Relient K
Forget and Not Slow Down


2.5
average

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
November 12th, 2010 | 30 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: So much potential thwarted by poor execution.

Relient K has never been a band to deviate from their comfort zone. Poppy, sugar-coated, upbeat, and nauseatingly optimistic…sound familiar? That was the proven formula behind most of their early success, with Mmhmm and Five Score and Seven Years Ago marking the band’s highest critical and commercial achievements. Of course, the catchy-as-can-be hooks and Christian demeanor also helped to launch them. Songs like “Must Have Done Something Right” and “Be My Escape” may have been the opposite of groundbreaking from a technical or lyrical perspective, but they sure as hell nailed their target audience. The songs were happy, they were fun, and they were most importantly memorable. With Forget and Not Slow Down, Relient K opts to take a different approach; one that if executed correctly would establish them as a band with serious artistic ambition.

There is no doubt that Forget and Not Slow Down is a step in the right direction for Relient K. They needed to show a subdued side. They toned down their excitable, pop-punk oriented style and fused it with alternative rock. The guitar-heavy introduction to the title track, along with its crashing drums and intermittent verses, is enough to make that evident. The dark, edgy “Sahara” just might be Relient K’s most impressive song to date, as lead vocalist Matt Thiessen sounds more passionate than ever. The presence of guest guitarist Aaron Gillespie (of Underoath) is the driving force behind the song, and it adds a whole new level of intensity previously unheard from this band. The lyrics are also light years ahead of the dribble that plagued some of their prior releases, and in general, it just seems like the band is growing up.

Mission accomplished? Well, not quite.

Just like with any major change, Forget and Not Slow Down is accompanied by growing pains. Here, those pains come in the form of Relient K trying to become too mature and too relevant way too fast. For example, they awkwardly insert five intro’s/outro’s into an album that doesn’t need them. In fact the album would be better off without them altogether. Each one is just an elongated extension of the song, or in some cases, a brief introduction that mimics the ensuing track’s opening verse. This makes for a disjointed listen, which is surely the opposite of what they hoped to accomplish. In the end, the only thing these tracks really add to the album is length. The ordering of the songs is also questionable at best, with some of the album’s weakest songs placed in the beginning while highlights such as “Sahara” and “If You Believe Me” lay on the backburner. That isn’t to say that albums should be front-loaded, but a better balance would have kept listeners from dozing off midway through the cluttered experience that is Forget and Not Slow Down.

In addition to the unnecessary filler and poor ordering, Relient K also occasionally falls back into the same traps that have always kept them grounded. “Candlelight” exudes overly optimistic sentiments, as Matt Thiessen exclaims, “She is a lady I’m the tramp” overtop of bouncy piano notes. Well, give Thiessen credit where it is due, he managed to get three tracks into an album before he reverted to cute animal imagery describing his love. But it sticks out like a sore thumb on an album that aims to dispel the band’s reputation as happy-go-lucky.

Also, Relient K lost a good deal of their classic charm with this release. In the overall scheme of things, the music is still accessible, but not very memorable. “Forget and Not Slow Down”, “Therapy”, and “Sahara” are all extremely catchy and well-constructed, but nearly all of the other tracks are forgettable. The one thing that always made Relient K easy to love was their ability to craft song after song that would stay lodged in your memory for days after you first heard it. That isn’t the case here, in part due to their newfound direction and overall maturation. Luckily, this is something the band may be able to rectify in the future, and one can’t fault them entirely for not reaching a perfect balance on their first attempt to branch out of their comfort zone. But as the album stands, it is an enjoyable listen in the moment that will go in one ear, out the other, and fade away just as quickly as you heard it.

Forget and Not Slow Down is a noble attempt by Relient K to evolve. They succeed in their overall transformation, but the songs themselves are mediocre, unmemorable, and hidden between a mess of filler. As a result, Forget and Not Slow Down feels like it is either rushed or incomplete. Despite the poor execution of some outstanding ideas, Relient K shows enough promise in their momentary highlights to give us hope that they are not done developing these ideas; and hopefully they will clean things up and reward us with something truly special in the future.



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user ratings (359)
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Eko (4.5)
    "You and life remain beautiful, you and life remain beautiful"...

    AdaManiac (4)
    Matt Thiessen's pop punk juggernauts blend the best of their two previous efforts to craft...

    RisingPhoenix (4)
    An emotionally charged album that has Relient K raising the bar higher for themselves than...

    Keira (4.5)
    Relient K do the impossible. They become relevant again....

  • lonelyboy2013 (4.5)
    Haters of Relient K's older stuff will be pleasantly surprised....



Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
November 13th 2010


36192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

couldn't help myself, sorry eko



also, this needed a negative review

Digging: Seahaven - Halo of Hurt

foreverendeared
November 13th 2010


14679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

awesome review although I disagree

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 13th 2010


36192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks man, judging by the average rating a lot of people will disagree though

Slum
November 13th 2010


2580 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sometimes you just have to embrace the cheese. Great review, pos

cvlts
November 13th 2010


9676 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No no no no NO!

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 13th 2010


36192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i like their cheesy stuff

pizzamachine
November 13th 2010


14269 Comments


Beware Xeno's neg powers.

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 13th 2010


36192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it'll be a showdown between me and xeno for that last contributor spot and i heard the tie breaker is approval rating so im just securing my future thats all



its nothing personal im just in it for the salary

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 13th 2010


36192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

they haven't chosen anyone i was joking, but i don't expect to get a spot necessarily i just figured i might was well throw my line in the water and see if i get a bite

Slum
November 13th 2010


2580 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They're doing contributor applications again?

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 13th 2010


36192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sort of...the thread is open but apparently they kind of already have a few users in mind so i dont know how much of a difference the actual applications make

Slum
November 13th 2010


2580 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well you have my vote for what it's worth

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 13th 2010


36192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haha thanks, now quick become staff so your vote actually carries some weight (although it always carries weight in my heart)

Slum
November 13th 2010


2580 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Don't think I'll ever be getting a fancy title but i'll hack chan's account asap for you

Eko
November 13th 2010


2118 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

awwwww not even a 3?

Eko
November 13th 2010


2118 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

review reads like a 3...

Irving
Emeritus
November 13th 2010


7499 Comments


Xeno vs Sowing...tough call, hmmm.

Great review Sowing, as always. Hope you both make contrib sometime soon. Please don't forget me when you do, okie?

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 13th 2010


36192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

screw you all; ties, romulus, irving, gyro, lakes, tinkrbel...you can all go to hell once i reach the top and start hanging with the cool crowd



nahhh i could never do that. i'll always remember where i came from! (if i get anywhere else!)



@eko: i think im too harsh on it to rate it a 3, but it could have gone either way tbh.

Irving
Emeritus
November 13th 2010


7499 Comments


Forget me and I'll tear down that statue of you I've got in my backyard. You know the one - it has you stroking your beard + pen in hand, pondering towards the skies.

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 13th 2010


36192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh my god that has to stay standing - i'll withdraw my name from consideration before i see that beautiful tribute destroyed



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