Switchfoot has finally broken a year of silence with “Native Tongue,” a thundering anthem of a song that reminds us who Switchfoot is– and maybe who we are too in the process.
“Native Tongue” builds around a simple thesis: the truest language of the human heart is love. We’ve learned other languages, languages of hate and division and fear, but maybe the world would be better if we all started speaking our first language again: “My friend, where did we go wrong / My Lord, we forgot our song / My soul such a long way from / My lips, my lungs, my native tongue.”
The message is urgent and timely, yet somehow also marked by delight. The musical vibe of this track matches, choosing to build around a heavy percussive presence and soaring gang vocals that seem to embody the whole of the human tribe. There’s a vivacious energy here, propelling everything from the deliciously fuzzy guitar tones to the staccato punches of the drum beats to the weightless rise and fall of Jon Foreman’s vocals.
For a band with a career as storied as Switchfoot’s, the inevitable question arises: where does this fall in the broader context of their body of work? It’s noteworthy that this song does not sound particularly like their last album, 2016’s Where the Light Shines Through. It feels more like the work of Vice Verses, an album that was born after season of stripping away and rethinking not unlike what the band has experienced in 2018. “Native Tongue” certainly carries that same relentless fire, that sense of identity declaration. But it’s also something wholly new, a Switchfoot we’ve never seen before– secure in their reputation as one of the best spiritually influenced alt rock bands of our time, but still with so much to say.
“Native Tongue” is the title track from the upcoming full length album of the same name, and if this first offering is any indication, this collection will offer soul language you’ll be wanting to sing along with. You can preorder the album by clicking here.