Forget And Not Slow Down
A review of Relient K's album "Forget And Not Slow Down"
- Impressively Impressive
- Forget And Not Slow Down
- I Don't Need A Soul
- Part Of It
- Over It
- If You Believe Me
- This Is The End (If You Want It)
At first glance, it appears as though Matt Theissen, lead singer and songwriter of the alternative/Christian rock band Relient K, is merely releasing yet another phenomenal album of songs about relationships and such with the band's most recent album "Forget And Not Slow Down." One might not guess, unless one is a dedicated follower of the band and all their news updates, that the album is a subtle break-up album written from the heart of Matt Theissen to his ex-fiancee, Shannon Murphy, a radio show host--or so the rumor goes.
Being a long-time Relient K fan, I have noticed that Theissen's style has certainly matured over the years. Beginning as a punky-rock musician, his music has slowed down a bit, between his first album Relient K and his most recent entitled Forget and Not Slow Down. Although I am always impressed with every new album of his, this one in particular impresses me because amidst the sorrow of the break-up, which is evident throughout the album, Theissen remains optimistic and hopeful, contrary to most break-up albums which usually express more negative and gloomy feelings toward the change.
Forget And Not Slow Down
Already in the album, Matt expresses his desire to move on from the break-up. In this first song, he states "I'd rather forget and not slow down, than gather regret for the things I can't change now." The catchy melody and care-free message almost completely shields the story behind it. In addition to that, Matt makes the statement, "I could spend my life just trying to sift through what I could have done better, but what good do what ifs do?" which gives the listener encouragement to move on past their own setbacks.
This message is delievered in a very upbeat and almost optimistic way, which is something not easily done in this situation.
I Don't Need A Soul
This song has the appearance of one signalling the parting of ways. Matt's metaphorical way of speaking in this song gives the listener the idea that he is speaking about someone who is injured badly in an accident, saying things like, "I listen to the sirens as they sing me back to sleep, and pray that no one's seriously hurt," and continuing to say in the second verse, "Departing from the hospital, ill news shows on your face too well. You're trying not to cough at all, it hurts."
He also says, "I miss you now, I loved you," which tells us there's more to the story than what it seems. This song is a little gloomier than "Forget And Not Slow Down," but nevertheless, it is still presented in an optimistic way, when the chorus of the song states, "I don't need a soul, no, I don't need a soul to hold. Without you I'm still whole. You and life remain beautiful." By saying that, he lets the listener that although he's sad about what happened and the change that has been made, he'll still be able to move on from it.
This is a fun song. Whether this song is related to the break-up or not is unclear. Matt's fun, bouncy, and optimistic metaphors and plays on words create a serenade for a girl of seemingly immense beauty. "To know her is to love her," he says in the first verse and the chorus says, "Can't hold a candle to her...cause all the moths get in the way, and they'll begin to chew her entire attire until it frays." This is but one example of Theissen's wit and word-twisting.
He continues the serenade by saying things like, "She's almost brighter than the sun, seems to me to be unfair when you consider anyone who pales when they compare," and "She outshines anyone whoever might dare to bask in the same candlelight." Perhaps he's still talking about his ex-fiancee, or perhaps he's merely adding some positive and lighthearted lyrics to the album so as not to appear to be obsessing over the break-up. Whatever the reason, this is an entertaining song and was very cleverly written.
(The next track is entitled "Flare" which is a slowed down and much shorter version of the song that simply acts as an echoed reiteration of the song.)
Part Of It
"Part Of It" seemingly takes us back into Matt's mind and gives us a taste of his thoughts during the aftershock of the break-up. He explains that he is still trying to put things back together, metaphorically via "working with adhesives, chains and locks and ropes with knots to tether." He gives that as the reason for the falling apart of the relationship, and then continues to say "It's not the end of the world, just you and me." So while he is still trying to figure out how to save it, he realizes that although the relationship is over, he understands that it wasn't "the end of the world."
He ends with the words, "When a nightmare finally does unfold, perspective is a lovely hand to hold." This means that even though you may be experiencing a setback, things can look better if you change your view of the situation.
(This song also has an echo track entitled "Outro" which, like "Flare," slowly and shortly sums up the song.)
It seems by this song, Matt is beginning to recover. He mentions "driving through the country just to drive" and to just be alone so he can sort out his thoughts. He calls it therapy, and states that God is the only one listening, because "you" wouldn't take his calls. "Let's call it what it is, not what we were, with a death-grip on this life that's in transition." By saying that, he tells the person he's talking to that it's time to grasp the reality of the situation instead of trying to get around it.
The title is self-explanatory. Matt says that he doesn't understand why things are happening the way they are, but he's not going to dwell on them for very long. "I don't know what's over just yet, but I won't go slow, and time can let the mind forget."
It seems like he's trying to convince the person he's talking to that the decision they've made wasn't well thought of, because "those that helped you choose haven't the slightest clue as to the magnitude of what you're about to lose." But, regardless, he assures the listener that he's over what's happened.
In this song, Matt begins by setting the scene with, "Lying on my side, knowing of thirst is how I'll die. Chalk on my tongue." The song retells the story of a lion who has died of some ailment--"was it the lion, or the pride which brought it down?"
He asks the listener to not to let go of him, even if he lets go of them. He gives the warning: "I never told you then that I'd be easy to love," and then makes the statement, "I am not alone, I'll ne alright. Just take these bones and bring them back to life." It seems like Matt is trying to teach us that when we try to go it alone, things may work for a while, but because we are human, our success is only temporary, and that erveryone needs help, specifically from God.
(This song has an intro called "Oasis" which is short and repeats the word "Savannah")
"Savannah" is a another fun song, yet at the same time it bears a sad aura. Listening to it for the first time, it may seem like he is singing to a girl named Savannah--an uncommon mistake, but it still can be made. In reality, this is a nostalgic commemoration to the city of Savannah, Georgia, the place where Matt allegedly used to vacation with his girlfriend/fiancee before they broke up.
He personifies the city, giving her characteristics such as hair that the sea winds blow around her neck. He is abe to hold her hand, go to the gift shop with her, and lay in a hammock with her. Like I said, it's a fun song to sing, but thinking about it deeply can make you sad when you realize where it comes from.
(The track that follows acts as yet another echoed reiteration of the song. This is entitled "Baby.")
If You Believe Me
It seems like this song is the most hopeful song on the album, in my opinion. The words suggest that there is still hope to turn things around; "We could stand the test of time like no one esle, if you believe me." This is a sign that Matt is really sorry for the break up, as it seems like he is trying to convince the listener to rethink the decision that has just been made. He admits that he is still wondering "What could you be thinking...though I know you're there thinking that I wonder that all the time."
This is one of my personal favorites because although it seems as though he's still having trouble getting "over it" it suggests that he's not over it because he believes there's still a chance to make ammends.
This Is The End (If You Want It)
Judging the title, it's easy to guess what this song is about. Like "If You Believe Me," the words suggest that he's already arrived at the conclusion that the relationship's over and yet he doesn't agree with the break up. He urges the listener to "think real slow" and to remember that "yes is yes, and no is no, about the way you wanna go."
Matt proves that he respects and truly loves the person he's speaking to by giving them the choice--"This is the end, if you want it." He also admits to have God on his side, saying that although "I sitll burn from time to time, I've got a healing hand against my side."
This track is split into two roughly four-minute tracks. The second half, "(If You Want It)" is again a slower version of the first, however, like I said, it is the same length, unlike the other echo songs. This has the same chorus as the first part, but with a different verse and ending. Resurrecting the lion theme, the song ends with words of hope, saying, "blisters on my feet, I crawl back home, frozen from the sleet burned sand and stone. Nourished back to life by life alone. With one shake of the mane regain the throne."
This was a great way to end the album. It finishes the setback-recovery theme in a very figuratively creative way.
...But wait! There's another track...sort of...It isn't on the CD but is still considered a part of the album ( I believe you can buy it on Amazon).
Terminals is another favorite of mine. Like "Savannah" and "Candlelight" this song is fun to sing and listen to. This is easily the most positive song on the album. In it, Matt tells us "I never hold on when I change terminals at ATL." He also tells us that he would rather stand tall than use grace as a crutch. "If grace receives all my weight, then it becomes a crutch, and I don't want to walk with a crutch so much that I don't stand taller than before."
Giving a replay of an incident when he actually tripped and fell changing terminals, Matt constantly concludes that he has trouble with change sometimes, but that, nevertheless, does not stop him from moving on. WIth a good message, this song ends the album (seriously this time) giving the listener reason to believe that when it comes to change and hardship, it is best to get up from the ground, dust yourself off, and move on.