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Relient K lacks maturity to achieve greatness

Becca Saunders | Thursday, February 10, 2005

Relient K is one of the better known Christian bands in the current music scene. While its newest album, “MMHMM” has not yet reached the recognition of its last album, “Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right, But Three Do” which debuted at No. 38 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart, it seems that it may be on its way to the same success. While “MMHMM” is a solid punk rock album from Relient K, it is not its best album and perhaps overreaches for artistic merit at points in the album.Relient K released its first album in 1999 and since then has released two other solid albums making “MMHMM” its fourth studio released album. While the fan base of Relient K continues to grow, especially in the Christian market, the development of the band as musicians seems to have grown as well. “MMHMM” is composed of a pure punk rock with some twists throughout the album.Generally the album is mostly upbeat, but it is punctuated with a few memorable slower songs. These slow songs, however, definitely make up a small percentage of the album. This is not a problem since the faster songs on “MMHMM” are, for the most part, great. Relient K incorporates a good deal of different styles into its traditional punk rock form, and it is a mix that works well. Songs that begin sounding like a standard punk rock song will end in a moving piano solo that in a bizarre way really works well within the music of the song. This particular example is drawn from one of the slower songs on the album, “Let It All Out,” which is also one of the best songs on the album both musically and lyrically. Most of the remaining great songs on the album are fast punk-rock songs with a lot of energy behind them. One of the most original ideas lyrically on the album is in, “My Girls Ex-Boyfriend” in which the lead singer Matt Thiessen thanks the ex-boyfriend that walked away from his current girlfriend, thus leaving her available for him. Thiessen hits the point at the end of the song when he sings, “When she and I settle down you can bet / That he is going to have to settle for less / He’s someone I would hate to be / I got the girl, and he’s left with just the memory.” There are some interesting ideas lyrically portrayed in many of the songs on “MMHMM.” “More than Useless,” one of the best melodies on the album and “This Week the Trend” both cover the problem of finding what each person is meant to do with their life. Many of the songs have strong Christian themes, but the Christian level of Relient K is not overbearing on “MMHMM.” It does not take over the album, but the presence is strong through Christian messages on the album. The music is by far the most noticeable aspect. There are many terrific songs like, “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been,” “The One I’m Waiting For” and “I So Hate Consequences” which compose the meat of “MMHMM.” Overall, what “MMHMM” really shows is Relient K being a band that continues to improve musically and lyrically. “MMHMM” is a solid album, but some maturing needs to be done to really make Relient K a band that can produce a truly terrific album.