Relient K
Mmhmm


4.0
excellent

Review

by Joe Shadduck USER (17 Reviews)
December 19th, 2005 | 125 replies | 22,686 views


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist


13 of 14 thought this review was well written

Punk Rock. The genre name immediately brings up images of mohawked, nose-pierced young adults slamming out power chords at many miles an hour, with profanity-laced lyrics that don't quite make sense half the time.* (Personally, i think of MXPX's trademark "punk boy" and their song "Punk Rawk Show") The genre has been disregarded repeatedly by the Led Zeppelin-worshipping listeners with "higher tastes" as sounding all the same, being immature, being repetetive, etc.* In most cases, I would have to agree with them.* Regardless,*the term "Christian punk" seems more like an oxymoron than anything else.* (Which leads to the question-Is punk defined by the actual, fuzzily-defined musical differences or by the appearance of its members and the lyrics they write?)* Relient K, in my and many others' opinions, is just that.* Christian pop-punk.* Using that term around many people earns me raised eyebrows and questions of "how?" and "why?".* Whatever the answers, Relient K has proven to be a talented group of musicians with punk roots and, more recently, a poppy sound.* At the heart of the chugging guitars are morally rooted lyrics that Matthew Thiessen seems to write to young adults and teenagers and taken from personal experiences.* All in all, you can't argue that*Relient K is*unique, both lyrically and musically, from similar bands.

Relient K, rising from humble beginnings in Canton, Ohio, released their debut and sophomore albums in quick succession before trying a distinctly different sound with Two Lefts Don't Make a Right, But Three Do. Aside from being slighty more mainstream in sound, the band showed a marked movement in creativity and flexibility from their primarily power-chord based Anatomy of the Tongue In Cheek.* However, something always seemed to me to be missing from that highly enjoyable album, and Relient K hadn't quite nailed down exactly how they wanted to sound.* It seemed to be peeking through on a few tracks, but the culmination arrived with the release of mmhmm, the band's best-selling album so far and by far their most technically complicated.* The album features sweeping, highly emotional guitar patterns, and comparing something like "Be My Escape" to "Sadie Hawkins Dance" seems laughable.* Relient K has grown up.* And that is a very good thing.

The foursome from Ohio:Matthew Thiessen-Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Keys, Percussion.Matthew Hoopes-Vocals, GuitarDavid Douglas-Vocals, DrumsBrian Pittman-BassThere's also a few more credits in the booklet to additional musicians who contributed with cello, violins, and vocals, a testamant to why Relient K isn't just another punk band.*

The One I'm Waiting For
The album opens magnificently with The One I'm Waiting For, which features RK's characteristically young-adult-themed lyrics.* "The way that girl can break a heart, it's like a work of art, and this is the worst part- She knows it."* You're speaking for all of us, Matt... Opens with a great guitar riff that culminates into a soaring, vocally led chorus.* A great way to begin a great album.* (4.5/5)

Be My Escape
Chances are, if you've heard any Relient K, you've heard this song.* As a matter of fact, it made one of the NOW collections recently.* A guitar playing a high minor 7th kicks it off, and then everything stops except for an arpeggiated piano backing up Matthew's beautifully written lyrics about redemption from the dregs that are life.* However, the words are mainstream enough that it takes quite a few listens to figure out exactly what he's talking about.* The middle of the song drags a bit, IMO, as it's nothing more than a few power chords all by their lonesome with matt's voice (a bad habit RK is still trying to break), but it closes eloquently with a piano part where Thiessen pops off one of the best lines ever- "And all I was trying to do was save my own skin... but so were You...."* (4.0/5)

High of 75
* Happy.* That's the word you can assign to this song.* Acoustic power chords erupt into a furious, punk-y, verse with some keyboards and synths thrown in for good measure in places.* The chorus gets sung to nothing except the bass, but explodes later on to the distorted, furiously rocking guitar that reminds you, after the fairly mellow previous track, that this is still considered a form of punk.** The lyrics make some weather analogies which remind me strongly of Switchfoot's "Stars" but it's more well done here, I think.* This is a reccomended download since it gives you a look at the band's new, emo-feel while retaining its pop-punk roots.* (4.5/5)

I So Hate Consequences
You look at the name of I So Hate Consequences and think, "Oh, good, Relient K hasn't gone completely serious."* However, the name is where the humor ends.* A song about regret after a mistake, the guitars mercilessly pound the point home, and there's even a little screaming in the background, something RK hasn't really done before.* Pretty hardcore, and one of my favorite tracks by far.* The high point comes when the guitars break off into a piano-ballad interlude, and you think this is going to end just like "be my escape".* That is where you would be wrong, once again.* The guitars come screaming back for an adrenaline-pumping finish that will leave you saying "wow".* (5/5)

The Only Thing Worse than Beating a Dead Horse is Betting On One
Ridiculously fast.* Thiessen and Hoopes join forces to sing a mostly incomprehensible verse before breaking off into a chaotic B-section.* At 1:14, it seems almost like a filler track, but it's still fun.* Try and hear what they're saying in the intro, it's rather fun to sing along. :P (3.0/5)

My Girl's Ex-Boyfriend
A song about the sucker who gave up his dream girl and lived to regret it, the lyrics are sung from the guy who got her afterwards.* It's rather sad, especially since alot of us are afraid of being the guy this song is talking about.* "He's the guy that you should feel sorry for, he had the world but he thought that he wanted more" go Hoopes and Thiessen in a nice harmony.* Unfortunately, there's nothing really remarkable about this song other than the lyrics and a nice guitar intro. (2.5/5)

More Than Useless
After a short, 2-track lull in the intensity the first four tracks created, mmhmm comes back with a vengeance.* A tight, insanely simple intro riff kicks off a pounding set of power chords that sounds so good because the words are so uplifting and encouraging to anyone happening to listen.* The palm-muted verses may seem a little anticlimatic, but stick around for the last chorus.* RK demonstrates their new way of leaving you breathless for a simply written, nicely executed song with a highly emotional taste.* Nothing more to say about this song-just hear it!* (5/5)

Which to Bury, Us or the Hatchet
After the encouraging previous track, Thiessen's lyrics switch to*much more heavy-hearted (and heavy-sounding) business.* Dealing with a relationship gone down the tubes, the chorus has Matt screeching "No I don't hate you!* Don't wannna fight you!" Which sounds kind of strange, considering up to this point in RK's career the vocals have all been resolutely melodic.* But they've apparently taken a dive into the mainstream, and this song seems to be the result of their efforts.* Features a banjo in the post-chorus (which is interesting)*plus a piano outro, a la Be My Escape.* However, unlike the aforementioned song, this one segues right into.... (score: 3.5/5)

Let it all Out.*
A pure piano ballad.* Matthew really seems to like these, judging by this song (4:21 of piano, mandolin, and bass) and their piano songs on the Apathetic EP.* I'm not sure I like this.* First of all, this song sounds weirdly out of place with the previous, hardcore track, although it compliments the melancholy atmosphere nicely.* All in all, it's forgettable.* If there's one very good thing about this song, it makes the next track sound all the more spectacular.* (2.0/5)

Who I am Hates Who I've Been
After the soft, mostly boring Let it All Out, the explosion at the beginning of this song is... well... explosive.* Two guitars solo on top of a power-chord rocking guitar and wind down to a piano for the first verse.* Matt T. sings of past mistakes and leaving them behind to start anew, and the sweeping chorus reflects the re-awakened hope of the lyrics.* After the first verse, the piano is left behind completely (which is a relief) and leaves you to*headbang at the creative guitar riffs.* This song's been released as a single, so I would try to pick it up.* Also, RK's best video is for this song.* Look for it.* (4.5/5)

Maintain Consciousness*
Like most of us, RK is frustrated with society.* And they're not afraid to show it in this song.* A catchy riff opens the first verse, into a pretty standard-sounding chorus.* Has a great interlude section, but overall a very ok-ish song, nothing like the spectacular anthems of before.* Still very enjoyable, though, and reminds you that Relient K still has a level of light-heartedness to their music despite the heartfelt lyrics. (3.0/5)

This Week the Trend*
Opening directly from Maintain Consciousness comes This Week the Trend.* Like the previous track, there's nothing particularly spectacular about this song, but it has a very good outro, if a bit repetitive.* Overall, one of the most forgettable tracks here.* (2.5/5)

Life After Death And Taxes (Failure II)*
If you haven't heard Failure to Excommunicate from the 2001 album Anatomy of the Tongue In Cheek, the parenthetical segment of the title may seem confusing and random.* Emotional in a different kind of way, this song more than any of the others on mmhmm is designed to "get you thinking".* Both Matts singing in harmony tell the listener eloquently to "never forget, there's life after death and taxes".* The song's alot darker in feel, and there's some more of that hardcore screeching going on here.* A very good song, all things considered.* Fans of Failure I listen for the end, it'll sound familiar. :)* (4.0/5)

When I Go Down*
Relient K, up to this point, has always ended their CD's with a fairly serious song followed by a "silly song", like the silly shoes rap or the piano ballad written to Skittles and Combos.* They let fans know here that they've taken a definite turn for the serious.* After you get over the disappointment of the absense of hilarity from the end of mmhmm, you'll realize this song.* Beginning with a simple acoustic riff, the song slowly builds with distortion, and then levels out into a full male choir backed with bells and harmonics as Matthew Thiessen makes the gorgeous revelation of the whole album.* Up to this point, the words in many of the songs have been repeating "you touched my heavy heart and made it light".* That line is repeated again in When I Go Down, and it is here that the CD reaches its pinnacle with the closing line of the whole album:* "And life is now worth living, if only because of You, and when they say that I am dead and gone, they won't be further from the truth."* THAT is what Relient K is all about.* And they state it here with beautiful efficiency.* This band has matured phenomenally since the days of Pressing On and Getting Into You.* And it shows through here in what is, IMO, the finest Relient K song ever.* (5/5 If I could give it a 6/5 I would :) )

If you've been curious about this band but haven't wanted to spend 15 bucks to check out their stuff, mmhmm is the place to start.* If you like Relient K, but haven't heard alot of their songs, I suggest you start with their self-titled debut and work your way to this album.* mmhmm truly is the pinnacle of this bands achievement, and, whether punk rock or not, is music that you'll remember.* Being one of my favorite albums ever, along with Dizzy Up the Girl by the Goo Goo Dolls and Moving Pictures by Rush, it really doesn't get old after 4 or 5 listens like their previous efforts.* Highly reccomend this to anyone who hasn't heard it.* At least download some of the 4.5's or 5's.* It will be worth your time.

My first review here at Sputnik.... tell me how I did. :)



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Comments:Add a Comment 
masada
December 20th 2005



2733 Comments


[quote=Review]Punk Rock. The genre name immediately brings up images of mohawked, nose-pierced young adults slamming out power chords at many miles an hour, with profanity-laced lyrics that don't quite make sense half the time.[/quote]

What have you been listening to?This Message Edited On 12.20.05

Ace_of_Bass2112
December 20th 2005



257 Comments


you did aight for a first review. My sister makes me listen to this guys whenver she is driving and i cant stand them.

Rudd13
December 20th 2005



952 Comments


This still needs to undergo a lot of editing. I remember there's a couple songs off here I don't mind listening to.

mx
Moderator
December 20th 2005



733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album has a lot of really standout tracks. I can't listen to it all the way through, but there is some great musicianship here... Say what you like about the genre as a whole, but this band stands out for doing stuff that's actually musically interesting.

innerdark
December 20th 2005



749 Comments


did you save this as a word document?

if you did, copy and paste the document into the review over the code-ridden one

otherwise, i can't read this, sorry

masada
December 20th 2005



2733 Comments


All that you have to do is go back to 'edit review' and click submit, and it should clear away all of the extra coding.

NOTINTHEFACE
December 20th 2005



1653 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oops, sry about that messy code. I had to wait for it to be approved by a moderator and had to leave within half an hour of writing this.

Well still can't get rid of some of those annoying little code-quriks, but maybe the asterisks will make it easier to read.... :P

NOTINTHEFACE
December 20th 2005



1653 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ah, crap it got rid of my bolds and italics too... ah well...

Storm In A Teacup
December 20th 2005



12687 Comments


Those don't matter much anyway. (I use 'em though :D)

Pretty good for a first, but IMO I loathe these guys.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
December 20th 2005



15727 Comments


Ew Reliant K is not I repeat NOT punk rock. At least the dont try to pretend to be punk by wearing black and stuff, but this is pure pop/rock.

Digging: Alvvays - Alvvays

PearlDrummer92
December 24th 2005



49 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the newer stuff is okay. the older is a little better though

encmetalhead
December 26th 2005



744 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

1) two lefts dont make a right
tied 2) MMHMM and Apatheic ep
4) AOTIC

there we go i havent hear the debut

Pyramidman
February 14th 2006



1340 Comments


wait dont they hae 3 guitars?

backinhindsight
February 15th 2006



198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They do now, when Dave left they went and got two more guitarists, which was a stupid move in my opinion

Murlough
February 15th 2006



3 Comments


I like relient K and I think they have definately grown up a bit Sadie hawkins dance,mood rings and Gibberish are still good songs though.

Pyramidman
February 15th 2006



1340 Comments


why would a band have three guitarists when none do anything different (cough) Hawthorne Heights (cough), but either way i like relient k though ive never heard their old stuff

backinhindsight
February 15th 2006



198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

their old stuff is ALOT better, see "Two Lefts Don't Make a Right but Three do" that was my favorite album for several years

itastelikeink
February 16th 2006



27 Comments


if "shitty music" wasa category, relient k would be in it. right along with good charlotte and MCR

mx
Moderator
February 16th 2006



733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

There are nicer ways to say you don't like this album

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2006



15727 Comments


Who I Am Hates Who Ive Been is surprisingly quite good. It's really changed my opinion of Relient K. Meybe their not a bad band...



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