Mono Vs Stereo Records
Released July 2nd 2013
Reviewed By Tyler Hess
Relient K fans have been waiting nearly four years for the true follow up to Forget And Not Slow Down (we don’t count cover songs for that kind of thing) and I fully expect the opinions on the album to be all over the map. Nearly a year ago I was able to catch the band on tour and they played three of the songs that made the album and I instantly knew that Collapsible Lung would be a pop album, but how would that play out for a band who many believe are at their best when front man Matthew Thiessen is lyrically kinda bummed out?
Collapsible Lung starts out with one of the first songs the band put out for consumption online in “Don’t Blink,” a bit of a sentimental outlook on life, not wanting to let it pass without enjoying the moment. “Boomerang” is one of those songs I caught live and the synths on the record make it come off totally different than what I remember except for that chorus that makes it perfect for a summertime album.
When the album gets to “Lost Boy” all I have to do is ask Relient K fans one question: Did you like Five Score And Seven Years Ago or did you hate it? If you are okay with them being a bit happier, then Collapsible Lung will probably be good to you. If not, well, you might have a tougher time dealing with the pop sensibilities found here. The synths come back on “If I Could Take You Home” and it makes me believe that the band wishes it were still the 80′s, maybe because they’re still in love. If you don’t get that joke, go listen to more Relient K. If you get that joke and didn’t think it was funny, then thanks for reading this far anyway.
I’m just going to say it: “Can’t Complain” could easily be a top 40 hit and it should be. It probably won’t be because the band doesn’t have the major label support they once employed in their MMHMM days, but it could have been a hit.
The album is short on silly songs that the band was once known for, confirming the death of their former days of their pop-punk youth. That doesn’t mean there aren’t still strange songs like “Gloria,” which just don’t seem to fit the mold of the pop tracks more abundant on the record such as “PTL.”
I don’t think if someone were to listen to Relient K’s self-titled album and then listened to Collapsible Lung that they would believe that they were the same band. Sure, only two of the band members are the same, but one of those is the front man and one would think there would still be some connection. Still, I think if one were to listen to their entire discography and then heard “Disaster” they would hear little things from their entire career that would lead them to see that although they have clearly evolved as a group over the years that there are still elements from prior years they would pick up on here if they listened for them.
If you wanted a bit of leftovers from the sadder, melancholy days of Forget And Not Slow Down, then “If You Were My Baby” and “Sweeter” are probably the songs for you before the title track takes us home by bookending what “Don’t Blink” started in making the most of the life we have with living for what matters.
I’m a little torn when I get through Relient K’s seventh LP. I probably need more time with this to fully comprehend where it fits in my favorite band’s repertoire. It didn’t make me want to cry on the first listen like the last album. It didn’t write my life down like MMHMM. It’s just an insanely fun pop album that will be one of my favorites of the year. Is that enough for such an important band in the scene? Will we hold them to such a high standard that they can’t possibly meet? For now, I’m just going to enjoy the album for what it is and let time tell me the rest. Ask me again when I write my end of the year list. I’m sure you’ll see it there somewhere.
Update: A number of readers have requested that I make note that some of the lyrics on this album may not be suitable or appreciated by all audiences due to the adult nature of the lyrics in certain songs. Although I personally believe that the lyrics have redeemable qualities, I respect that others have a difference of opinion and that certain songs may not be appropriate for children. I’ll let you all decide. In the meantime, I am disabling comments on this post as the nature of the comments have turned sour. I ask that we all take a step back and consider our words wisely while discussing such topics, including myself. Thank you all for reading.
- Don’t Blink
- Lost Boy
- If I Could Take You Home
- Can’t Complain
- When You Were My Baby
- Collapsible Lung