Following on from Sunlight, Jon Foreman’s Shadows is the acclaimed singer/songwriter’s second instalment in The Wonderlands series. Designed to give a song to every hour of the day, in Shadows we see him venturing into the realms of shade and the unseen mysteries of life.
Opening with the melancholy, “Fake Your Own Death,” resonance and minimal instrumentation makes Foreman’s vocals echo hauntingly. Balancing the contradiction that comes together when light and darkness meet, it uses strings and snare to explore the notion that to, “Fake your own death, And instead of dying start to live your life,” is a real possibility for each of us.
The acoustic opening of “Ghost Machine” is a sweet and laid back take on a tune about giving in to the siren songs of life. The imagery of the lyrics as Foreman personifies these sirens is brilliantly articulate, and the soothing music and sense of cycle means the complexity of the message is open for your own interpretation.
“Good For Me,” uses a bluesy base line and mixes in a brass section and percussion to formulate a unique melody. The fact that shadows are neither night or day, but are rather an indication of a meeting of both, is so poignant in this track. Daring to question the goodness found in everyday habits and desires, bold and evocative imagery is found in the lyrics, “I got snakes for hands, Got a lamb for slaughter, we’ve been drinking sand, that we thought was the water.” In this, we again see Foreman pushes the box on what it means to be a songwriter, and you are left pondering the meaning of your own life by the song’s end.
The up-tempo nature of “My Coffin,” is a juxtaposition to the harsh subject matter of the song, and indeed the release as a whole. Strong percussion and violin adds a unique flavor to the song that explores the time between death and resurrection. The music carries through, and right towards the end we see it lift and really drive home the imagery of death as a celebration. A contradiction or a beautiful reality, either way this song pays homage to the facets of life and death we rarely pay attention to.
Returning with nautical imagery, “Siren’s Song,” is an acoustic based ballad that relies on strings and the lingering tones of Foreman’s voice to depict the ultimate death hidden beneath a mesmerizing tune. The repetition of “Come to the sea,” means this is a song for every person, and a poignant retelling of what is at stake if we fall to the lusts and whims of this world.
Finishing with “Your Love Is Enough,” this song acted as the lead single and is similar in style to “All of God’s Children” and “Your Love Is Strong.” Moving in its use of electric guitar and within Foreman’s soaring vocals, it is a fitting end to an EP that explores the depths of humanity. While each track prior has analyzed the truth and validity of the world and the journey to redemption, “Your Love Is Enough,” is figuratively and metaphorically creating a harbor for the listener to rest in amidst the chaos of life.
Singing, “Who can find me in this darkness, who alone can help me stand, who could find a way to find me and even love me as I am?” this song is the great message of hope that is seen in the darkness through the shadows of doubt, questioning and mortality.
Similar in style to Sunlight, but with a stronger focus on our internal battle to truly find redemption, Shadows is poignant and beautiful. Fans will bask in its musicianship and revel in the promise there are still two more EP’s to come.