As every major-label artist knows, unless you’re a Jessica Simpson or a Jay-Z, you simply don’t release a new album in the fourth quarter. Holiday releases are usually saved for “Best Ofs” and original material from superstars practically guaranteed to go platinum. That’s why Switchfoot’s release date of Dec. 26 for their new album Oh! Gravity raised more than a few eyebrows and left record execs and fans alike scratching their heads.
“We definitely got a few puzzled looks from the record company when we proposed that date,” admits Switchfoot bassist Tim Foreman. “We figured that we’re not a big hip-hop band and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle in the holiday madness. We really believe in this album and these songs and we wanted them to have their own spot.”
Never ones to follow trends, the San Diego rockers — Jon Foreman (vocals/guitar), Jerome Fontamillas (guitar), Drew Shirley (guitar), Foreman, and Chad Butler (drums) — are making the release of Oh! Gravity, the band’s third album on Columbia, unconventional in other ways. Not did they drop the album one year after their previous effort, Nothing Is Sound, but they promoted the record with a small club tour rather than playing larger venues — an approach in line with Switchfoot’s goal to eliminate the barriers between the band and fans, and to make the music more accessible and personal.
While writing and recording Oh! Gravity, Switchfoot managed to ignore any pressure to re-create or live up to the success of 2003’s The Beautiful Letdown or 2005’s Nothing Is Sound. On this record, they made their rock sound a little rawer and edgier while evidencing a natural progression in their own brand of music. And in traditional Switchfoot fashion, the album exhibits lyrical depth as well.
Explains Foreman, “Oh! Gravity asks the question: with gravity being the force that pulls two bodies together, why can’t we as a person, as a marriage, as a country, as a world, why can’t we keep it together?”
With a career that now spans over a decade, Switchfoot have cemented their status in the national rock scene with double-platinum and gold-selling albums. The key to the band’s success lies not only in the quality, catchiness, and universal appeal of its music, but also in keeping interband relationships strong.
“This has been my college education: touring around the world with my best friends playing music,” says Foreman. “And to look back at those 10 or 11 years and feel like we’re making the best music of our lives right now and to realize that we’re still best friends is pretty special and I’m really thankful for that. There’s no one that I’d rather be out on the road with.”