Collapsible Lung review by Relient K

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  • Released: Jul 2, 2013
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 5
  • Overall Impression: 5
  • Reviewer's score: 5.3 Decent
  • Users' score: 5.2 (29 votes)
Relient K: Collapsible Lung

Sound — 6
American alternative rock group Relient K have been playing the music scene since the late '90s. Taking their name from the Plymouth Reliant K automobile, and intentionally misspelling the group's name to avoid copyright infringement, the band first broke into the mainstream with the release of their 2004 studio album, "Mmhmm." As compared to the band's earlier albums, this one in particular showed Relient K embracing some significant Christian rock influences; and it was this seemingly slight change in style that earned the band a worldwide following. The band themselves seemed to notice that this was the reason as well, if you pay attention to the title of their 2007 EP, "Must Have Done Something Right."

Considering such a broad change in sound brought Relient K such praising acclaim, the band is apparently trying to get the same reaction from critics and fans, this time in the pop music genre. Their new album, titled "Collapsible Lung," shows the group abandoning all of their association with alternative rock and instead embracing a musical style most similar to that of Neon Trees. Bright vocal melodies and complimentary guitar riffs coat the album's opening track, "Don't Blink." A song that will probably top the airwaves, and be set onto heavy rotation for the next six months. The musical side of this album is very simplistic sounding, and it's frankly nothing we haven't heard from other mainstream pop acts before.

It's the same direction everyone from Maroon 5 to Bon Jovi are currently taking. Shouting the choruses. One. Word. At a time. A nice intricate guitar lick thrown here, a melodic group hum of the refrain there. The band members have stated in multiple interviews that this change in style was absolutely intentional, and "needed to happen." I understand that sometimes groups need to mix things up, take on new musical horizons, but at the least you need to add some of your own personality and influence on the genre. And this is something that Relient K fail to do with their new album. While the music isn't original, in its own defense it isn't completely horrible either. Any fan of the pop music genre should be able to easily enjoy Relient K's latest outing, however I cannot say if established fans will be able to do the same.

Lyrics — 5
Relient K's lead vocalist Matt Thiessen does a noteworthy job of applying the finishing touches in the band's change in musical style. His vocal range transitions from talk-singing to a moderate high, which allows him to play a significant role in the colorful vocal melodies that are heavily showcased throughout "Collapsible Lung." But other than that, Matt doesn't do anything vocally that honestly stands out, as compared to the group's earlier albums. From a lyrical standpoint, it's exactly what you would come to expect from the pop music genre. "You're the only person who reminds me/ love is beautiful and true/ life is beautiful and new/ you're the only person who reminds me."

Overall Impression — 5
Relient K once again decide to embrace a new musical genre with their latest album, "Collapsible Lung." While they do a commendable job at switching up their style, the band fails to add any of their own personality to the music. And in the end, I feel that's what really sets this album back, against all of the others in the band's catalogue.

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'm absolutely gutted about this album. The worst thing they've ever put out as a band, in my opinion. Every song just sounds like a maroon 5 or bruno mars cover. Terrible.
    whoever wrote this clearly doesn't know relient k very well. "must have done something right" was not about becoming successful, it's about getting a girl who's out of your league. also, when they said it was something that "needed to happen," he was referring to the fact that F&NSD was such an emotional album, so they needed to write something a little more light-hearted. Therefore, a pop album was the result. I do agree though, I feel this album could have been much better. I like it, but I'm not in love with it. Thiessen co-wrote this album with a bunch of random people (his first time doing so for a RK album) and hopefully he decides to stick with writing RK songs by himself or with Hoopes.
    Thank God this album got the review it deserves. Even an album as recent as "Forget and Not Slow Down" had some really solid stuff, but I find this record very difficult to connect to and even harder to applaud from a critical standpoint.
    Relient K is always very excellent, but I'll admit I was disappointed in this album. There's a lot of catchy songs, there's some good lyrics hidden some places, and it's a good album. But I'm used to Relient K being outstandingly great. While I find the whole album collectively has a good message, the lyrics in between are a bit shallow and lacking compared to their very deep, clever lyrics in previous albums. I really appreciated their diverse and unique sound on previous albums as well, so changing to a modern pop sound is also disappointing. But it's good if that's what you like. I just liked it better the way they were before.
    I had such high hopes after hearing Don't Blink the first time. :/ It's such a good song, but yet the only good song on the album and the only one that's close to their older stuff.
    Oh, and despite the fact that i'm not in love with this album, I seriously looooove the guitar tones in this album. Hoopes is a god.