I always forget to appreciate Relient K. They linger somewhere between playlists, occasionally receive the attention that is rightfully due, but always end up forgotten. However, while taking on the role of reviewing their newest album, Collapsible Lung, I felt extremely silly for allowing them to slip between my fingers.
To explain, the reason I felt such humility at my under-appreciation stems from how talented this band is. Constantly producing the right material, it’s a shame it’s taken this long to recognize, but this album has secured the final proof necessary to distinguish Relient K from the mold and cured all doubts of their abilities.
The first track, “Don’t Blink,” sets the tone. It starts off with a dramatic entrance, a sort of rising action, and immediately breaks into something pleasant. It also carries a positive message, focusing on the eccentricities of life and how exciting they can be. This is done through personal confessions of holding back and being afraid to pursue. Lines like, “hold on now don’t you blink or it’s gone/ I’ve been terrified of life for way too long/ Oh no now don’t you blink or it’s gone/ in another life who knows what we’d become” show the determination.
I’d also like to mention a couple of songs that impressed me. “Boomerang” employs things to make the sound exotic, including Asian instruments and voice echo, which adds some sass. The content is also familiar, with talks of retreating to old lovers and realizing everything’s a sham. That, however, is a departure from “Lost Boy,” which features a calmer nature and lyrics about finding true love through unexpected situations.
However, my favorite song off the album and the one I cannot praise enough is “PTL.” I can’t explain why this song’s content is so appealing, but it’s so different from what I typically think Relient K is capable of. It’s a little more groovy than I’m used to hearing with what sounds like tweaked melodies. It follows a simple pattern for the verses, but the chorus drops into something unusual and funky. The content is so embracing as well, focusing on how casualness in a situation is damaging and how risky it is to let something precious vanish. It’s a song of regret, which is lovely, since we all know what that’s like.
I’ve also found pleasure in the closer and title track, “Collapsible Lung.” It starts off acoustically, with just stunning vocals. It’s melodramatic and full of pain for things lost, but it picks up and describes impossible situations. Lines like, “I’m getting by with my collapsible lung/ and it’s a good time 100% of the time” or “I’ll do the twist with my replaceable hips/and turn you right round/then dip you down to the ground/and now I wanna grew old and rub your tired limbs,” just sound so fun and intriguing. It reminds me of creating something substantial, say a body, from whatever you can. Putting forth the effort to ensure it flourishes.