I’ll just come out and say it, “Deathbed” is quite possibly the best “Christian” song that has been written in the past 15 years. That is quite a statement to make and I’ll tell you why. First of all, bands who can create an 11 minute “epic” song with constant peaks and valleys all the while captivating the listener with a heavy dose of heart tugging melodrama, you know they are doing it right. I don’t know what it is and maybe that’s just me being a sentimental, sappy fool, but when I give this track a listen, I am left with a tear(s) streaming down my cheek. Why is that? Why does a Relient K song hit so hard? What is it about this 11 minute story set to music that constantly draws upon our emotions? The Beach Boys harmonics mixed with the band’s sly and witty lyricism, is pure gold.
The past 2 days I’ve listened to this song like 3 or 4 times alone and it inspired me to type out this little “Song of the Day” feature. “Deathbed” was the final track on the band’s 2007 full length, “Five Score and Seven Years Ago”. This album was a slight departure from the past material but even when I listen back, all these songs define Relient K and their unique sound. The album was a little different than “Mhhmm” but still captured their pop-punk spirit and by the time you reach “Deathbed” you are left with a set of songs that have captured the heart and mind, knowing full well you’ve just witnessed magic happen.
“Deathbed” tells the story of a man growing up during the early to mid part of the 20th century. For me I identify with the character in the story as someone from my own Grandparent’s age group. The character in question lives a rough life, traversing the many pitfalls and perils of growing up during that time period. Seeking out love but left searching for it and feeling neglected. He is dying of cancer from the cigarettes he spent his whole life consuming and “Deathbed” tells a sort of redemption story. A man left broken, on his knees in his final days crying out to his savior to heal his broken heart and to forgive his past mistakes. Eventually as told in the song, the man does indeed meet his end but in that final moment of grace and healing, he finds redemption in Christ Jesus, lifting his spirits and taking him home. I don’t know why I get so emotional even just now in discussing this track. I feel emotionally wrecked but also hopeful for another day. Another day. God Bless Relient K and “Deathbed” should be on everyone’s playlists now and forever.