Relient K - Forget and Not Slow Down (2009), 6/10

Head and shoulders above the rest of their work, Forget and Not Slow Down is a very complete and perfectly paced release from a matured Relient K. There are some amazingly catchy hooks, deeply varied instrumentation considering its sensibilities as a pop rock album, and the use of repeated melodies in interludes and returning melodies in later tracks is expertly executed with extraordinary fluidity. As an album experience, it does an amazing job of encapsulating the emotion involved in young relationships and the struggles of finding out what it means to grow into a whole, independent person in a world of mass dependency and infectious existential obscuration. Still, it would be nothing without genuine vocal delivery and a deeply infatuating foundational pop rock sound. This is all bolstered by pristine production and a surprising newfound attention to detail in presentation. Certainly takes an open mind for anyone leaning towards complex or challenging music, as I do myself, but this is a masterclass in storytelling and intimate sound staging. While its fun, optimistic sensibilities are a strength in majority, at times they fall flat and slow things down, detrimental for an album that leans into its flowing narrative. That said, his is an exception to the rule and does not hold back the album in a seriously meaningful way. This is most obvious during “Candlelight”, not necessarily an overtly weak song but the album may be a tighter experience in its absence. Beyond this, the album transcends its own themes in sound to find its identity as a piece of music that takes itself much more seriously than anything the band had previously explored. Not perfect or sonically groundbreaking by any means, but certainly the most interesting and successful pop rock album of the decade that I can think of, and if nothing else has a wonderfully endearing, intimate and charming story to tell.