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Music Reviews

Departures – Jon Forman
****This is the first solo album for the multi-talented leader of Switchfoot, after releasing multiple EPs, the latest being 2015’s four EP collection The Wonderlands. The album features 12 new songs all of which were written or co-written by Foreman. He also produced or co-produced each song. The mostly acoustic songs feature excellent musicianship, and I particularly liked his use of strings.
Foreman has said that this is an album “born out of the turmoil and desperation of the last year, (and this year, too). It’s an album that’s born from the journey, not the destination.” This is an excellent album with themes such as doubt, fears, lessons learned, thanksgiving, love, loss, and those things that really matter. I’ve always enjoyed Foreman’s solo work, and feel that this is his strongest release to date.
Below are a few comments about each song:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and a review of Evensong (Deluxe/An Evening at Hidden Trace Farm) by Keith and Kristyn Getty
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

The Ocean Beyond The Sea – This opening song is somewhat different musically from what we normally get from Foreman, and it’s actually my least favorite on a very strong album. The song builds as he sings softly about forests, valleys and highways. The song features some excellent strings.
Key lyric:
Beyond the tyrant
Beyond the sirens
Beyond the silence
I heard a whisper
As soft as thunder
As cold as fire
By the ocean beyond the sea

Education – This is an upbeat song, with a good drum beat, guitar, horns and backing vocals. Foreman has said that the lessons that have stuck with him most in life have been the ones that have cost him pain, time and loss. He sings that the scars are teachers that you’re never gonna forget. Love is the hardest lesson you have to learn.
Key lyric:
Most things worth doing in this life
Are gonna kill you in the end

And the things worth fighting for
Are the things that you can’t defend

Side By Side – This easy-going love song features Madison Cunningham. The song features acoustic guitar and bass. Foreman’s and Cunningham’s voices blend well.
They are as different as snowflakes, but side by side they start to melt into something wonderful. Foreman has said that the song is an attempt to sing out the truth against a backdrop of his fears and doubts.
Key lyric:
Oh, the irony, friends and enemies
We’ll all be buried side-by-side

A Place Called Earth
– This song was written by Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman and Lauren Daigle. Daigle sings the third verse, and her and Foreman’s voices blend well on the chorus. He longs for Heaven on a place called Earth, where every son and daughter will know their worth. The song features piano, strings, drums, bass and acoustic guitar.
Key lyric:
Oh, how I long for Heaven in a place called Earth
Where every son and daughter would know their worth
Where all the streets resound with thunderous joy

Red And Gold – This song features acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, drums, strings and backing vocals. The song was inspired as Foreman was on a hill in San Diego watching the sun go down and the car lights on the freeway below. The city glows, the traffic and rushing, of thirsty souls, hungry for meaning and love.
Key lyric:
So, hold your faith, you’re not alone here
Stay your pace, you’re almost home
We’re on our way, we’re on our way home

Jesus, I Have My Doubts – Foreman has said that this is a song that steps into the ring with God. It is him asking the big questions at the end of a long, difficult season. It’s his honest attempt to sing into his doubts. The song features acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, strings and light percussion. He’s been singing broken songs looking for the light for so long, but the pain goes on and on. Can God reach him in the silence?
Key lyric:
Jesus, feels like the world’s in pieces
I’m sure You’ve got Your reasons
But I have my doubts
Jesus, I have my doubts

Thanks Be To God – This worship song of thanksgiving features strings, synth, drums, acoustic guitar, piano and bass. He loves the truth and has seen the light, but there is still sin (shadow) alive inside (Romans 7).
Key lyric:
Christ, Christ alone come and set me free
Thanks be to God who delivers me 

The Gift – The beautiful song features acoustic guitar and strings. Our lives go through change, and love is what remains (1 Corinthians 13). The question is whether we will recognize the gift before it’s gone.
Key lyric:
May the wind that blows the hardest bring you home
Weight Of The World – This song addresses his doubt as he asks where God is now. He doesn’t understand how these difficult times fit into God’s plans. The song features acoustic guitar, light percussion, bass and some excellent strings.
Key lyric:
I’ve been waiting for
Your capable hands to come down
I’ve been praying for
Your capable hands to come down and turn this around
Your capable hands
Could carry the weight of the world

Love Is The Rebel Song – After a short opening, this musically upbeat song features acoustic guitar, backing vocals, strings and drums. Even if hate is the loudest song, he refuses to sing along. In a world at war love is the rebel song.
Key lyric:
Sing to me a melody for the ones who will never win
Songs of dreamers In-betweeners the ones that will never fit in
Where the wars go on and on
Love is the rebel song

The Valley Of The Shadow Of Planned Obsolescence – On this song, Foreman is feeling disposable and old. He’s looking back at old girlfriends, friends, social media, his music CD’s, and the Internet, the things he used to prize. He encourages us to focus on the things that will last (relationships), singing What would we do if we finally saw the light? If we dropped this accursed pride could we make amends? The song features cello, horns, acoustic guitar, whistle and a stringed instrument.
Key lyric:
On the day my heart beat dies
I want to be with you
The rest is just pretend
Just make believe
Last Words – This song seems to be about a friend who died in the COVID-19 pandemic, as the song begins and ends with ambulance sirens. None of the words he heard made sense of his friend leaving. The song features acoustic guitar, synth, backing vocals, light percussion and bass.
Key lyric:
Your last words to me were keep breathing
So I’m breathing in the breath you left behind

Best Songs
A Place Called Earth
Jesus, I Have My Doubts
The Gift
Weight of the World
Love is the Rebel Song
The Valley of the Shadow of Planned Obsolescence

Evensong (Deluxe/An Evening at Hidden Trace Farm) – Keith and Kristyn Getty 

Keith and Kristyn Getty released Evensong: Hymns and Lullabies at the Close of Day in October, 2020. See my review of that album here. Also, watch the video Sanctify the Night: The Story of Evensong.

This new release includes the 13 songs from the original album, as well as newly released tracks in a deluxe expanded edition that includes fresh, live audio from the Hidden Trace Farms filming sessions. Watch the Evensong Deluxe videos here.  The new edition includes 10 live versions of songs from the album and 2 new songs – “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death” (my top song of 2020), and a new arrangement of “Be Still My Soul/He Will Hold Me Fast” – in my opinion the highlight among the new recordings here – which features a choir and some beautiful muted horns.
All of the songs on this new deluxe edition contain wonderful lyrics and are beautifully performed.

  • Into the Mystery. Watch the video for the title song of NEEDTOBREATHE’s forthcoming album Into the Mystery.
  • I Need You (To Be Wrong). Enjoy the new song from Switchfoot “I Need You (To Be Wrong)”.
  • Magnetic. Check out “Magnetic”, the new release from the Newsboys.

Be Still My Soul/He Will Hold Me Fast – Keith and Kristyn Getty

This beautiful arrangement of “Be Still My Soul”, written by Katharina​​​​​​ Von Schlegel, Jane Borthwick and Jean Sibelius, and “He Will Hold Me Fast” written by Ada Habershon and Matt Merker, is from Evensong Deluxe: An Evening at Hidden Trace Farm by Keith and Kristyn Getty.  During my brother’s recent battle with COVID-19, this song gave me peace and comfort. Listen to the song here.

“Be Still My Soul”

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
leave to thy God to order and provide;
in ev’ry change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
thro’ thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

“He Will Hold Me Fast”

When I fear my faith will fail
Christ will hold me fast
When the tempter would prevail
He will hold me fast
I could never keep my hold
Through life’s fearful path
For my love is often cold
He must hold me fast

He will hold me fast
He will hold me fast
For my Savior loves me so
He will hold me fast

Those He saves are His delight
Christ will hold me fast
Precious in His holy sight
He will hold me fast
He’ll not let my soul be lost
His promises shall last
Bought by Him at such a cost
He will hold me fast


For my life He bled and died
Christ will hold me fast
Justice has been satisfied
He will hold me fast
Raised with Him to endless life
He will hold me fast
Till our faith is turned to sight
When he comes at last


Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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