A Best Fifth Release Nominee in the 2007 Awards
Five Score And Seven Years Ago— its title referring to it being the band’s fifth (full-length) release in seven years— shows the continuation of Relient K’s growth in all ways. And while this album still musically contains some obvious Pop/Punk/Rock elements, it’s even more straight-up Rock than ever (which is why we changed their genre description).
The disc opens with the short “Pleading The Fifth (A Cappella)”. It lyrically describes a conspiracy theory about President Lincoln’s death. Musically, it is indeed done in A Cappella style, and sounds very cool. (So cool, in fact, that we wish it was longer! )
“Come Right Out And Say It” encourages you to be honest, and both talk freely yet be willing to listen.
“I Need You” actually contains quite heavy intro and bridge bass/guitarwork, and an absolutely driving chorus.
“The Best Thing” is a great, upbeat, love-song rocker.
“Forgiven” is a good rocker with a rhythmic bridge.
“Must Have Done Something Right” is another love song, this one even more upbeat and happy, and with almost no Punk elements in it.
“Give Until There’s Nothing Left” is somewhat slower (medium-paced). It emphasizes how freeing selflessness is.
“Devastation And Reform” gets back to the Pop/Punk/Rock-influenced, driving Rock. It interestingly slows down and changes tone for the final bridge, then kicks back into the Rock for the last chorus.
“I’m Taking You With Me” is another sweet, upbeat, rock love song.
“Faking My Own Suicide” (as explained in our Matthew Thiessen and The Earthquakes review)— entirely contrary to what you might expect from the title— is actually a pleasant love song. The premise of the song is basically a whimsical, fictitious what-if scenario: If he ever faked his own death, his girlfriend would finally realize just how much she loves him (and that she would have married him, had he ‘lived’); and then he’d “come back to life” and surprise her, etc. While the sentiments that they share are obviously real, Matt relates it in an unusual and quite lighthearted way. The closing verse is really the only one that is truly, completely serious; and it’s quite sweet, ending the song off with the statement that they have “a love that’s so alive”. Musically, there’s an actual Country twang to it (!).
“Crayons Can Melt On Us For All I Care” is a familiar-feeling goof-off track.
“Bite My Tongue” is another great rock track that describes a wish to change from saying anything and everything that comes to mind, without tact, to having better control.
“Up And Up” is a little lighter musically, until the chorus; lyrically, it’s a great commentary on life.
And the last track “Deathbed” (featuring Jon Foreman of Switchfoot) is over 11 minutes long and uses a total of 115 musical elements (!). Much of this song’s lyrics (which are quite different from we’ve heard out of Relient K before) spin a fictitious tale about someone who had a pretty tragic and miserable life and whose bad choices led to an early death, but who did find forgiveness and hope at the end. Because of this, the first 6 minutes of the song are lyrically not pleasant at all; but the final 5 minutes release the tension and come to a beautiful conclusion.
The Limited Edition’s bonus DVD features a great live ‘acoustic’ performance at the Capitol Studios (acoustic in this case meaning a partial drum kit played with steel brushes, an electric bass, 2-3 acoustic guitars, and an alternating keyboard, piano, and xylophone). These versions are very good, better than any acoustic versions they’ve done before. (They’re so good, in fact, that we actually hope Relient K will someday release an acoustic album!)
On this DVD they play “I So Hate Consequences” (with the “Life After Death And Taxes” intro like they’d been doing at shows), “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been”, “Faking My Own Suicide”, a cover of Brian Wilson’s “Sloop John B” (and they do a version of that humorous/serious song ), “Give…”, and “Devastation And Reform”; all with humorous and insightful interview/commentary clips thrown in before, after, and between them (if you select ‘Play All’).
The DVD also contains a very funny making of the “Must Have Done Something Right” video, with the actual music video at the end.
In all, this is an excellent fifth release from Relient K, and we recommend it.