With the mainstream success of San Diego rock band Switchfoot's fourth album The Beautiful Letdown,
I suppose it should surprise no one for a three CD set entitled The Early Years: 1997 - 2000 to be released.
The project is pretty self-explanatory -- the band's first three releases on Sparrow Records packed into
one tasty collection. It's essentially the bandwagon fan's dream. But given that these albums really aren't that
old, it just seems somewhat odd to see them condensed so soon.
If you've been following Switchfoot since their 1997 start, you won't have any use for
The Early Years - except, maybe, to fill one of those awkwardly large slots at the bottom
of your CD tower. This collection includes all three records (The Legend Of Chin, New Way To Be Human,
and Learning To Breathe) with their original CD jackets and original disc art. Quite simply,
it's all the same music, packaging, etc, all in one handy dandy 3-in-1 case.
If you're only knowledge of Switchfoot is the runaway radio hit "Meant To Live," or "Dare You
To Move," you're in for a shock with these releases. The then-trio have come from quite a distance since
their humble beginnings. From the attention-getter "Chem6A" on their debut to the original recording
of "Dare You To Move" on Learning To Breathe, the band's growth is evident and a wonder to have watched firsthand.
But each record has its charm and each record leaves plenty of room for further growth. While some
artists have lulls or weak chapters in their careers, Switchfoot does not, and
The Early Years is proof.
New diehard Switchfoot fans who don't mind some great songs exploring totally different ground
for the group have the perfect opportunity to catch up on their SF 101 with The Early Years: 1997 - 2000.
Longtime fans need to pass this one buy and grab either of their 2004 DVD projects or merely
save up for their next venture. While perhaps a couple b-sides (Um, "Monday Comes Around" would
have been nice) or a few radio remixes would have made this more of a fan project, it's a great
exerpt of significant pop/rock history to reflect upon and rediscover as we all anticipate, perhaps, even greater things ahead.
- Review date: 1/9/05, written by John DiBiase