One of Relient K’s trademarks are their uniquely cliché-laden lyrics, seamlessly blending humor and seriousness. As this album shows, they had this quality from the start. What they did not have from the start was their now-distinctive Pop/Punk/Rock sound, which they switched to for their second CD and which they have modified and improved with every CD following it. In contrast, their first album is indie Punk Rock.
Old fan favorite “Hello McFly” is the first track, and no track on this CD showcases their lyric style better than this one.
Next is the second old fan fave “My Girlfriend”, a song that’s casually and playfully cynical while still blatantly true. Musically, it features a funny intro and a strange guitar ending.
Third original fan favorite “Wake Up Call” is a funny track that pretty much details its title.
“When You’re Around” features harmonies that foreshadow their later second-release sound.
Final old fan favorite “Softer To Me”, with its solid Punk Rock sound and great lyrics and vocals, is actually the best track on here. [: And, in fact, Relient K’s 2006 live shows actually featured this song once more.]
“Charles In Charge” is a cover of the old Charles in Charge TV show’s hilarious, nonsense theme song.
The only really strange track on here is “Staples”… the lyrics on this one are just, well, strange.
“17 Magazine” humorously and rather clearly points out the problems and ironies that arise from trusting magazines (or similar media) to tell you what’s real, in love and in life.
“Nancy Drew” is another hilarious nonsense song about being in love with the famous crime-fighting female fiction character.
And finally the last track “K Car”, an ode to their namesake, caps off the album’s labeled tracks.
Afterwards follow two Hidden Tracks. The first one is a instrumental track, with excellent guitars. It’s layered over some weird TV-on-in-the-background sounds, but the music itself is amazing! (If the whole rest of the CD would’ve been like that… wow.) That was the serious one. The second is a funny one— it’s a recording of some guys playing accordion music!
So do we recommend this CD? Well, we’d recommend it to die-hard Relient K fans who want to hear what the band sounded like at the start of their career. Yes, there are some good songs on here, and of course that amazing first hidden track; and yes, we rate it 4 Stars; but we’d recommend that you at least get their later releases first and then come back to this one afterward.