The Beautiful Letdown, Compact Disc [CD]The Beautiful Letdown, Compact Disc [CD]
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Switchfoot's "Beautiful Letdown" comes three years after their third independently-released album earning them critical acclaim and a hit single on rock and alternative radio with, "Meant to Live." The Beautiful Letdown has quickly proven to be the bands strongest and fastest selling album to date. 11 songs in all from Red Ink Records.

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LABEL: Sparrow/Columbia Records
SPECIAL EFFECT(S): Listen for Frank Sinatra, Al Pacino, Elvis and Bono (references), as well as a fine re-mix of "Dare You To Move" from Learning to Breathe and the A Walk to Remember soundtrack.
PRODUCER(S): John Fields and Switchfoot

Maybe it's because I'm in the middle of John Eldridge's Journey of Desire, or maybe it's because it's been such a long, dry season in Christian music, but I can't seem to eject Switchfoot's The Beautiful Letdown from my stereo. For a solid week, I've carried this disc from the car to the office to the kitchen to the bedroom. And now all I can say is this: If you want to hear what music should be (as opposed to much of what makes it on the radio), this is where you'll find it. Switchfoot has long proven itself to be an innovative force in Christian music, but The Beautiful Letdown is seriously one of the best albums you'll hear all year, period — in any genre, in any category.

From the guitar-pounding, anthemic opener, "Meant to Live," to the quiet stirring of the closer, "Twenty-Four," Switchfoot digs even deeper into the deepest of human dilemmas: "It was a beautiful letdown/the day I knew/all the riches of this world had to offer me/would never do...I tried hard to fit in/until I found out, I don't belong here..." (from the title track).

More than clever, the lyrics here are as artful and as full of faith as they are stinging and deep. Musically, The Beautiful Letdown reveals the band at their performance peak — imaginative, balanced and extremely tight.

What's next? This is. Music for the heart, soul and mind.

—Melissa Riddle