[BEHIND THE LYRICS] ‘Native Tongue’

by Emily Medlock

Look out, world, because Switchfoot is back for 2019! Their new album Native Tongue was released on January 19, 2019. Luckily, we have had a taste of the album the last few months as they’ve let us hear a few songs from the album, including the leading song “Native Tongue”.

Those born after 2000 may not know who Switchfoot is, but for the rest of us, we have a lot to remember them by. It all started with the movie A Walk to Remember where four of their songs appeared, primarily the movie’s theme song “Only Hope” (the one Mandy Moore sings). In total, they’ve released about a dozen albums and have millions of fans who have been waiting for the band to release another album for three years!

Although the few songs that we have heard are amazing, we’re going to focus on the song that inspired the entire album. Now … to the breakdown of Switchfoot’s new song “Native Tongue”!

Sing to me, baby, in your native tongue
Sing the words of the wise and the young
Show me the place where your words come from
Love’s the language, love’s your native tongue

According to Jon Foreman, “Music is our language. Laughter is our language. Joy is our language. Community is our language. Creativity is our language. My friend, hatred and fear are not your first language. Love is your NATIVE TONGUE.” Have truer words ever been spoken? The use of the word “baby” may seem irrelevant here, but it is definitely significant. Jon addressing his listeners as “baby” is both a way to endear them as well as a way to put us back in our natural state.

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”Matthew 18:3-5

Feel your heartbeat bang the drum
Open up your eyes and fill your lungs
The same word from where the stars are flung
Love’s the language, love’s your native tongue

The whole point here is to revert back to our natural state, just as I’ve said before. Getting in touch with your own heart and soul is the first step in connecting with God, and bettering the relationships in our lives. Breathe it in and let all the fear and resentment out.

My heart is a beating drum
My head (my head) in oblivion
My soul (my soul) such a long way from
My lips, my lungs, my native tongue
My friend, where did we go wrong?

And again, the chorus speaks of us learning who we are, remembering how to love, and tuning into our hearts, souls, minds, and bodies.

Sing it to me, whisper into my ear
Accuser’s voices start to disappear
In the wind, in the tongues of the flame
In my soul, in my one true name, oh

You know how people who are from the country will complain about the noise, pollution, and busy life of the city? Well, that works both ways. We can get so used to the unnatural air, lies being yelled in our ears, and the artificial taste of the food we consume. Sometimes, we just need to take a trip to the country and breathe in the natural air created by God himself in order for us to connect with Him. This may not be literal, but it is so important to be able to spiritually clear the air and cleanse our spirits.

Back before we learned the words to start a fight
Back before they told us that their haters were right

Again, Foreman told Billboard, “We live in a culture that has forgotten how to speak outside the languages of hatred and fear.” With so much war, prejudice, and resentment making itself at home in our hearts, there isn’t room for God’s love. But if we can remember a time where we were happy, accepting, and loving, then maybe we can learn to feel that way again.

He spoke the truth, “Let there be” and there was
Love’s the language, love’s your native tongue

No matter your religion, you’ve likely heard this phrase from Genesis 1:3 before. “Let there be light,” is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible. Foreman is trying to remind us here that God gave us light, God is the light, and God is love. We are the light of the world and the love that should be spoken.

So sing it loud, get loud, get
Louder than the voices in the crowd, yeah
Even when they tried to drown you out, eh
Louder than the darkness and the doubts, eh
Louder than the curses and the shouts, yeah

How many times have you sung along at a concert, though your voice was drowned out by the music? How many times have you given it your all in the shower, singing that song that is stuck in your head? They say music is the universal language, but so is love. The only thing that can overcome darkness is light, God’s love. Darkness will never beget light because darkness is the absence of light.

I want the world to sing in her native tongue
To sing it like when we were young
Back before the pendulum had swung to the shadows
I want the world to sing in her native tongue

Switchfoot leaves us with these words. A simple request from God above to sing in the language that God has taught us. The only language that can connect us all.

If you do nothing else this week, listen to Switchfoot’s new songs, especially the one the world needs most: Native Tongue.

Watch the video yourself now:

If I were you, I’d study up on some of Switchfoot’s older songs amid the release of Native Tongue. The men are blessed by God. While many bands will write clever songs with their minds, Switchfoot digs deeper into the heart. The Foreman brothers write songs with their souls. When you hear a song like “Your Love is a Song” as a Christian, your soul cannot stand still. The power in such a song, such a dance with our creator, is earthshaking. For those three minutes, you aren’t in your body, you’re fully enveloped by your soul as it takes you on a journey to a time and place where our native tongue speaks freely.

Falling in love is great, having a loving family is wonderful, but there is no, and can never be a love like the one Christ has for us. The most amazing part is that we can show others this love…if we only spoke our native tongue.

Emily Medlock is a freelance writer who specializes in video games, movies, viral content, Christianity, music and YouTube video scripts. Visit her online at emilymedlock.com/blog.

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