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Nothing Is Sound

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Title: Nothing Is Sound  
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Subject: Switchfoot, Oh! Gravity., Drew Shirley, Stars (Switchfoot song), The Early Years: 1997–2000
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Nothing Is Sound

Nothing Is Sound
Studio album by Switchfoot
Released September 13, 2005
Genre Alternative rock, post-grunge, hard rock
Length 50:54
Label Sparrow/Columbia
Producer John Fields, Switchfoot
Switchfoot chronology
The Early Years: 1997–2000
Nothing Is Sound
Oh! Gravity.
Singles from Nothing Is Sound
  1. "Stars"
    Released: 2005
  2. "We Are One Tonight"
    Released: 2006

Nothing Is Sound is the fifth studio album by American alternative rock band Switchfoot. It was released on September 13, 2005, and debuted at number three on the Billboard 200. The first single from this album was "Stars," which was the number one most-added song on Modern Rock Radio, and received much airplay on alternative rock stations upon release. A second single "We Are One Tonight" was released in early 2006, but without much success on the Billboard charts.

The album was marred by major controversy over the inclusion of XCP copy protection distributed on all copies of the disc. This led to bassist Tim Foreman posting a detailed work-around on the band's website (which was promptly removed by Columbia Records). Nothing Is Sound was at the forefront of the Sony BMG CD copy prevention scandal, which eventually led to the recall of all CDs that contained the protection.


  • Production 1
    • Recording history 1.1
    • Music and lyrical themes 1.2
  • Reception 2
  • Copy protection controversy 3
  • Dual Disc release 4
  • Music videos 5
  • Track listing 6
    • Extra songs 6.1
  • Personnel 7
  • Charts and certifications 8
  • Awards 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Recording history

After the large success of Switchfoot's previous record, The Beautiful Letdown, the band found itself constantly touring and were forced to work on most of the new record while on the road. As a result, many of the songs on Nothing Is Sound made their public debuts at various shows on the tours. Every night on tour, the band would write parts to new songs, and test them out during the shows."There's nothing like playing a new song in front of real people with real opinions. The people at those shows, (the extended Switchfoot family), they shaped this song as much as anyone," lead singer Jon Foreman said.[1]

Music and lyrical themes

Nothing Is Sound is characterized as being a much "darker" album compared to Switchfoot's other releases. Jon Foreman even hinted that the album could be viewed as "a dark chapter revealing even more mysteries to be solved".[2] Lyrically the songs explore topics ranging from loneliness, the end of the world, anti-entropy, and the commercialization of sex.[2] The band has always viewed the album as being more hopeful than anything, pointing to songs like "The Shadow Proves the Sunshine" as how a seemingly dark theme can actually be positive. Foreman says, "I may write about how everything is meaningless, but it’s a very hopeful thing for me to be proven wrong.".[3] The song is a fan favourite and is often played live at their shows.

Musically, the record features the most densely layered guitar work by the band to date. This is attributed to the official addition to the band of touring guitarist Drew Shirley, whose work on the song "Golden" provided a "mellow, ethereal roof over top of the song," as Foreman noted.[4] "Noise never sounded more beautiful!"


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [5]
Rolling Stone [6]
IGN [7]
Paste [8]
Jesus Freak Hideout [9]
Cross Rhythms [10]
Entertainment Weekly C− [11]

In October, just over a month after its original release date, Nothing Is Sound was certified gold by the RIAA for selling 500,000 copies.[12] The incredible pacing tapered off significantly, following the revelation of Sony's rootkit on the disks. The November 1, 2006 edition of Billboard magazine reported that Nothing Is Sound had sold 549,000 units. It debuted on the Billboard 200 at number three, being the highest that any Switchfoot album has ever placed.[13] "Stars" is the best charting single of the album, reaching as high as 16 on the modern rock chart, and number 68 on the Billboard Hot 100.[14]

Copy protection controversy

In November 2005, it was revealed that Sony was distributing albums with Extended Copy Protection, a controversial feature that automatically installed rootkit software on any Microsoft Windows machine upon insertion of the disc. In addition to preventing the CDs contents from being copied, it was also revealed that the software reported the users' listening habits back to Sony and also exposed the computer to malicious attacks that exploited insecure features of the rootkit software. Though Sony refused to release a list of the affected CDs, the Electronic Frontier Foundation identified Nothing Is Sound as one of the discs with the invasive software.

Bassist Tim Foreman posted a way around the protection on the bands message boards.[15] The original post was soon deleted, which caused some people to speculate that Sony would sue the band over this issue.[16] However, no legal action has been taken. Jon Foreman would later say that he felt the album was "tainted" by this.[17]

An additional copy protection problem was found on some of the disks that were published by EMI. These disks contained Cactus Data Shield copy protection. Ironically, some copies of that version were also recalled due to incorrect copy protection settings, although they were exchanged for other copy-protected copies with the correct settings.[18]

Dual Disc release

A DualDisc version of Nothing is Sound was released simultaneously with standard editions of the album. Notable is the fact that these DualDisc CDs did not contain the copy protection software.

The DVD-side of the album featured the entire album in 5.1 Surround sound, and also includes an approximately 30-minute long documentary on the making of the album.

Music videos

Switchfoot's first music video from this album is "Stars", which was filmed almost entirely underwater. Switchfoot has since released a live video version of "Stars", and another two videos for the album's second single "We Are One Tonight". The band also filmed a video for the song Happy Is a Yuppie Word in anticipation of it being released as the first single. However, it was never formally released, but was later included on the DVD Switchfootage 2 along with a video for The Blues.

Track listing

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Lonely Nation"   Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman 3:45
2. "Stars"   Jon Foreman 4:20
3. "Happy Is a Yuppie Word"   Jon Foreman 4:51
4. "The Shadow Proves the Sunshine"   Jon Foreman 5:04
5. "Easier Than Love"   Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman 4:29
6. "The Blues"   Jon Foreman 5:17
7. "The Setting Sun"   Jon Foreman 4:24
8. "Politicians"   Jon Foreman 3:28
9. "Golden"   Jon Foreman 3:36
10. "The Fatal Wound"   Jon Foreman 2:44
11. "We Are One Tonight"   Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman 4:42
12. "Daisy"   Jon Foreman 4:18

Extra songs

In addition to the mainstay tracks listed above, the album was released with extra material at different stores.

  • Albums purchased at Target stores contained an extra track called "Goodnight Punk". The song was originally considered for the album The Beautiful Letdown but was cut from the final selection.
  • Albums purchased at Wal-Mart contained a Christmas song called "Another Christmas (Old Borego)" as a bonus track, which Jon Foreman had penned earlier for a charity album released locally in the band's hometown of San Diego.
  • In Japan, the album was released with an alternative version of "Dare You to Move" which is featured during a montage in the band's DVD "Switchfootage", along with the unreleased track "Monday Comes Around."
  • Albums purchased at iTunes included an acoustic version of the song "Stars".


Charts and certifications

Chart (2005) Peak
Australian Albums Chart[20] 25
Japanese Albums Chart[21] 73
New Zealand Albums Chart[20] 31
US Billboard 200 3
US Top Internet albums 1
US Top Christian albums 1
Organization Certification Sales/Shipments
United States - RIAA Gold 549,000+


In 2006, the album was nominated for a Dove Award for Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year at the 37th GMA Dove Awards. The song "Stars" was also nominated for two Dove Awards.[22]


  1. ^  
  2. ^ a b  
  3. ^ "Switchfoot, nothing is sound". 2005-08-26. Retrieved 2007-06-27. 
  4. ^ "Nothing Is Sound Song Stories". November 2005. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  5. ^ Nothing Is Sound at AllMusic
  6. ^ Eliscu, Jenny (2005-10-20). "Nothing Is Sound : Switchfoot : Review".  
  7. ^ JR. "Switchfoot - Nothing Is Sound - Music Review at IGN".  
  8. ^ "Review :: Switchfoot - Nothing Is Sound :: Columbia".  
  9. ^ "Switchfoot, "Nothing Is Sound" Review".  
  10. ^ "Switchfoot - Nothing Is Sound | CROSS RHYTHMS REVIEW".  
  11. ^ Sinclair, Tom (2005-09-16). "Nothing Is Sound Review".  
  12. ^ Courtney Lee (2006-06-19). "Switchfoot Announces European Tour Dates".  
  13. ^ "Artist Chart History – Switchfoot".  
  14. ^ "Artist Chart History – Switchfoot".  
  15. ^  
  16. ^ "Artist Suggesting Ways Around Copy Protection".  
  17. ^ Newman, Melinda (2006-06-26). "Switchfoot switches plans, back in studio". Reuters. Retrieved 2006-08-13. 
  18. ^ "Recall of Switchfoot, "Nothing is Sound," Discs" (Press release).  
  19. ^ Information from the album booklet.
  20. ^ a b Steffen Hung. "Switchfoot - Nothing Is Sound". Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  21. ^ "スウィッチフットのCDアルバムランキング │オリコン芸能人事典-ORICON STYLE" (in Japanese).  
  22. ^ Jones, Kim. "37th Annual GMA Dove Awards - Nominations & Winners". Retrieved 2013-08-06. 

External links

  • lyricsNothing Is Sound
  • song storiesNothing Is Sound
  • press releaseNothing Is SoundSwitchfoot - at the Wayback Machine (archived December 3, 2005)
  • Are You Affected By Sony-BMG's Rootkit? (November 9, 2005) from Electronic Frontier Foundation
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