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Track Review

Sometimes as we make our way down the proverbial road of life, we can feel uncertain about the direction we're headed, unsure which fork to take. Even if our convictions have been strong in the past, moments of doubt can creep in, tempting us to believe that the hard-but-crucial work of caring for others along the way perhaps isn't worth it.

The guys from Switchfoot seem to understand those disorienting doubts. And now, thanks to the well-received launch of this track, so might many of their fans. According to a band press release, "Love Alone Is Worth the Fight" hit Christian radio with "every Billboard Christian Hot AC/CHR reporting station playing the single in its debut week, marking the only time this has happened since the chart launched in 2006. … The song also claims the highest ever debut position (No. 34) for Switchfoot on the National Christian Audience (NCA) chart and the second highest debut chart position (No. 19) out of the band's 17 Hot AC/CHR singles. It's a tune from the San Diego band's January 2014 album Fading West.

But they go further than just fixating on misgivings. They want to reassure us that the way will become clear again as we keep moving forward. Perhaps more importantly, they remind us that living a life of love is always the right choice. Lyrics are more emotionally evocative than they are narratively specific, painting an impressionistic picture of someone hesitating in a moment of uncertainty, someone who's longing for safety and surety. "I'm trying to find where my place is," Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman confesses at the outset. "I'm looking for my own oasis/So close I can taste this/The fear that love alone erases."

It's a lesson he's learned before. Nevertheless, he must re-appropriate that truth once more: "So I'm back to the basics/I figure it's time I face this/Time to take my own advice." And then we hear the song's simple, repeated exhortation in the chorus: "Love alone is worth the fight/Love alone is worth the fight."

Numbness and fear loiter nearby, of course. "And I never thought it'd come to this," Foreman speaks, almost rap-style. "But it seems like I'm finally feeling numb to this." As for the way ahead, he sees a path that traverses both fear and new possibilities. "So I'm headed down the open road unknown," he sings. Along the way, "we find what we're made of." Then he adds, "Through the open door/Is it fear you're afraid of?/What are you waiting for?"

And more existential concerns crowd the next verse: "We're only here for a season/I'm looking for the rhyme and reason/ … Why you're born, why you're leaving/What you fear and what you believe in/Why you're living and breathing/Why you're fighting it and getting even."

But questions and fears are ultimately pushed back with a return to, "Love alone is worth the fight." By song's end, Switchfoot adds that persevering through uncertainty will eventually lead us home: "Here we are, here we go/Where the road is our own/Hear it calling you home."

In a sentence: Fear is part of the journey but tenacious love overcomes it.

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The second highest debut chart position (No. 19 on the Hot AC/CHR chart) for the band (among its 17 charting singles).

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September 17, 2013

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Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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