Departures by Jon Foreman. (scroll to the end of the article to play the album)
Jon Foreman remains my hero when it comes to sheer creative output. Being the frontman of one of the biggest Christian rock bands on the planet would be enough for most people, but Foreman’s growing litany of side projects have slowly grown to rival his “day job.”
His latest solo album, Departures, is even probably one of his best. The set kicks off with the cinematic and chilling The Ocean Beyond The Sea which sounds like a mix between the haunting song, Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold, from the movie The Hobbit and Frozen II’s folk song/lullaby All Is Found.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Foreman scoring movies soon, and I can’t wait.
Bouncing from an ethereal lullaby to the upbeat and jaunty, Education, showcases Foreman’s full musical range and trademark scrappy proverbs.
As he sings:
Here’s an education that you can’t pay for
How to get up again and try…
How to get back in the fight…
If you haven’t figured out by now
I guess the pain is gonna show you how
and later, “The scars are teachers that you’re never gonna forget.”
Another highlight that is worth the price of admission is the duet with powerhouse Lauren Daigle on A Place Called Earth.
Heartbreaking and set to pounding piano keys and soaring strings, Foreman and Daigle sing:
Oh, how I long for heaven in a place called earth
Where every son and daughter will know their worth
Where all the streets resound with thunderous joy.
Perhaps his most folksy and Bob Dylan-like, Foreman pulls back the orchestration for Jesus, I Have My Doubts. While the premise is more somber, Foreman’s sincere, smoldering optimism still shines through as he sings:
When everything that’s right feels wrong
And all of my belief feels gone
And the darkness in my heart is so strong
Can you reach me here I the silence?”
Despite a year of anxiety and unrest, Foreman is a reminder that the poets and dreamers are more important than ever.
As he sings on Love is the Rebel Song:
Even if hate is our loudest song
Yeah, I still refuse to sing along…
If today knows no justice
I’m better off staying maladjusted.
Foreman is perhaps at his most world-weary on Departures as he meditates on growing older and the world’s continued resistance against love and kindness. But like all good poets, he puts words to what we’re feeling. He’s in the storm with us even as he swims out to us with a lifeline.