2009 release from the Christian Alt-Rockers. The stats speak for themselves: five full-length albums (three have been certified Gold), five EPs, a Christmas album, extensive touring, a string of radio hits, a Grammy nomin... more »ation, two Dove awards, and TV appearances on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, just to name a few. Forget and Not Slow Down will add to the already impressive stat sheet. Blending though-provoking lyrics with the signature Relient K sound, this 2009 album will appeal to all the fans the band has gained over their 10 year career.« less
2009 release from the Christian Alt-Rockers. The stats speak for themselves: five full-length albums (three have been certified Gold), five EPs, a Christmas album, extensive touring, a string of radio hits, a Grammy nomination, two Dove awards, and TV appearances on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, just to name a few. Forget and Not Slow Down will add to the already impressive stat sheet. Blending though-provoking lyrics with the signature Relient K sound, this 2009 album will appeal to all the fans the band has gained over their 10 year career.
"The easiest way to say this is that Forget and Not Slow Down is essentially a break up album. For those of you who heard their less than perfect previous outing, Five Score and Seven Years Ago, the band took a complete one-eighty after recording a record that was essentially about being in love (i.e. "I always knew I'd find someone. I never dreamt it'd be like this, cause you've surpassed all that I'd hoped for and ever wished"). And it's common knowledge amongst the group's core fans that frontman Matt Thiessen went through a break-up with his ex-fiance before writing began; thus, it had a lot of impact on the new record. It's a sad record, it will make you think, it may even make you cry, but relient K shows that there is still hope and that moving on is possible. Relient K has always been known for their fun pop punk sound mixed with Thiessen's witty lyrics. But instead of a pop punk album, Relient K crafted a solid rock album chock full of their pop-minded hooks. Keep in mind this is also their first full-length without longtime drummer/vocalist, Dave Douglas; though last summer's The Nashville Tennis - EP is their first release without Douglas and first with new drummer Ethan Luck (Check out his old bands The O.C. Supertones and Demon Hunter for those not in tune...Heck, check out John Warne's Ace Troubleshooter while you're at it). Adding to the list of firsts, it is the band's first release on Gotee imprint, Mono vs. Stereo with distribution being handled by the folks at Jive (Relient K and Backstreet Boys are on the same label. Amazing.) The album is the band's most mature effort, sonically and lyrically. Gone is the straight pop punk sound found on albums like Mmhmm and Two Lefts Don't Make a Right... But Three Do, yet you may still find a couple pop culture references (i.e. Part of It, Candlelight). Fans of the band's older material may not like it at first, yet if you loved anything on Nashville - I'm looking at you, The Lining Is Silver - than you will find something to love on here, if you really loved it, check out Over It. It sounds like it could have been a Nashville b-side.
On each of Relient K's now 6 albums, each track had a similar sound (not they all sounded the same, but there was something about it that made them go together) to the others which made them mesh well and the album seem like an album. The band one-ups themselves with this new record: not only do the songs sound well together, the songs go together. The album runs at 15 tracks and about 43 minutes long. However in between a few tracks are some intros and outros. When I first saw the album's tracklisting, I assumed all the intros and outros would be instrumentals and I was already really interested in hearing them. The interludes are an introduction to the proceeding song or a continuation of the previous, often featuring the same lyrics and melody. That alone made the intros and outros one of my favorite parts about the album; it's all killer, no filler. It makes the album flow and truly makes Forget and Not Slow Down a cohesive album. It's best listened to as a whole, rather than single songs.
The album starts off with the title track - a first for the band, not including the Mmhmm hidden track (rewind the cd to before The One I'm Waiting For, or listen to 2:10-2:29 of My Girl's Ex-Boyfriend). Right from the start, you can see that this is an album about moving on or moving past the past where you have failed (you weren't expecting that, were you?). Thiessen sings "I'd rather forget and not slow down, than gather regret for the things I can't change now...." With perfect placement on the album, the lead single sets the mood for the rest of the album. The combination of Candlelight and Flare kicks off the first set of song + interlude. Thiessen's clever wordplay is still alive with him singing in the chorus, "Can't hold a candle to her, cause all the moth's get in the way. And they begin to chew her entire attire until it frays...". The song also delivers one of my favorite vocal performances by Thiessen on any relient K recording. Diving deeper into the album, you will find a track unlike anything the band has done before in Sahara. The track that precedes this - Over It - ends with the sound of a door opening into the beginning of Sahara (For those of you that don't know, I'm a sucker for the sound of a door swinging on any album). The track is the "rockiest" on the album, with some of Thiessen's roughest vocals and spot on guest spots (pun was not intended) from The Classic Crime's Matt MacDonald, House of Heroes' Tim Skipper, and Underoath/The Almost's Aaron Gillespie. Simply put, the track sounds like a House of Heroes song a la The End Is Not the End on steroids with Matt Thiessen in charge of the lead vocal duties. This song is sure to become a fan favorite live for years to come, if only they would add it to the set list. Saving the last two tracks for last (last three are my favorites), This Is the End and (If You Want It) are really two halves of a song split in two. The two songs share several lines of lyrics with This Is the End being the heavier of the two. Often times, and I found this happening to me, listeners will forget that these are two separate tracks. Thiessen's vocals at the end of This Is the End really show the pain, urgency, and emotion Thiessen has experienced, with him losing breath and voice cracking. This is my single favorite moment of the album. The two songs bring together everything that the album is, creating relient K's best closing song(s) to date. Or songs that will rival When I Go Down and Deathbed.
Working with longtime producer Mark Lee Townsend, the band - guitarists Matt Hoopes, Jon Schneck, bassist John Warne, Luck, and Thiessen - produce their best performances of their careers. Thiessen spent a great deal of time secluded in a lake house writing the bulk of lyrics for the album, Therapy being the first song written. Thiessen compares his songwriting to prayer stating "Songwriting and praying are kind of synonymous for me. You're using your heart, you're using your brain, you're collecting your thoughts, inner emotions, and putting them all together, and you're saying, `Where does this all fit into my life?'" In seclusion from the other people and the band, Thiessen was able to find solitude in writing and being alone. The album is the most organic effort by the band next to it's precursor, The Nashville Tennis - EP. Thiessen was sick through much of the recording process which account for a few rough vocal performances (i.e. Sahara) as well as much of the vocals being recorded live. With the best vocal performances by Matt and Co., a few instances of guitar-work reminiscent of the latest Thrice album (Do yourself a favor and check out 2009's other best album, Beggars), and some of Thiessen's best lyrical output (you'll find plenty of great one-liners and more), the band have released their best album to date. And a very relatable one at that."
Great new single from a band that's been at it for years
Harpoon | New York, NY USA | 09/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This song is stuck in my head. I never write reviews, but I figure a song that's this catchy deserves one.
Also, you can stream the full "Forget and Not Slow Down" album from Absolute Punk right now. Warning: you may need a helmet because it's about to BLOW YOUR MIND."
Great break up songs
Randall C. Oltman | Phoenix, AZ USA | 10/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Relient K has always been musically and lyrically witty and intelligent, and this new album is no exception. The album consists entirely of breakup songs, which I personally appreciate very much, as I recently went through a breakup. The music is fun and diverse while maintaining continuity and sticking to Relient K's signature style, and the lyrics are very insightful and thoughtful."
Well worth the wait.
Rachael O. | St. Louis, MO | 10/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Relient K has yet to disappoint me. I've purchased all of their albums over the years, and I'm in love with every single song. Forget And Not Slow Down is no different. Trust me, it's worth it. It always has been."
Daniel Bowen | Bay Area, CA | 10/05/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Such a good record. Love the guest vocals on Sahara among others. Definitely their best record. Dark yet hopeful. Buy it!"