Relient K
Five Score and Seven Years Ago


2.0
poor

Review

by roofi USER (17 Reviews)
November 1st, 2007 | 50 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Happy all the time? Then you'll probably appreciate Five Score and Seven Years Ago. If you're human, though, you probably won't like this too much.

There’s an ironic moment in the liner notes of Five Score and Seven Years Ago, Relient K’s fifth studio album, in which lead singer Matthew Thiessen – after writing clever stuff like “Thanks to the people I’m about to forget. I forget you most of all.” – gets around to thanking his girlfriend and writes, “Call me when you read this, and I’ll tell you all of the mushy stuff that I was going to put here.” Aw, that’s cute, Matt; but judging from the lyrics of Five Score, it almost seems like there would be nothing left to say:

We should get jerseys, cause we make a good team / But yours would look better than mine, cause you’re out of my league.

All my life, I’ve been searching for you / How did I survive in this world before you / Cause I don’t want to live another day without you now.

Every second that goes by is one more second off my life / And it couldn’t be more clear / I’m literally dying without you here.

Even with recent lineup changes that boosted the Canton, Ohio band to a quintet, it would be a mistake to call Relient K a true group effort. As the sole songwriter of every Relient K track except one, vocalist/guitarist/pianist Thiessen is the clear vehicle behind this pop-punk band and as he goes, so Relient K goes. The band’s early albums showcased Thiessen’s juvenile wit and penchant for making spectacular puns about horses but also placed far more emphasis on the punk in pop-punk. 2003’s Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right…But Three Do still found Thiessen more than willing to namedrop pop culture icons from years past such as Boy Meets World and Tears for Fears; however, the humor was balanced with a “hey guys, I’d like to be serious here for a second…no, really” mentality of a frat boy who decides it might be a good idea to study a little bit before finals.

It was 2004’s Mmhmm, however, that saw Thiessen and Relient K grow up in a hurry. Similar in tone to blink-182’s self-titled album, Mmhmm was nearly joke-free, legitimately somber in places, and featured a great deal more piano than in the past. If Two Lefts… was the frat boy sobering up enough to study for finals, Mmhmm was said frat boy graduating and finding the real world to be no laughing matter.

But two and a half years later, Relient K reappears with Five Score and Seven Years Ago and it seems as if Thiessen is in a good place in his life. Mmhmm broke the band into the mainstream with the success of the singles “Be My Escape” and “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been”, and on top of that, he’s obviously found a girl and doesn’t seem to have any big relationship problems hanging over his head. Unfortunately, in the midst of all these good times, he apparently has no time for writing interesting music.

And that’s the problem with Five Score and Seven Years Ago: it’s well-done and not a wrong note is hit during its course, but it is as bland as Paul Reiser’s humor and, with the exception of the opening and closing songs of the disc, takes absolutely no chances whatsoever, lyrically or musically. Deviating madly from the course Mmhmm seemed to map out, Five Score features none of the out-of-left-field piano segues or heart-felt and off-the-wall lyrics that its predecessor possessed. Instead, the band follows down a homogenized path blazed for them by the likes of The All-American Rejects and Motion City Soundtrack, sacrificing imaginative song structures for the gift-wrapped three-minute single. Howard Benson’s production is slick and, really for the first time, Relient K looks and sounds like a band in the big leagues. But that’s part of the turn-off of Five Score; safe major-label material can’t help but come off as uninspired and unimaginative.

What’s worse is that Thiessen’s lyrics, normally outstanding, are no better than maybe above-average at best and downright bad at worst. “I Need You” carries a shockingly bad chorus to go along with carbon-copied riffs: “I need you, I need you here, I need you now, I need security somehow. I need you like you would not believe.” Though the rest of the album’s lines are better than that, they remain so overwhelmingly positive and upbeat that you would think that Dr. James Dobson held Thiessen at gunpoint while he was writing the record. Only the album opener “Pleading the Fifth (A Cappella),” a Beach-Boys-esque tune about Abraham Lincoln’s death, and closer “Deathbed,” a sprawling 11-minute epic chronicling a dying man’s final thoughts, really show the imagination that Thiessen possesses.

Now Relient K has been called many things over the years, but unimaginative hadn’t been one of them until now; unfortunately, the label is deserved. Five Score and Seven Years Ago is a rather large step backwards from the direction the band seemed headed in a few years ago and, worse yet, legitimately boring. And to a band that has sung about Sadie Hawkins Dances and speaking in gibberish, that might be the worst insult of all.

Recommended tracks:

Deathbed

Come Right Out and Say It

Bite My Tongue



Recent reviews by this author
Emery ...In Shallow Seas We SailAcceptance Phantoms
Copeland You Are My SunshineJon Foreman Fall and Winter
Ivoryline There Came A LionNumber One Gun The North Pole Project
user ratings (342)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
nkelley90 (5)
"Five Score & Seven Years Ago" is Relient K's best album yet. It features many new and different son...

bobbingforapples (3)
...



Comments:Add a Comment 
NOTINTHEFACE
November 1st 2007


1771 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Oh my goodness you are so right. Fantastic review. You're the first one to hit it on the head. They can do so much better than this.

ninjuice
November 1st 2007


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review, although I disagree. For whatever it's worth, the songs on here are more diverse than any previous album.



But yeah, the lyrics are really weak, particularly on "Must Have Done Something Right", the only song I ever skip. They're more clever when Matt's trying to be completely not serious and silly.



Someone should move this under the other reviews for the albumThis Message Edited On 11.01.07

astrel
November 1st 2007


2615 Comments


one of the most horrible summaries ever. Other than that I really enjoyed the review.

Correction
November 1st 2007


188 Comments


Relient K=shitty pop-punk with a "religous" theme so they seem "different"

roofi
November 1st 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Astrel: Yeah, you're completely right about the summary, I was literally running out the door when I was finishing this, so that was the first thing that sprang to my mind for the summary. It will not last long, I promise you that.



OK, it's gone.

This Message Edited On 11.01.07

MediocreAtBest
November 1st 2007


1473 Comments


I didn't read the review but I skimmed it and judging from your past reviews it's probably pretty accurate.

There's a song on here, can't remember which one, that has an opening riff almost identical to Schizophrenia by The Wedding off their Polarity album...I didn't notice it until I put both songs on a mix.

roofi
November 1st 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

At the bookstore that I work at, the mom of the lead singer of The Wedding occasionally stops by. I haven't heard any of their stuff; it's kind of awkward when you tell the mom of the lead singer of a band that you weren't aware of said band's existence beforehand. Kind of off topic, but valuable life lesson nonetheless.

MediocreAtBest
November 1st 2007


1473 Comments


Do you live in Arkansas?

roofi
November 1st 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Chicago.

ninjuice
November 9th 2007


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't see how you rated Two Left's higher than this.

McP3000
November 10th 2007


4049 Comments


Because its better?

...

roofi
November 10th 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Maybe it's just me, but I tend to rate imaginative and original music higher than cliched and stilted music.

/shrugs shoulders

PaydenMcVey
January 12th 2008


4 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

you guys are deaf.

this album is amazing.

especially the lyrics.

"Faking My Own Suicide"?

come on guys.

Serpento
January 12th 2008


2351 Comments


Maybe it's just me, but I tend to rate imaginative and original music higher than cliched and stilted music.
This Message Edited On 01.12.08

ninjuice
January 12th 2008


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Two Lefts is chock full of filler or 'meh' songs but the single and "Up and up" are the only two here.

Not to mention there's more diverse music presented on this album. Mostly everything on Two Lefts was either pop punk or ballads.

you guys are deaf.



this album is amazing.


No way a 5, but still good.This Message Edited On 01.12.08

MediocreAtBest
January 12th 2008


1473 Comments


I Need You is so br00tal for RK.

roofi
January 12th 2008


959 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Hey, thanks for the neg PaydenMcVey, I hope you're no older than twelve.



"I Need You" sucks really, really, really bad.

ninjuice
January 12th 2008


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's better than most of the songs on Two Lefts.

roofi
January 12th 2008


959 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It is possibly better than the useless interlude in between "Getting into You" and "Gibberish."







Besides that, no.

ninjuice
February 26th 2008


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Maybe it's just me, but I tend to rate imaginative and original music higher than cliched and stilted music.


lol. The only thing more "imaginative" about any RK release are the lyrics.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy