Album Review :
Relient K - Forget and Not Slow Down

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Band: Relient K
Title: Forget and Not Slow Down
Label: Mono vs. Stereo/EMI
Release Date: October 6, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Mills

Tracklisting:

  1. Forget and Not Slow Down (feat. Tim Skipper of House of Heroes)
  2. I Don’t Need A Soul
  3. Candlelight
  4. Flare (outro)
  5. Part of It
  6. (Outro)
  7. Therapy (feat. Brian McSweeny formerly of Seven Day Jesus)
  8. Over It
  9. Sahara (feat. Tim Skipper of House of Heroes, Aaron Gillespie of Underoath & The Almost, and Matt MacDonald of The Classic Crime)
  10. Oasis (Intro)
  11. Savannah
  12. Baby (Outro)
  13. If You Believe Me (feat. Matt MacDonald and John Warne)
  14. This is the End
  15. (If You Want It)

Introduction: The first album I ever purchased was a Relient K CD. The purchase made me mad because, buying it off eBay, it skipped every time I played it. My friend tried to convince me that Track 13 on “Two Lefts…” wasn’t that important.  But he simply didn’t understand; every track on that album was important to me, I loved it that much.  I had owned other albums before that, but I had never purchased an album with my hard-earned money (I received them through gifts and family).  Ever since then, I have liked everything Relient K has put out with varying degrees.  There have been albums that have been worse than others but in general their material has been solid.  I have also seen an amazing amount of growth throughout their discography… Since “All Work and No Play” Relient K has changed quite a bit.

Review: I want to get something out of the way. Forget and Not Slow Down is just as good as mmhmm.  It is not worse. It is not better. I want to be clear about something else, this album doesn’t sound like mmhmmForget and Now Slow Down is the perfect example of Relient K’s ability to mature without losing their core audience, the whole time drawing in new fans. I don’t know how they do it, but they do.

If I had to put Forget and Now Slow Down into a genre, I’d have to say it falls into a folk piano punk genre. As ridiculous as it may sound, it’s the perfect way to describe the music. It’s a difficult concept to explain. Needless to say this album isn’t like any other Relient K album before it.

Forget and Not Slow down serves as a record about relationships, real life, and religion– subjects that Matt Thiessen handles quite well. Without going into a full-blown analysis of each track, each song on this album has its place.   The songs dealing with relationships never become cliché and always have significant messages behind them.  “I Don’t Need a Soul” is a satirical song discussing the issue of putting romantic relationships before ones spiritual life:

But I don’t need a soul
No I don’t need a soul to hold

Without you I’m still whole
You and life remain beautiful

There are numerous songs on the album that will quickly become fan favorites.  Songs like “Part of It”, “If You Believe Me”, “Therapy” and the title track have a distinctive Relient K sound without sounding like any old material. Songs like “Sahara” with Tim Skipper (House of Heroes), Aaron Gillespie (Underoath & The Almost) and Matt MacDonald (The Classic Crime) will give some listeners the chills with a combination of vocal melodies and amazing metaphorical lyrics that have made it one my favorite songs of all time:

A lion on his side was it the lying or his pride
Which brought him down
Once the king of beasts but now they feast on the thoughts beneath his vacant crown

“Candlelight” and “Over It” are some of the more mellow songs on the album yet never become boring with multiple listens. The intros and outros serve as perfect transition pieces. Without the intro to “Savannah” the transition between it and “Sahara” would be quite jarring, yet it is executed perfectly.

By the time the closing tracks are over, you get the feeling that you’ve traveled somewhere allowing the music to carry you.  I believe that may be the feeling Relient K wanted to get across with the album artwork and music itself and I have absolutely no problem with that.

Overall: Forget and Not Slow Down has a folk punk feel giving it a very distinctive sound, which coupled with the lyrical genius of Matt Thiessen, make it one of the best albums of the year and Relient K’s career.

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