Listen to the new album from Sara Groves!
Listen to the new album from Sara Groves!

JFH Staff Blog | June 2019

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Relient K's Top 20 Songs Ranked

There’s many reasons why Relient K will always be a band favorite, but suffice it to say, they write fantastic, and relatable songs. I’ve already ranked their albums in a previous post, and now I thought I would give it a go to whittle down their deep catalogue to what I consider to be their twenty greatest songs. It’s highly subjective, and I’ve love to hear your favorites in the comments below. So without further ado…

 

 

20. “Pressing On” Anatomy Of Tongue In Cheek

Fast and loose punk rock with an ounce of maturity, this is a fun one that features a nice vocal breakdown to slow the pace before racing to its end. It’s a great opener for the follow up Anatomy Of Tongue In Cheek from the fun and charmingly sloppy self-titled debut.

19. “Sahara” Forget And Not Slow Down

A great rocker from the “breakup album” Forget And Not Slow Down. It’s intense and bombastic in all the right ways. The heartfelt plea “Don’t ever turn me loose, even when I turn my back” is a well said, and deeply relatable line from an album full of good ones.

18. “Let It All Out” Mmhmm

Piano ballad, this one is tender and a perfect follow up to the track before it on Mmhmm, “Which To Bury, Us Or The Hatchet.” His rage all expended, Theissen turns his thoughts inward as he hears from God, “You said I know that this will hurt/but if I don’t break your heart/things will just get worse/when the burden seems too much to bear/remember the end will justify/the pain it took/too get us there.” Wow. That’s lyrical masterclass as far as I’m concerned.

17. “Softer To Me” – Relient K

There are certainly other worthy songs from the debut for this list (“Hello Mcfly,” “Charles In Charge,” “My Girlfriend”) but the blood curdling screams of “Softer To Me” following the guitar breakdown has always stuck with me. Great use of dynamics utilized and a fantastic contrast to break up typical punk rock fare.

16. “Savannah”Forget And Not Slow Down

As a whole, I wasn’t in a season of life where Forget And Not Slow Down really resonated with me at first, but it grew on me over the years. “Savanah” is just one of many well done songs from the album. I dig the acoustic guitar accents and the rhythm used in the song, and I detect a certain 90's alternative vibe of which I’m always a fan. It’s a good simmering mid-tempo song to break up what is predominately a rock record.

15. “Forward Motion” – Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right…But Three Do

Straight ahead punk with a great riff and catchy “whoa” part, this has been a long time favorite. “I struggle with forward motion…” Don’t we all. It’s just a fun song to sing along to in concert or in the car.

14. “Local Construction” – Air For Free

Piano pop at its finest, with Theissen’s typical lyrical turn of phrase on clear display, this is both contemplative and clever. I like that it’s observational, relatable, and universally true. This is just one of an entire album of absolute gems on album Air For Free, which I’m hoping is not the last we hear from the fellas.

13. “Forget And Not Slow Down” Forget And Not Slow Down

Acoustic guitar features here again as a set up to what is really a driving alt/rock song. The sentiment is an important one, and they say it in just an off kilter way to keep it fresh. “I’d rather forget and not slow down/than gather regret for the things I can’t change now.” Indeed. This is about a breakup, but it’s easily applicable to any mistake we could make.

12. “Sadie Hawkins Dance”Anatomy Of Tongue In Cheek

Perhaps, THE song they are best known for, I realize some will come after me for it being so low on the list, but it’s just a testament to how many killer songs that are in the band discography. It’s fun, it’s catchy, and it now spans generations. Youth Pastors the world over should make this a staple in my opinion. “Do you like my sweater?”

11. “Marigold” Air For Free

This buoyant, whimsical song is a delight, and then achingly sad at the same time. Some may call it corny, but it strikes the right balance for me. Piano driven, until a mid-song Beach Boys vocal break transitions it to a more driving feel through to the end. The gorgeous harmonies would make it worthy of inclusion on this list alone. This song is only kept out of the top ten for me by the slimmest of margins.

10. “Be My Escape”Mmhmm

This song brought with it a breakthrough into the mainstream music world and it may have the best ending of any of their songs. So. Good. The first twenty seconds would lead you to believe it’s punk Relient K, until it gives way to a piano?! Yes, and it works well the give further layers and depth to their songs moving forward. “All I was trying to do was save my own skin/but so were You/So were You.”

9. “For The Moments I Feel Faint”Anatomy of Tongue In Cheek

Acoustic guitar, strings, and desperately dependent lyrics like “never underestimate my Jesus/You’re telling me there’s no hope/I’m telling you you’re wrong.” Pure worship from a punk band, and a big step up in maturity this one has always meant a lot to me. Vocals are another strong point as well.

8. “Mood Rings”Two Lefts Don’t Make A Right…But Three Do

Essential listening for all dudes, especially the youth group aged ones. I kid, but only partially as I believe Theissen is on to a win win for everyone here. I’ve always admired his ability to cleverly turn a phrase, or add a double meaning to common phrases. And to add pop cultural references to boot? C’mon! “She’s so pretty but she doesn’t always act that way/her moods out swinging on the swing set almost everyday.” Classic. (P.S. all in fun here, tongue firmly planted in cheek if you will ;)

7. “In Love With The 80’s (Pink Tux to the Prom)"Two Lefts Don’t Make A Right…But Three Do

This song makes me smile, I can’t hear it or sing it, and be in a bad mood, impossible. “Do do do do do/pink tux to the prom.” With its chugging 80’s riff, combined with Relient K’s punk stylings and Theissen singing about the breakfast club and tears for fears… what else could you want?!

6. “Deathbed” Five Score And Seven Years Ago

Sprawling story song. Eleven minutes long. Matt Theissen lyrics. Multiple song styles within a song. Jon Foreman. Epic. Enough said.

5. “Collapsible Lung”Collapsible Lung

Easily the best of three good songs (“Don’t Blink” and “Lost Boy”) from the most disappointing Relient K album. “Collapsible Lung” redeems the whole thing from being a wasted effort. I mean, I get the story being told, it was just so un-Theissen like lyrically that the musical direction couldn’t be compensated for. The song is classic Relient K though, “Between the miles of open road/I lost sight of what might matter the most…” A song to wrap an album where he searched for God in every wrong thing, he ultimately and hopefully states, “And I'm feelin' backwards when I'm tryin' the most/And I hope I haven't heard the last words from the Holy Ghost.” It’s a Heartbreaking and hopeful sentiment that we should all be able to relate to.

4. “I Need You”Five Score And Seven Years Ago

Maybe I have this too high on my list, but nevertheless this is an excellent song much deserving of top twenty Relient K status. One of the harder rocking songs they ever did. In it he recognized his need for a Savior and that his prayers have been heard and answered as well. “I have not been abandoned/No, I have not been deserted/And I have not been forgotten.”

3. “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been”Mmhmm

“So sorry for the person I became/So sorry that it took so long for me to change/I'm ready to be sure to become that way again/'Cause who I am hates who I've been.” It’s quintessential Relient K and speaks for itself. Great song.

2. “Getting Into You”Two Left’s Don’t Make a Right…But Three Do

I love this song because it so clearly articulates the beauty of grace, and more specifically the gospel. Surely God can’t want the trade of me, a messed up human, for his perfection? And yet, it is so. For this reason, He is worthy of all glory and honor and praise. Yes, He knowns exactly what He’s getting and He wants it all the same. “I've been a liar and I'll never amount to/The kind of person you deserve to worship you/You say you will not dwell on what I did but rather what I do you say/I love you and that's what you are getting yourself into.” Well said sir, well said.

1. “I So Hate Consequences” - Mmhmm

How can you possible go about choosing a clear favorite song from a longtime favorite band? It wasn’t easy, but he combo of lyrics and music make “I So Hate Consequences” the choice. If “Getting Into You” preceding it on album and on this list is such a great picture of the gospel, then so is this…only it ups the ante. Punk rock. Screams. Piano. A Realization. An unearnable offer from God. “When I got tired of running from you/I stopped right there to catch my breath/There your words they caught my ears/You said, "I miss you son. Come home."/And my sins, they watched me leave/And in my heart I so believed/The love you felt for me was mine/The love I'd wished for all this time/And when the doors were closed/I heard no I told so's/I said the words I knew you knew/Oh God, Oh God I needed you/God all this time I needed you, I needed you.


Hope you enjoyed reading, please leave your comments, and rankings below!

 

-Josh 

 

 

Leave a Comment

comments powered by Disqus

 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Ranking Relient K

Band Relient K will always hold a special place in my heart as I stumbled upon them at the beginning of my college years. I have many memories connected to several of their songs as they helped me through school, and then transition to “adulting.” Lead singer, and main lyricist Matt Thiessen, has always had a way with words, and his sharp wit paired with power pop/punk has always connected with me. Many times he sang of frustrations and topics that I was struggling with, and could say, “me too!” Here is my attempt to rank their catalogue of eight full length non-Christmas or b-side albums beginning with my least liked, though near anything Relient K has produced is gold. Here goes...

 

8. Collapsible Lung

Like most longtime fans, I was disappointed with this one. I think I get the overall story that it was trying to tell of a believer gone astray...searching for love in all the wrong places. It just didn’t feel like true Relient K, and the reason was most songs were written, or co-written with mainstream pop hit makers. As such they lack a certain “Theisseness,” and except for songs “Don’t Blink,” “Lost Boy,” and “Collapsible Lung” I rarely revisit this one. However, all this said, "Collapible Lung" is a terrific tune sure to make any of my favorite Relient K playlists. 

 

7. Relient K

The first Label release for the Ohio natives brings many pop culture references and raucous power punk. I still listen to this one semi-often, though it’s a little rough around the edges. It maintains a certain amount of charm and nostalgia for me. “Softer to Me” is a highlight song, as are “Hello Mcfly,” and “Wake Up Call.”

 

6. Five Score And Seven Years Ago

This one came along in 2007 as I was starting to lose interest in the band and my music taste was expanding. Five Score reignighted my love for the band as they began using more piano and heading down a more pop/punk direction sound wise. Songs “I Need You,” “Up and Up,” and “Deathbed” are my favorites here.

 

5. Forget And Not Slow Down

I was slow to warm to this album as I just wasn’t in a place to receive what is largely a break up album topic wise. It’s one I bought and listened to then ironically forgot about for awhile only to re-listen later and really started to appreciate it. Songs “Forget And Not Slow Down,” “I Don’t Need A Soul,” “Candlelight,” “Sahara,” and “Savannah” are the cream of the crop.

 

4. The Anatomy Of The Tongue In Cheek

This one is just plain fun and the one I probably listen to in the car with wife and kids most often. The kids of course love “Sadie Hawkins Dance” and I still rock songs “Pressing On,” and “Maybe It’s Maybeline.” This is also the bands first foray into some really good ballads like “Those Words Are Not Enough,” “For The Moments I Feel Faint,” and “Less is More.” A more mature (but not too mature) second offering that shows some good growth musically and lyrically.

 

3. Air For Free

Now we reach the very close top three of their discography. In fact these last three albums were so close that at one point I had each of them in the top spot before settling here. Album Air For Free is a triumphant return for them as they had taken nearly 3 years between releases. It felt even longer because Collapsible Lung was so unlike their previous output, and ultimately their weakest overall album in my opinion. This one released in 2016, and it is chock full of bouncy piano based pop rock songs. Overall it’s probably their most balanced, and mature work. “Marigold” is my favorite tune, but I also enjoy “Local Construction,” “Cat,” “Mrs. Hippopatomuses” “Empty House,” “Flower,” and “Prodigal.”

 

2. Mmhmm

This one cemented my love for the band as it hit me right where I was, and with what I needed at the time. It felt like Thiessen had access to my journal and I could totally identify with what was saying. Songs like “The One I’m Waiting For,” “Be My Escape,” “High of 75,” “I So Hate Consequences,” “Let It All Out,” and “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been” still resonate to this day. Shockingly, I realized just a few days ago that this one wasn’t my favorite album by them anymore. It had held that title since its release over 10 years ago but it has lost the title of my overall favorite to...

 

1. Two Lefts Don’t Make A Right...But Three Do

It was a tough call but ultimately there are just too many great songs on Two Lefts...to keep it from the top of the Relient K heap. “Chapstick...” “Mood Rings,” “Falling Out,” “Forward Morion,” “In Love with the 80’s,” “I Am Understood?” and “Getting Into You,” among others, make this album a classic that I listen to often. This is the album I’ve heard most, and the one I return to again and again.

 

Well, what about you? Did I get it right? How would you rank then differently? I’d love to hear from you. Leave your ranking in the comments below! 

Happy Listening!

Josh Balogh

 

Leave a Comment

comments powered by Disqus