Home > Music, Reviews > Refusing to slow down…

Refusing to slow down…

Relient K
Forget and Not Slow Down
Mono Vs Stereo/Jive
2009

After 2008’s double-EP cleverly titled (sort of) “The Birds and the Bee Sides,” every Relient K fan out there knew it wouldn’t be long until a new full-length album. “Forget and Not Slow Down” arrives following the somewhat Christian rock-pop-punk-whatever group’s most successful two albums. 2004’s “Mmhmm” reached 15 on the charts and went gold while 2007’s “Five Score and Seven Years Ago” reached a surprising number six. As with those two albums, there aren’t any vintage Relient K pop culture songs here. Instead, they release their most complete, mature album to date.

Complete with intros and outros to several songs, the whole thing clocks in around 45 minutes. The first two of the bunch, “Forget and Not Slow Down” and “I Don’t Need a Soul,” are the best two tracks the band has produced since “Be My Escape” and “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been” from five long years ago. I got to hear both these songs during their show with The Classic Crime and Owl City in Seattle earlier this year and they come off as well on the album as they did live (that’s a compliment). “Candlelight” is memorable in that Matt Thiessen manages to get “moths” into his lyrics in the most happy-sounding tune here. It’s followed by a little, peaceful outro before “Part of It” kicks in.

Relient K Seattle

And it becomes obvious that this album is most certainly about Thiessen and his ex-fiancé (they split after he cheated on her). He sings, “When a nightmare finally does unfold/perspective is a lovely hand to hold,” before again going into another outro that calms the mood down and lasts a minute too long. “Therapy” is by far the most Christian this album gets (“cause you won’t hear me out and that makes God the only one left here listening/to me”). It’s a nice track and undoubtedly the lead single for Christian radio stations across the nation. “Over It” is a forgettable sing-a-long (“over it/yeah I’m finding out I’m just over it”).

Then the second half of the album begins to pick up, starting with “Sahara,” a fast-paced, guitar pop-rock, standard (that’s a good thing) Relient K track. Then a dull intro leads into the most interesting song the band has made in a long time, “Savannah.” For some it will be a great Jason Mraz tune and for others it’s going to come off as the worst song on the record. With an outro it all adds up to six minutes of waiting for the best closing to a Relient K album ever. “If You Believe Me” rivals the opening two tracks of the album with some memorable piano added in for good measure.

Closers “This Is the End” and “(If You Want It)” are actually one brilliant song. Thiessen concludes with just his vocals and accompanying piano – “I met the devil and I stared into her eyes/Her hair had scales like silver serpents high as statues, stood there/mesmerized.” And coming full circle, Thiessen, as the title suggests, moves on – “Nourished back to life by life alone/With one shake of the mane regain the throne.” Whether you take the Christian meaning in it (Chronicles of Narnia?) or not, it’s hauntingly beautiful. And it’s a reminder that the toughest parts of life can be turned into great music.

7/10 (the Amazon mp3 version includes the song “Terminals,” produced by Owl City)

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