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JFH Music Review


Jon Foreman, 'In Bloom'
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Jon Foreman
In Bloom



Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Folk / Acoustic Pop
Album length: 12 tracks: 39 minutes, 33 seconds
Street Date: May 31, 2024


READER RATING:   


Jon Foreman is many things: chief among them a deep thinker, prolific writer, musician, philosopher, and tour guide. And by the latter, I mean one who has led listeners through major seasons of their lives with his world-weary, yet hopeful tunes. For this reviewer, he's soundtracked many milestone moments in my life and expressed my heart in the way he sees the world. As such, I eagerly anticipate each of his musical offerings, looking for that breath-of-fresh-air-lyric said in such a way that lifts my spirits and reinvigorates a tired soul. With his newest full-length, titled In Bloom, I am happy to report that he has (mostly) delivered again. That's not to say it measures up to his previous solo offering, Departures, but that would have been tough to top or match. However, what we get with In Bloom is a slightly sunnier version of Foreman, from the album artwork to the sonic palate, and the poetic lyrics for which he is known.

Straightaway, listeners are treated to a run of five songs kicking off the album that set the tone and expectations high for the record. "I Propose a Toast" finds Foreman ready to celebrate with the lighthearted sentiments, "Cause we all get low/But right now the light feels so close/So I propose a toast." Other major standouts of the first half of the album are the title track and my overall favorite song, "Eulogy." The latter featuring a killer chorus with tender lines like, "Every day I write the eulogy/For everything I used to be/I'm still aiming for a better me/I am the mosaic of a shattered man/Broken and becoming who I am." It's vintage Jon Foreman on display, and as far as I'm concerned, it's among one of the best of his vast catalogue.

Elsewhere, the lyrics of the all-too-short "Sojourn (epilogue)" are also worth noting as a fine way to close the album message-wise. Foreman wistfully and cleverly sings, "I develop like a photograph/My negative finds a second draft/Songs are my dark room/Shutter focus on the light blooms/Just needed more exposure/To the light I was fighting like a soldier."

What does hold In Bloom back is the back half of the album. To be sure, the b-side has a highlight or two, but it's also the first time we experience filler in a solo recording from the industry vet. While sweet, and certainly solid, aside from the infectious harmony in "Cheap Wine (And Expensive Conversation)," courtesy of Abby Holiday, the back half of the album treads toward forgettable. Again, nothing in the run spanning "Stay Wild, Wildflower," "Heaven Is Yours, and "Lovers Are Believers" is bad, these just sound like songs Foreman has written before. This is an unfortunate result of setting such a high bar for himself and the prolific nature of his output.

All in all, while it pains me to criticize one of my all-time favorite songwriters, even Jon isn't above an occasional miss. Besides, a near perfect first half of the album balances the uneven latter half, leaving much still to like. Overall, In Bloom is worth a listen, and it's sure to cement a few of its tunes among my favorite solo Foreman songs to date.

- Review date: 5/30/24, written by Josh Balogh of Jesusfreakhideout.com



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JFH Staff's Second Opinion



When Jon Foreman first stepped out as a solo artist, he released a series of stripped down, moody EPs based around the four seasons. Subsequent releases found the Switchfoot frontman adding more of an upbeat pop sound, coinciding with the band's dipping into the pop genre. With his latest release, In Bloom, Foreman is melding the two sounds together. He's back to the stripped down style, but is keeping the brighter, almost whimsical tone. The result is an album that feels simultaneously fresh and modern while also feeling like a forgotten record from the '60s or '70s (the cover certainly helps that perception). The 12 songs breeze by with a soundtrack perfect for the summer.

The first half of the album deals with letting go of the past and wrestling with problems in the present (like "Eulogy" and "Antidote"). The back half is more hopeful, whether it's looking forward to heaven through the lens of the Beatitudes ("Heaven is Yours"), laying out a simple, sweet love song ("Cheap Wine (And Expensive Conversation)"), or noting how it's possible for humans to get along with each other ("Lovers are Believers"). These songs may not quite reach the peak of Foreman's solo career the way his more melancholic seasons EPs did, but the singer/songwriter is probably the most chill he's ever been and it makes for a lovely record. Foreman fans and those looking for perfect summer music will find a quality album In Bloom. - Review date: 5/23/24, John Underdown of Jesusfreakhideout.com

 

. Record Label: None (Distributed by Capitol CMG)
. Album length: 12 tracks: 39 minutes, 33 seconds
. Street Date: May 31, 2024
. Buy It: Apple Music
. Buy It: JonForeman.com (Vinyl)
. Buy It: Amazon Music (MP3)

  1. I Propose A Toast (3:36)
  2. Where The Sidewalk Ends (4:47)
  3. Eulogy (4:28)
  4. In Bloom (feat. Joy Oladokun) (3:13)
  5. Antidote (2:21)
  6. Stay Wild, Wildflower (3:34)
  7. Heaven Is Yours (3:07)
  8. Lovers Are Believers (2:46)
  9. Cheap Wine (And Expensive Conversation) (feat. Abby Holliday) (2:56)
  10. Lover (3:37)
  11. As. Simple. As. Us. (4:03)
  12. Sojourn (epilogue) (1:10)
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