On My Playlist: Top 5 Relient K songs

Relient K
Relient K

One of the hidden gems of the 2000s pop-punk/rock scene was Relient K, whose positive, real and emotive music gained a large following. Under lead singer and guitarist Matt Thiessen’s guidance, the band rose to great heights with imaginative lyrics and songs that captured the events of the time. Most of the songs also have a Christian undertone, written as faith-based tracks. Some songs are open for interpretation, which added to the band’s mainstream popularity.
The band currently consists of Matt Hoopes–lead guitar, backing vocals; Matt Thiessen–lead vocals, piano, rhythm guitar; Dave Douglas–drums, backing vocals; Tom Breyfogle–bass guitar, backing vocals; Josh Sudduth–rhythm guitar, backing vocals; and Jake Germany–keyboard, backing vocals
Honourable mentions: ‘Who I am hates who I’ve been,’ ‘Pressing on,’ ‘Which to bury, us or the hatchet?’ ‘Sadie Hawkins dance.’
5. High of 75
Relient K’s lyrical ability and apt use of a given theme works brilliantly on this track with its weather-themed outlook on life. The strumming acoustic guitar intro combined with the electric guitar pattern works beautifully to get the song on a roll as Thiessen sings: ‘We were talking together, I said: “What’s up with this weather?” Don’t know whether or not. How sad I just got. Was of my own volition, or if I’m just missing the sun? And tomorrow, I know, will be rainy at best. And the forecast, I know, is that I’ll be depressed. But I’ll wait outside, hoping that I’ll catch sight of the sun.’
The lyrics work perfectly with the music as Thiessen shows his lyrical and musical creativity in this song about different emotions and moods with the conclusion that there will always be a positive outcome: ‘And it’s funny how you find you enjoy your life. When you’re happy to be alive.’

4. I So Hate Consequences
This track from the band’s successful album ‘Mmhmm’ is one of their best tracks, mainly because of the fast-paced and frenetic song structure and overall aggressive nature of the song. The song focuses on an inability to come to terms with the consequences of one’s actions and attempts to do everything on one’s own instead of getting help. The lyrics at the start of the song express the dire situation: ‘So here I sit looking at the traffic lights. The red extinguishes the hope that the green ignites. I want to run away, I want to ditch my life, ’cause all of my mistakes keep me awake at night.’ The song also moves into a piano-led bridge section where a turnaround occurs in the theme of the track. ‘When I got tired of running from you, I stopped right there to catch my breath. There your words they caught my ears. You said, “I miss you, son. Come home.” And my sins, they watched me leave. And in my heart, I so believed the love you felt for me was mine, the love I’d wished for all this time.’

3. The Best Thing
‘The best thing’ is one of those fun and positive songs that emphasises living life to the fullest. The track starts off with a great piano interlude and guitar strums before Thiessen’s voice starts off the first verse. The chorus is the true highlight of this track with its simple but sound rendition: ‘And this is the best thing, the best thing that could be happening. And I think you would agree. The best thing is that it’s happening.’ This great love song celebrates the perfect relationship and finding that one person that makes your life better. One of Relient K’s catchiest songs.

2. Devastation and Reform
This is a darker and more introspective song that opens with a quick tom and snare roll from drummer Dave Douglas. The song focuses on how one can sometimes be one’s own worst enemy and biggest danger: ‘Usually, I’ll cause my own first hit. It seems to me to be slightly masochistic. But there’d be no story without all this descension. So I inflict the conflict with the utmost of intention.’ As usual for Relient K, the song still ends on a positive note with a rebuilding phase: ‘Thank you God for giving me the insight so I might make these wrongs right if and when there ever is a next time, cause failure is a blessing in disguise.’ One of the highlights of this layered song is the main guitar riff that sticks in the listener’s head.

1. Be My Escape
This track is a plea for an escape route from life’s problems and intricacies and the need for a saviour.
This is my favourite Relient K track given the structure of the song, the sing-along qualities and the message. The song opens with a riff-laden intro followed by a piano-based softer verse that is melodic from start to finish: ‘Because I gotta get out here. ’Cause I’m afraid that this complacency is something I can’t shake, I gotta get out here. And I’m begging you, I’m begging you, I’m begging you to be my escape,’ sings Thiessen as Hoopes adds imaginative guitar chords to the chorus.

Wouter Pienaar
Sport Journalist

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