Song Title: Dare You To Move Artist: Switchfoot Album:The Beautiful Letdown Released: 2003 Genre: Rock
The band that began its debut in 1996 as “Chin Up” would later take on the name we all know and love today: Switchfoot. I was only 5 years old when they appeared on the scene, and didn’t discover this band until I was a ripe young age of about 12. By that time, “Dare You To Move,” my absolute favorite Switchfoot song, was already nearly 3 years old and re-recorded on The Beautiful Letdown. Now, it’s almost reached adulthood, at 17 years. Feeling old yet? Yeah, me too.
When I got to thinking about what song I wanted to write about for my next Beat Breaker article, I knew it had to be this song purely because of the love I have for this band. These guys were – and still are – a huge inspiration for me as a musician. I still do what I can to emulate their style in my music, and I love learning to play their songs. Not just because the songs are fun to play, but because Switchfoot writes material with a deeper meaning.
Feel of the Song
This song is almost instantly recognizable by anyone who is a fan of Christian rock music. It starts with that famous acoustic guitar riff, and builds into the electric guitar driven style that is all too familiar from Switchfoot.
I love the diversity in this track. There’s quite a bit going on throughout; different things to listen for as you play it multiple times. The fact that the second and first verses are so different is one of my personal favorite things about this song. The first is introductory, led by an acoustic guitar while the second brings a bit more electric guitar, giving it a solid mix for the song to seamlessly flow. The level of skill displayed by the different members of the band is especially on display during this song; it’s part of the reason I suspect they still play it live at their shows.
Lyrics and Meaning
The song starts with the statement that we are all at the same place– we’re all here and we all have sins in our lives. “Welcome to the planet, welcome to existence.”
This first verse confesses the condition of the human race. We’re fallen people, and to some degree we’re all looking for somebody else to move first; nobody wants to be the first to move when you’re sure to fall again at some point in the future… but somebody has got to do it. Why not you?
A challenge is issued in the following chorus: “I dare you to move.” These words, the title of the song, charge us to pick ourselves back up after we fall. The hardest thing about that is that we are bound to fall again, but he dares us time and again to “pick ourselves up off the floor.”
The second verse reinforces how the human race is fallen as the first did, yet brings a contrasting realization– now that we realize the errors in our actions, we need to turn to a new way of life. “Between who you are and how you could be. Between how it is and how it should be.”
I love the conclusion offered in the bridge, for multiple reasons. Up until now, the song has shown us where we are as humans, issuing a challenge to pick ourselves up off the floor… but it hasn’t given any practical ways to do that. The bridge shows that maybe redemption is right at the place we fall and telling a beautiful story; that “salvation is here,” even though you can’t escape who you are as a sinful being. The fact that Jesus meets us right where we are is huge, because the fact of the matter is that we can’t escape sin on our own– He is the one who picks us up again.
This song is meant for encouragement. Sure, it begins with the harsh reality that we are a fallen race… but that’s where grace comes in and shines as good news. If you feel like your life isn’t worth living, that you’ve fallen so many times that you wonder if there’s a point in picking yourself up again… it’s because God has called us to repentance. He dares us to move from where we are, to where He wants us to be.
We can be reminded time and again that “forgiveness is right where we fell”. Here’s the reality of it all, God has forgiven our sins. We are called to live our lives aggressively for Him, not curled up on the floor in the fetal position. The Bible is full of stories of God using fallen people to do great things; He dared them to move and they moved.
Now it’s your turn.
Vince is a husband, father, and children's pastor in addition to the work he does for Geeks Under Grace.
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