Relient K’s sophomore album does well
March 8, 2007
As the winter season begins to wind down, and we are all in spring break mood, I wanted to review a new compact disc that really conveys and invokes the feeling of the new season. Immediately, I fell in love with Relient K’s newest effort Five Score and Seven Years Ago. It has everything a good pop punk album needs: kinda slow songs that make you think of that special boy or girl, as well as hard beats for those times when you feel completely misunderstood.
What most people don’t know about Relient K is that originally (and still technically) they are a Christian rock band. When their first album was released in 1998, they could have easily been compared to other very popular Christian based semi-punk bands like Good Charlotte and MxPx.
Relient K has been able to keep growing with their fans and adapt to find a more diverse fan base. They have not lost the core principles like GC and Fall Out Boy, nor have they relied on silly (and frankly childish) videos and lyrics like Bowling For Soup. That gives them integrity, which may not be an obvious key ingredient for fame and financial success, but it has really kept them going so strong, even though maybe under the radar of most pop punk and indie music lovers.
But knowing of their strong religious background, I was surprised to hear the song called “Faking My Own Suicide,” which I think is a huge Christian no-no (I’m a music critic not a theological authority). And although it’s just about “faking it,” I would not expect to hear anything like that from them. But that song, even more so than the others, is just too damn catchy and really well written for me to even really care about the possible deep religious meaning.
The other songs on this album really show how masterful the band is with lyrics. These songs have a way of putting into words all those feelings and situations that you can never find the right words for. But as soon as you think maybe the CD is getting a little too deep and real, “Crayons Can Melt on Us” pops up. With only a very serious piano playing, lead singer Matt Thiessen sings slowly, “I just wasted ten seconds of your life.”
It isn’t until the track suddenly ends that you realize you have just had a very smart but cute joke played on you.
One of the biggest problems with today’s bands that “break overnight” is just that they break overnight. For years they play in their garages on hand-me-down or cheap equipment. Then, all of a sudden they are given $5,000 Gibson guitars and PA systems that haven’t been used since the 80s, and they don’t know how to use them.
They are able to make songs of real quality, but they don’t because expensive instruments are not forgiving when you muffle a chord or skip a beat. Producers can only fix so many of those problems in the studio, and it is obvious on Five Score and Seven Years Ago that Relient K knows what they’re doing technically with their instruments and Thiessen’s vocals to produce a great sound and vibe.
Jenna Lee is a student at UW-River Falls.