A Relient K Song for Every Occasion

 

 

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On July 22nd, 2016, Relient K made an impressive comeback with the release of Air for Free. The 16-track album is an exciting addition to the alternative rock band’s extensive discography, which includes nine studio albums, ten EPs, and four compilation albums. With so many options, choosing a Relient K song to listen to at any given moment can be a daunting task. Hopefully, this article will make the decision much easier for you. Find the situation that strikes a chord with you; then turn up the suggested song and let Relient K blow you away.

When you’re feeling confident and carefree, listen to…

“Cat” from Air for Free. With lyrics about shaking tambourines, living “a long, long time,” and embracing your inner “crazy cat,” it’s the perfect song to blast when you’re feeling on top of the world. The chorus, which features jaunty “oh-oh-oh”s and jubilant horns, is nothing short of sonic sunshine.

When you’re feeling down, listen to…
“Let It All Out” from 2004’s MMHMM. In this poignant piano ballad, Matthew Thiessen demonstrates both vulnerability and solemn strength as he chronicles the process of healing after heartbreak. When he laments his “inconsistency” in the first verse, his voice flies toward the stars and back to earth, caught in a tempest of confusion. Later in the song, he declares, “The end will justify the pain it took to get us there” and sounds confident enough to reassure listeners that he’s telling the truth. By the time the song’s twinkling instrumentation fades out, Relient K has successfully dethroned despair and replaced it with hope.

When you need motivation, listen to…
“Pressing On” from 2001’s The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek. In this pop punk gem, Matthew Thiessen sings about breezing past life’s difficulties with positivity that’s completely convincing and completely contagious. The song’s happy-go-lucky lyrics, frenetic guitars, and fast-paced percussion will give you enough energy to bounce resiliently through any struggle, be it a long day at work or a conflict with a friend.

When you’re feeling romantic, listen to…
“Candlelight” from 2009’s Forget and Not Slow Down. A must-hear for fans of Never Shout Never and the Plain White T’s, it’s a truly fun ballad that manages to be sweet without sounding too cliched or sappy. On the album, the song leads into “Flare,” a minute-long coda that features the soft, graceful plunking of xylophones.

When you’re caught in a conflict with someone you love, listen to…
“Which to Bury: Us or the Hatchet?” from 2004’s MMHMM. The clever, angsty lyrics, intense percussion, and emotive shouts will help you channel your frustration; the banjo-driven coda will remind you to slow down and look at the situation from a new perspective. (Yes, this pop punk song contains a banjo, and yes, Relient K totally makes it work.)

When you’re feeling reflective, listen to…
“Look On Up,” a 2016 single. An acoustic ballad that demands to be listened to beneath a starry summer sky, this song will make you question your Instagram obsession with casually introspective lyrics like “Wonder why I put a filter between beauty and my eyes.” Carrying the torch of Transcendentalism without seeming pretentious or contrived, Relient K discusses a dilemma peculiar to young people living in the twenty-first century: what happens when you’re so busy taking photographs that you forget to make memories?

When you’re feeling self-destructive, listen to…
“Devastation and Reform” from 2007’s Five Score and Seven Years Ago. Featuring some of Relient K’s best work on both drums and guitars, this hard-hitting confessional song never loses its intensity. Honest lyrics like “Fear can drive stick” and “Afraid to admit I might self-destruct” should strike a chord with any fans who have ever felt conflicted with themselves. Of course, in true Relient K fashion, there’s a shred of redemption near the end.

When you’re feeling nostalgic, listen to…
“Mrs. Hippopotamuses'” from Air for Free. Sure, the song’s specifically about growing up in Ohio, but it’s loaded with sentiments that anyone longing for simpler times will find relatable. The football chant hook that drives this song is pure perfection; when Matthew Thiessen sings over it, playing with the duration of syllables, he sounds like he’s having the time of his life. Another reason to love this song: how could you not love a song with lyrics about singing along to Weezer and going to “Mrs. Hippopotamuses’ otter waterpark” (whatever that is)?

When you’re feeling silly, listen to…
“Sadie Hawkins Dance” from 2001’s The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek. One of the band’s earliest singles, this pop punk classic is famous for its goofy, entertaining rhymes about high school (“The quarterback asked me if I’d like a beating/I said, ‘That’s one thing I won’t be needing'”), which tell a story that could easily be made into a Disney Channel Original Movie.

Last, but not least, whenever you have ten seconds to spare, listen to…
“Crayons Can Melt On Us For All I Care” from 2007’s Five Score and Seven Years Ago. Genius. That’s all I can say.

What are your favorite Relient K songs and why? Let us know in the comments?

Brittany Menjivar is a seventeen-year-old music enthusiast who listens to everything from Britpop to EDM to up-and-coming Warped Tour bands. She is passionate about many things in life, including (but not limited to) flower crowns, Foster the People, S. E. Hinton novels, scimitar-horned oryxes, The Great Gatsby (both the book and the 2013 film), theatre, the music of Damon Albarn, blue raspberry ICEEs, and thought-provoking films. Brittany loves spreading the word about interesting ideas, which is why she writes for TYF and serves as the editor of her school newspaper and literary magazine. She also loves metaphors and similes, which explains why she enjoys reviewing music so much. In addition to being a member of the TYF staff, Brittany is a poet who has been published in KaPow! Creative Writing Zine, The Noisy Island, Crashtest, and YARN. If you're reading this, she hopes your day is full of good art and good vibes.