nothing Is Sound" as the best Switchfoot Album yet. If Hello Hurricane is was worth a Grammy, this album should expect nothing less. It's Switchfoot with a fresh new twist! "Selling The News" is probably the most unique song on the album, representing the largest departure from Switchfoot's traditional style but the best song this album has to offer has got to be "Where I Belong". At nearly 7 minutes long, its Switchfoot's longest song ever, and yet it still ends to soon. Claps, gang vocals, atmospheric guitars, excellent backing vocals, and a huge dose of emotional satisfaction you don't often get from music. Overall, I love the variety this album has to offer. While bands like Green Day and Coldplay continue to sound largely the same from the first track to the last, Switchfoot proves they're not just a one-trick horse. If there's anything I hate about this album it could only be the use of a drum machine on "Thrive" while the bass kicks sound great, I just can't get excited about fake cymbals... Or claps... Whatever that sound is supposed. To be. Regardless, I will treasure this album and would not hesitate to replace it should it be lost.