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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Switchfoot talks 2020 tensions in new ‘interrobang’ album

Photo by via

The alternative rock band Switchfoot, released their newest album titled “Interrobang” on Friday, Aug. 20. 

2020 was a once-in-a-lifetime year, and not one to be soon forgotten, no matter how badly people would like to. In many ways, the world is still processing what happened, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to linger. It can be hard to grapple with thoughts and feelings that have been born out of this struggle. At times, knowing what to even think or feel can be difficult. Music, however, is a fantastic way to find the words to say, and California alternative rock band Switchfoot found a way to wade through the mess of last year in its new album: ‘interrobang.’

Switchfoot starts its album off with a song titled ‘beloved.’ In it, the band poses a series of questions that each share a common theme, which it reveals clearly in the last verse of the song: “maybe every ‘other’ is a ‘we,’ maybe differences are easier to see than the family that we are underneath. Maybe I need you, like you need me.” From the pandemic to George Floyd to the presidential election, the nation was pushed further down the path of polarization as hostility grew and rifts between people widened. With ‘interrobang,’ Switchfoot dug to the heart of what it saw as the problem: love, or rather, the lack of it.

In its story behind the album, Switchfoot explains how it doesn’t mean the kind of love people imagine with The Beatles’ ‘All You Need is Love.’ It means the kind that is hard, that is “not a result, but a choice.” It’s the kind of love that sustains relationships when they don’t feel as good, when disagreements aren’t allowed to end things between people or when faults are chosen to be forgiven. It’s the difficult kind of love that’s made from intention, not chance — the kind that can only be born out of struggle.

For the rest of the album, Switchfoot seeks to point the way to this kind of love — not by forcing it as an answer, but by voicing it with questions and longing. Its song ‘lost ‘cause’ asks if people are truly beyond hope or if a change of perspectives is needed. Continuing this idea, the band wonders in ‘if I were you’ how thinking might change if people could step into their “enemy’s” shoes. Further on, ‘the bones of us’ looks back at the connection two people once had and the rift that tore it apart, followed by determination to fight for a future together. It won’t be easy, as Switchfoot says in ‘the hard way,’ “maybe there’s no easy fix, in love or war or politics.” More mistakes will be made. It’s worth it to try, though, to keep pushing. To keep pursuing that deeper, higher love.

Switchfoot’s album ‘interrobang’ may not have the answers people are looking for, but it makes headway as a guide to a better kind of understanding, respect and love. “When we choose each other in spite of our disagreement,” that’s when we can get past the differences and the disappointment. Wrong is easier to see than right, but at the end of the day, we’re all in this life together. So let’s be motivated by what binds us together to build a better world for us all.

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