A NOTABLE 7TH-OR-HIGHER RELEASE 2009 Award Winner!
Runner-Up: , (Picket Fence Cartel).
Hello Hurricane opens with “Needle And Haystack Life”, a medium-Rock track with fast-paced drums (especially in the chorus) and hopeful lyrics.
This is followed by the excellent full-Rocking single “Mess Of Me”.
“Your Love Is A Song”, another excellent track, is a Rock ballad with a very memorable chorus.
“The Sound (John M. Perkins’ Blues)” is a Rocker with verses that have a great, almost spy-movie feel.
While next track “Enough To Let Me Go” is somewhat laid-back, the steady medium-paced drums keep it from becoming slow.
“Free” opens with a great guitar hook and verse vocal melody; and its chorus has an interesting musical combination, as well.
Title track “Hello Hurricane” features low electronics in the verses and a rock chorus.
“Always” is musically driven by a muted piano, the song slowly building as it goes on; and it has deeply hopeful lyrics.
“Bullet Soul” is another great rocker, this one somewhat rhythmic.
“Yet” turns quite emotional; it describes being beset by doubts, but holding on and coming out of them even stronger than before.
“Sing It Out” is a darker, moodier track that is easily one of Switchfoot’s all-time best. (This one still gives us goosebumps— especially as it builds to its soaring, triumphant finale.)
And finally “Red Eyes” closes out the disc with medium Rock and an extended outro (which includes several lines from the album’s first track).
The Special Edition comes with a DVD that has a number of features. The first is the almost 40-minute-long “Making Of”, which delves into the story behind the record and its production. Next come 6 music-video-like recordings of a live, in-studio performance (“Needle And Haystack Life”, “Mess Of Me”, “The Sound (John M. Perkins’ Blues)”, “Hello Hurricane”, “Always”, and “Bullet Soul”). Finally, there’s the nearly 8-minute-long “Photo Shoot”, which is at times interesting, cute, funny, and even a bit informative.
The Limited Collector’s Deluxe Edition includes the CD and Special Edition DVD, plus a large-square hardcover book, a poster, and an exclusive bonus CD called “Building A Hurricane”. The book contains artwork; an introductory message from the band, along with the lyrics/thanks and copies of handwritten commentary notes; and in-studio, live, and behind-the-scenes photos. The bonus CD contains demos, alternate versions, and a couple of outtakes of varying lengths and qualities— many of which are quite different, either musically or lyrically (or both!), and thus rather interesting (and some of them are fairly good, too).
The Digital Deluxe Version contains the regular-edition CD tracks, plus 2 acoustic-version tracks (“Mess Of Me” and “Always”), “Stitches” (from the Eastern Hymns For Western Shores EP), and— at least in iTunes— the live in-studio video of “The Sound…”.
The acoustic “Mess Of Me” is remarkably full-sounding, considering it uses only an electric bass and a few acoustic guitars; and— also unusual for a rocking track redone acoustically— it’s just about as good as the original! Acoustic “Always” does use acoustic guitars instead of electric, but interestingly all of the other elements are still there as well (even the steel guitar), though some of them are played slightly differently. And “Stitches” is another great, memorable rock track that closes the Digital Deluxe Version in style.
In all, this is a great album from Switchfoot, and worthy of this Award.