Different, Mature, and Good
Posted November 04, 2009
Forget And Not Slow Down sis not a Relient K album. Yes, on the side of an album is says ‘Relient K’, but comparing this release to Relient K’s career is difficult. This Relient K uses five new weapons they have never unitized before, but now reveal on their sixth studio project.
1) This is the first time Relient K has never featured a title track. Leading off the album is “Forget And Not Slow Down” and uses an up tempo pop rock sound which is different for the band since until recently the group has been categorized as a catchy, upbeat, punk rock group.
2) This is the first time Relient K has approached an album with a theme. None of the band’s previous five albums came close to covering a particular topic like Forget And Not Slow Down does on relationships. An expansion on that theme, forgetting and moving on emotionally, is especially evident on the title track, the final track, and “Over It” (‘No I don't know what's over just yet/But I won't go slow and time can let the mind forget’). Since the entire album dwells on relationships and, centrally, falling outs, it’s not surprising to guess where the source of songwriter Matthew Thiessen gloom comes from: Thiessen’s break up with his fiancée earlier this year.
3) This is the first time Relient K has released an album which clocked out under 45 minutes. The band’s self titled debut had previously been Relient K’s shortest full length project as it finished just over 46 minutes. The inclusion of one intro and three ourtros is another strange addition to Forget And Not Slow downs mix, so when you factor those sub-1:50 long tracks it takes even more off the album time. However while the shortness of the alum is disappointing quality always beats quantity.
4) This is the first time Relient K has used guest singers. This is only partly true due to Jon Forman’s late addition to the bands epic finale “Deathbed”, but the heavy onslaught of guest vocalists is startling. Tim Skipper of House Of Heroes vocal addition to the title track goes relatively unnoticed but his, and Aaron Gillespie of Underoath / The Almost along with Matt MacDonald of The Classic Crime do much to improve the bridge of the lone rock song, “Sahara.” After Matt MacDonald also shows up again on “If You Believe Me” it begs two questions: first, does Relient K need guest singers and two, do they make the album better? Well yes, and no. The guest vocals on “Sahara”, and particularly Gillespie, provides a nice fresh substitute instead of Thiessen’s voice on the rock track. But the pointless backing vocals on the other two tracks are just that: pointless.
5) This is the first time Relient K has left a huge musical gap between albums. When Releint K’s fifth album, Five Score And Seven Years Ago, was released fans were shocked at how different it sounded. But the musical bridge between Mmhmm and Five Score… (helped out by the Apathetic EP) wasn’t nearly as big as the gap between Five Score… and Forget And Not Slow Down. Comparing Five Score… to Forget And Not Slow Down is difficult because with the exception of the rock track “Sahara” (which might be compared to radio hit “Devastation and Reform”) and “Candle Light” which has the same country/folk pop sound as the Bird and Bee Sides EP. Some terrific upbeat pop/rock tracks like “Therapy” and “I Don’t Need A Soul” have slight old Relient K throwback beats but they don’t sound like Relient K’s fifth studio album.
These five differences add up to one strange Relient K album. Or does it? Forget And Not Slow Down is not only the band’s most smooth project, it’s also their most mature and artistic. It should be easy for Relient K fans to settle into this sound, which will be more of an acquired taste, but one which will fill fan’s appetites and top their favorite’s list for years to come. However it’s unlikely Relient K will let fans become so comfortable.
After all it’s about forgetting. And more importantly, about forgetting to slow down.
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