A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this album doesn't have any objectionable content. Instead, the LP tackles some pretty deep and complex topics about self and the meaning of life. These definitely aren't pop-rock songs about crushes and breaking up. That means this album might be a little advanced for kids who aren't ready for philosophical discussions. Although the band has been categorized as a "Christian rock" group, their lyrics don't include any references to a particular belief, and any higher power is just abstractly mentioned. There might be some discussion about love and loving someone, but these references seem to focus more on spiritual love rather than love for the opposite sex.Â
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What's the story?
HELLO HURRICANE is the seventh studio album for Switchfoot, a hard-to-define band that can be classified as alternative rock, with bits of electronica, classic rock, pop, and Christian rock spattered about. Look for more new material to come out soon from the group, as this album marks the first release of four from a series of productive studio sessions. These recording sessions, incidentally, were broadcasted over the Internet via webcam for fans. The album sees the band covering diverse musical territory, with elements from Led Zeppelin and The Verve appearing along with jazz, modern rock, and metal stylings popping up on various tracks.
Is it any good?
Switchfoot's adventurous nature is infectious. The band offers a liberating take on today's alternative rock scene, which seems to say that you need to follow one musical path to produce a cohesive album. Quite the contrary, this album is all over the alternative map, jumping from driving guitar riffs to pounding beats to acoustic tracks. There's a unified message to the album, a spiritually-driven re-interpretation of T.S. Eliot, if you will, a modern examination of the post-modern world and one's place in it. "The dawn is fire bright, against the city lights, the clouds are glowing now, the moon is blacking out." It's nothing that hasn't been tackled before, but Switchfoot's unique faith-inspired perspective provides a uniquely hopeful conclusion to this existential debate.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the meanings of music lyrics. This band uses abstract concepts and images to explore emotions and beliefs. Can you think of any other bands or artists who use symbolism and metaphors to get their point across? How does this style of music differ from lyrics that are more straightforward or explicit?
Talk about ideas forfamily time. Maybe listening to an emotionally-charged album like this one will make you want to spend a little time with the people you love. What are some good ways to spend quality time together without the need for technology or screen time?
Families can talk about music and religion. How are religious ideas and emotions used in music? Why do you think there is a separate category for "Christian rock." Is it clever marketing to categorize a band with this label? What about bands that discuss religion in their music, but in more abstract ways? Do they automatically get grouped in the Christian music genre because of it? Why do you think that is?