"The Sound" music video: it is powerful, abrasive, and most importantly, needed. From a Switchfoot fan's standpoint, this is definitely a welcome change from all the live montages the past few times around. But as a true concept video, "The Sound" portrays Jon Foreman's vision for the song perfectly, interspersed with black-and-white clips from the civil rights movement, as well as footage of John M. Perkins himself.
I feel like I always knew Mr. Perkins would sound like that; a wise, frail-yet-strong voice. It exudes a quiet confidence, one that is laced with experience yet covered in humility. I was afraid at first that they would cram too much spoken word into the video and take away from the music, but the balance is just right. In fact, it leaves one wanting to hear more about his story. Perhaps that was the intended purpose.
I must also say that I love the clip of Mr. Perkins actually saying the words, "Love is the final fight" during the song. It is an excellent way to tie the video and song all the more to him.
There is also a perfect moment during the quiet interlude before Drew Shirley's explosive guitar solo, where Perkins quotes the timeless scripture, "Though I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, it profits me nothing." It is perfect, correlating the band and the social activist's deep and personal faiths with the weighty themes they are trying to convey.
Switchfoot delivers a spirited performance in the band footage, and we can see some of that slow-motion half-time footage they shot sped into action here. The song itself is chaotic, and the video is edited in a way that lends itself to that chaos, making for a frustrating, but nonetheless appropriate view. The bead beads of sweat pouring down Jon's face and Tim Foreman's bass guitar are intriguing; it is as if they are sweating out the fight right alongside the John Perkinses and Martin Luther King Jr.'s of the world. The water that seems to pervade the scene throughout the band footage might be symbolizing the hoses that were used to beat back the protesters in the vintage shots, or they might represent the contrast to the flames we can see burning down the buildings -- the sound of love can douse the fires of hatred? Perhaps.
Whatever the interpretation, this is an important video. It might not be the kind of feel-good video that sells records, but it conveys exactly what Switchfoot wants to convey, and that may very well be it's strength. Jon Forman holding up the cardboard at the beginning of the video is a nice tough and appears to pay homage to another legend: Bob Dylan.
The thrust of the video might feel a bit vague and confusing for the casual viewer, but upon repeat views, the point of it all becomes clear: Love is the loudest sound.
John Perkins said it right...