In Summer 2002, San Diego rock band Switchfoot recorded their fourth, and arguably their best album on Sparrow Records. Due to some pending mainstream exposure, the record was delayed from a Fall 2002 release to a February 2003 release. From there, the 12-song record was trimmed to 11 solid cuts and released to the public who embraced it with open arms. As one of the best releases of 2003, The Beautiful Letdown is still making an impact on radio with the hit "Meant To Live." And as what can only be assumed is an attempt to encourage repeat sales of the record, Columbia Records has re-released the album in June 2004 with a bonus DVD. This review rates the album with the addition of the DVD, but covers mainly the bonus features. For our full review of the record, written by Blake Garris last February, please click here.
The special edition re-release of The Beautiful Letdown features a brand new cover, which isn't nearly as cool as the original, but doubles as a peel-off sticker so if you'd like it better on your locker than in the case, you're in luck. The CD is exactly the same amazing record fans bought last year, but the bonus DVD adds some fun content for those who want a little more.
The DVD begins with a making-of featurette of the "Dare You To Move" music video. There're brief interviews with extras from the video who are all fans and express their love for the band, as well as a few behind-the-scene cut-ups between the Switchfoot band members. The making-of isn't especially memorable, but it's fun to get an inside look on the filming. The actual video follows, featuring a slightly more electric intro to the song followed by the same mix heard on the CD. The story woven throughout the video isn't exactly awe-inspiring, however it does present a good message that encourages us to go against the flow of the world. When we're not watching the video's main character running through a crowd, we're shown shots of the band playing on a rooftop in the rain. The music video isn't nearly as intriguing to watch as the one for "Meant To Live" (which is sorely missing here), but it's definitely worth a viewing.
From there, we're treated to a brief look at Jerome harassing Tim before Jon steps outside a concert venue to play "On Fire" on his acoustic by himself for a crowd of fans who couldn't get into a sold-out show. The video portion of the DVD concludes with some excerpts from their independently released Switchfootage DVD that features the guys surfing, skating, and in the studio set to rough or alternate mixes of some of the songs from The Beautiful Letdown. The audio-only portion of the DVD features the song "Monday Comes Around" which had appeared on early prereleases for The Beautiful Letdown but not the final release as well as a live version of "Meant To Live" (which is probably the same from the Live In San Diego DVD, just minus the video footage. What makes little sense is the audio-only portion is only playable in a DVD player and just shows a bland screen with the song title. You cannot play this audio in any regular CD player or without bringing up the menu on a DVD player. Why they couldn't either tack these songs on to the end of the The Beautiful Letdown CD as bonus tracks is beyond me. Not many will want to pop this DVD into their computer or DVD player everytime they want to hear these two songs.
Overall, the DVD is a great, although somewhat brief, addition to an already great record. Fans who already have The Beautiful Letdown CD may want to wait to find this package really cheap or save the money and pick up the full-length Live In San Diego DVD. One cannot help but wonder why the CD had to be re-released with bonus content at all besides for commercial purposes. Perhaps a new EP featuring the bonus cut and maybe some live songs with a bonus DVD would be more fan-friendly, but I suppose it would defeat the purpose of encouraging more sales of The Beautiful Letdown.
If you don't have The Beautiful Letdown yet, make sure you pick up the new special edition, otherwise, you may just want to save your hard-earned money for an album you don't already own.- Review date: 7/5/04, written by John DiBiase
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