Since the launch of Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman's solo pursuits, the singer/songwriter has released two EP's out of four total as he takes the listener on a journey through the changing seasons in a year. Beginning with Fall in late 2007, the EPs have been folk/acoustical wonders, each carrying its own tone, each varying in themes and styles. With Spring, Foreman takes possibly his most diverse and experimental steps yet as he continues to cover deeply personal topics and take us into a more sunny state.
"March (A Prelude to Spring)" is a quirky project opener. Clocking in at less than a minute and a half, Foreman enlists the aid of vocalist Molly Jenson as he displays the kind of upbeat blissfulness you might hear from an artist like Eisley -- a feeling only aided by Molly's vocal stylings. Oddly enough, the lyrics to "March" don't exactly line up with the perky, jubilant music, and therefore seems a bit disjointed. Foreman sings, "We, my love and me / Walking along / We, birds and the bees / Trees of the forest / Started as one / Something went wrong / We ended alone / Ah, now my love is gone / La, la, la... And time still / Marches on / But now time marches wrong."
"Love Isn't Made" has a more epic and emotional opening musically, serving as what would have been a much stronger start to Spring. In fact, Foreman nails the early morning sunrise feeling perfectly as the song drifts softly in. As one of the album highlights, it seems quite appropriate for Jon's wife Emily and her sister, acclaimed singer/songwriter Sarah Masen to support him with backing vocals before the song's end. "In My Arms" is a little romantic ballad about missing someone, which is made a bit lighter by some added bells and such, but ultimately still feels a rather melancholy for Spring. "Baptize My Mind" is thematically a beautiful prayer for renewal, which goes right along with the concept of the season's growth, however the cheery music is a bit cheesy in comparison to Foreman's strongest work (which includes the two tracks that follow this one). Jon's delightfully weary vocals are perfect for his melancholic work, so when flutes and chimes and other accompaniment is used to give the song a retro and joyful sound, it ultimately feels somewhat forced.
Almost consistently, Foreman reserves some of the EP's best for last, with a prayerful and beautiful modern take on the Lord's Prayer in "Your Love Is Strong," and a slower, stripped down version of the Switchfoot Oh! Gravity. b-side, "Revenge." In a time when worship music is expectantly predictable, such a heartfelt offering as "Your Love Is Strong" is a refreshing testament to where worship music could and should be heading. Jon sings, "Heavenly Father / You always amaze me / Let Your kingdom come in my world / And in my life/ ....I walk to the meadow / And stare at the flowers / Better dressed than any girl / On her wedding day / So why should I worry? / Why do I freak out? / God knows what I need / You know what I need! / Your love is strong." And then to close with "Revenge" on an EP released just two days after Easter is most poignant, "We consumed heaven's Son / I drew first blood / My hate was undone... / Revenge / Here's a story / How a thief had been robbed / How a murder had stolen my rage." Although the Switchfoot rendition is arguably stronger, this more organic rendition fits better on Foreman's solo EP.
Jon Foreman continues to impress and impact with the release of Spring. While Fall and Winter captured the mood of the seasons quite well, it left plenty of questions as to how Foreman might approach the more lively seasons of Spring and Summer. And although the happier songs included here may not really be Jon's strong points, he still offers some of his most memorable work here, sticking to what he does best but still taking it a little further. Now with eighteen tracks (so far) of solo material for his listeners to chew on until the conclusion in Summer, we can only anticipate with eager ears as to where this will all go next.- Review date: 3/26/08 by John DiBiase
Record Label: Lowercase People
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