Relient K’s new album, Five Score and Seven Years came out today [you can read more here] and is currently in 6th place on Itunes. I’m kicking myself currently because I’ve been wanting to write about the album for a while and give a preview of what you could expect from their latest work, but alas it’s too late for previews. So, now we’ll switch to review mode.
Five Score And How Many Years Has It Been?
One of my Good f/Friends, Matt Hoopes, sent me the album in late January so I could get an early listen and reflect on some of the themes in the album. To be honest it took me a few listens to get into it, the album is a lot different than what I first anticipated. It’s filled with all kinds of new instrumentation, tons of piano, a lot of more contemplative songs and themes that point to a group of guys who are growing into their own, this is evidenced by their mixing musical talent, thought-provoking song-writing, and stylistic changes with a lot of their own life experiences. And even though they didn’t work with Mark Townsend this time around, the production on this album is still incredible. Regardless of the style suites you you will appreciate how amazing this album sounds. And like all good albums, Five Score gets better the more you listen. I can honestly suggest that anyone up for a good rock album should go and get a copy.
Christian Music That’s Not Just For Christians
Relient K has been able to continue their successful career where they started in the Christian music market, and yet spread across to the general market. This is because their music appeals to people looking not just for good/fun music, but music that holds something deeper, ideas that last over time. Five Score and Seven Years shows the talent these guys have and displays their ability to artistically communicate everyday life in a way that appeals (and is understandable) to everyone. This is a strong suite of RK, where some Christian artists alienate one group or the other, they have been able to do what very few churches, let alone Christian artists have ever done — maintain integrity in a message while making it available to those inside and outside the walls of the church.
More Mature Themes Than You Might Expect: Deathbed, Faking Suicides, and More…
There are a number of songs on here that will get you thinking, they may even press the buttons of youth pastors, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell and other’s who aren’t ready for this kind of ‘honest’ song-writing. They could have shied away from difficult themes, but Relient K shows that their ready to get at some of life’s important questions. Because Relient K started in the Christian market, they get watched by a lot of Christian groups, many of which tend to be fairly conservative. There are a few songs on this album that will shake things up because of the questions they deal with. Faking My Own Suicide, Deathbed, Come Right Out and Say It, and Reform and Devastation all deal with songs that look at the fragility of life, integrity in relationships, sudden death and issues of doubt, salvation, sin and much more. I for one appreciate the deeper questions that flow from every corner of this album, and I think these guys from Ohio (and beyond) are more than capable guides.
Relient K Makes for Great (Youth) Group Discussions
Because real-life questions get posed on this album I see it as a great opportunity for pastors and youth pastors alike to take the opportunity to discuss the kinds of pressures, expectations, failures and doubts that the people in our congregations and youth groups face. In the church we’d rather stay away from letting these kinds of things surface because they’re hard to deal with, but in the context of this music there is a great chance to open up the dialogue and listen to the needs of others. And one of the main points you’ll find in the album is that God’s forgiveness surpasses what we can understand, this is evident in the fact that Deathbed ends the album.
You said Jesus please forgive me of my crimes. Sanctify this withered heart of mine. Stay
with me until my life is through. And on that day, please take me home with you???
Overall I think RK has presented us with an album that’s not only musically wonderful but they’ve left us with some very thoughtful questions.