Category Archives: Music

All Time Low Takes Experimental Shift with New Single

by Thomas Redding

All Time Low is a pop punk band that originated in Baltimore, Maryland, formed in 2003. They have been a part of Hopeless Records for most of their career, but will now be releasing their upcoming album on Fueled By Ramen Records, which is also the home of bands such as: Paramore, Panic at The Disco, Young The Giant, and Twenty One Pilots. They announced this surprise record label switch just a day before the new single and music video for the single was released on Feb. 17. Based on fan reviews of the new single, there is excitement in this change of sound for the band, giving them assurance that the label change was the right choice for them.

Their new single, “Dirty Laundry” sounds somewhat experimental for the band. Typically known for pop-punk hits like, “Dear Maria Count Me In,” this song takes a different route for the first half. They are starting to add more electronic features with the release of each preceding album, and are speculated to head towards a total pop sound. This new track is still a song you can jam out to, yet the verses and first two choruses are softer and more eerie than anything the band has released before. The electric guitars don’t kick in until the last chorus, giving it a burst of energy. This ending gives it a small trace of the pop-punk genre that their albums once consisted of.

The band had mentioned that there was some experimenting being done during the recording process, which is understandable for a band that is now close to 15 years old. They are looking for something different to play live, while also trying to market themselves and differentiate themselves in a highly formulaic genre. So far, fan reactions to the track have been mostly positive, and the pre-order merchandise bundles have been selling fast. These sales further the notion of success with the experimentation in the upcoming album.

Some believe that this track may just be one of its kind, and that there will still be pop-punk songs on the album. There is a chance of this, and that would be quite interesting to hear a wide range of sounds coexist cohesively on their album. However, each of All Time Low’s albums have a distinct sound. One can tell the difference between albums almost right away, so one might assume that this album will have similar sounding tracks to that of “Dirty Laundry.” This is most likely to happen because the first single typically is a summary of what the album will sound like.

Overall, fans are quite excited to see a “new” All Time Low. Their previous album, “Future Hearts” debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, selling 75,000 copies in its first week. It’s expected to see around the same, if not more. While All Time Low isn’t necessary “mainstream,” they can sell out stadiums fairly easily. Their fans are typically “die- hard fans” that will pay almost $200 to see them. For a band in the pop-punk genre, they are on the high end of popularity and recognition.

All Time Low is about to embark on a large tour this summer, hitting almost every House of Blues venue across the United States, along with some large concert halls along the way. The closest stop for anyone around here would be in New York City on July 31, at the Central Park Summerstage. Their new album, “The Last Young Renegade” will be available June 6, and pre-orders are available on iTunes and at www.alltimelow.com. I would rate this track an 8/10.

blink-182 Announces Deluxe Edition Album with New Songs

 

by Matt Balogh

After the release of their album “California” last July, blink-182 had been met with all types of attention: among the band’s fan base, the new followers, and the unforgiving group of fans that bash any post-Tom Delonge recordings. Delonge was blink’s former guitarist, co-lead vocalist and founding member of the band. After complications with scheduling for an upcoming album between the band members, the unthinkable had happened for the group.

Delonge had notified the group that he was leaving to focus on his own projects around mid-2014, leaving the band without their guitarist. Soon after, Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio filled in, and later was confirmed a full-time member of the band.

Considering Alkaline Trio’s style in the punk rock genre, fans expected blink to completely return to their roots in energetic fast punk music. As a very talented guitarist and vocalist, Skiba fit in perfectly, but fans had grown upset over the absence of Delonge’s signature slurred vocals.

“California” gave the band a massive popularity spike and even earned them their first Grammy nomination for Best Rock Album. Compared to their past albums, this one lacked in strong songwriting. The songs were catchy, however, very basic and songs didn’t differ much from track to track.

Under the production of Goldfinger’s John Feldmann, the 16-track album seemed to feature a little too much filler. The 30-second joke tracks seemed to only be placed in there just to get old fans off their back about losing their sense of humor. The album did spawn a handful of solid songs that will work very well blended in will their usual live set-list.

To promote the release of the upcoming deluxe edition of “California,” the band had released a new single, “Parking Lot.” The song is more upbeat, in the vein of “Cynical,” appealing to the band’s old fans who crave Travis Barker’s faster drumming. With lyrics putting even more “west-coast glorification” into the album, the band doesn’t cover any new ground. A nice homage was paid to Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” was paid in the chorus lyrics, adding a quirky spin on it.

The deluxe edition adds 12 extra songs to the album, making it worth the money. Pre-orders will be available through the band’s official site, expected to be released May 19.

 

Upcoming Concerts in CT

by Corey O’Neill

Connecticut is scattered with great concert venues. Whether at a local bar or at a much larger scene, there seems to be an intriguing show almost every weekend. Here are some of the notable upcoming shows around the state to look out for.

 

Bastille – Friday, March 31, Mohegan Sun

British indie pop band Bastille, sky-rocketed to the mainstream back in 2013, thanks to their radio smash-hit “Pompeii,” from their first LP “Bad Blood.” After a few years touring and recording, the group is back with a new record entitled “Wild World,” which was released this past September. Catch them at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday, March 31. Tickets are still available from as low as $29, but act fast!

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Big Sean – Friday, April 7, Toyota Oakdale Theatre

Detroit rapper Big Sean is currently touring his newest album “I Decided,” which was released by GOOD Music and Def Jam Recordings last month. Known for putting on a great show, Big Sean will look to put on another exciting performance at the Toyota Oakdale Theatre on Friday, April 7. Tickets are currently available by Live Nation for around $50.

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The Decemberists – Saturday, April 15, College Street Music Hall

College Street Music Hall is a relatively new location in New Haven, and it is rapidly growing in popularity. Since its opening back in May of 2015, the venue has hosted many favorite artists among young adults. Tickets usually go for around $20, regardless of who is performing. Indie band The Decemberists, will be taking the stage on Saturday, April 15. Other notable upcoming shows include Mayday Parade in May, and City and Colour in June. Great shows at a great venue for a cheap price!

 

Eric Church — Thursday and Friday, April 27 and 28, Mohegan Sun

For country fans, Eric Church will be performing back to back nights in later April. Church is currently touring his sixth studio album, “Mr. Misunderstood” for his “Holdin’ My Own Tour 2017.” Church has no opener for this tour and is playing two sets per show. Tickets are a bit pricey for this one, with prices starting from as low as $100.

 

The Fray – Sunday, April 30, Foxwoods

The Fray will be playing The Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino on Sunday, April 30. The group may not be releasing new music anytime soon other than their most recent single “Singing Low,” but they are touring to promote their greatest hits album, “Through the Years: The Best of the Fray.” Tickets start at $60.

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Weezer Hints at upcoming Album with New Single

by Matt Balogh

Storming through the pop and rock charts in 1994 with “The Blue Album,” Weezer has been well known and loved for their “geek-rock” style for 25 years now. Being rather modest of their success, front man Rivers Cuomo felt anxious and uneasy about a lot of the new-found fame that the band had earned.

Many of these mixed feelings led to influence in Cuomo’s songwriting,and the darker sounding “Pinkerton.” Many remembered Pinkerton, but Cuomo wanted to forget about it. By describing it like a cathartic, yet embarrassing confessional, Cuomo disregarded the band’s efforts on that album until more recently.

Since Pinkerton was released in 1996, Weezer took a small break until 2001, subsequently releasing a number of albums greatly differing from Pinkerton’s style. The band took a route of more pop rock, similar to some tracks off of “The Blue Album,” and maintained a pop sound throughout most of their catalog.

Last year, Weezer released their fourth self-titled album, nicknamed “The White Album,” which became the tenth album in their catalog. This album merged their catchy pop-rock tunes with a mix of some “grunge pop” elements of their earliest music. Critics responded well to the album, and it even earned the band a Grammy nomination for best rock album, to which they lost to Cage The Elephant.

The band’s newest single “Feels Like Summer” was released on March 15, with confirmation of the band’s upcoming album Weezer (“The Black Album”), to be released in the summer. This album is meant to be a collection of firsts for the group. In a similar relation, Pinkerton was to “The Blue Album,” “The Black Album” is expected to be a lot darker than all of their previous albums, no pun intended.

Rivers Cuomo said, “If it were a movie, it would be rated R,” as opposed to their others, being compared to PG and PG-13 movies content wise. This is referencing Cuomo previously stating his name songs may feature more swearing, something that the band barely ever includes in their songs.

This news excited fans, expecting the raw and heavy sound and themes that Pinkerton was known for. However, when the band released “Feels Like Summer,” speculation went towards the direction of their pop sound.

The song is guided heavily on a drum machine beat, following a structure and sound that is very similar to a lot of pop music played on mainstream radio. The song has a catchy hook, but is strangely different from previous songs with the stylistic change.

Granted, fans were met with a previous confusion when the band released “Thank God For Girls” from “The White Album,” yet, the album featured a wide variety of tracks that satisfied old fans. While that may be the case for this single as well, it could provide a taste of their further exploration for new sound, which is a hard thing for any band to do.

‘Have Mercy’ Returns With a New Single

by Thomas Redding

Have Mercy is a progressive rock band from Baltimore, Maryland that gained most of their popularity from their intricate and powerful lyrics. Lead vocalist Brian Swindle normally dives into deep and emotional subjects, including love, longing, heartbreak and self-discovery. These subjects build a connection between the band and their listeners.

Most listeners range from adolescents to those in their early twenties, who are experiencing the same situations and share the same emotions as the lyrics express. The band recently released a new single titled “Coexist,” off their upcoming album, titled “Make The Best Of It,” to be released April 21. The single has flashier qualities that differ from the typical sound of the band both lyrically and instrumentally.

The band is normally known for Swindle’s raspy voice, alternating between softer parts and aggressive, thicker yelling, while the instruments normally give off a soft and sweet rock vibe.

However, in the new single, Swindle takes the song from a more melodic side, and refrains from stretching the limits of his vocals, while keeping the raspy tone. Swindle shows his refrain in the verses, but raises his voice as he breaks into the chorus. One can speculate that this is done to emphasize the lyrical content of the chorus, which addresses that, as you re-encounter people of your past, they are likely to have changed, just as you have. Instrumentally, there are some distinguishable differences. The instrumentation is a lot more polished than their previous releases. It debuts a louder, more aggressive sound for the band.

The distinctive change has caused some mixed feelings from fans. Some listeners enjoy a rugged song because it reiterates back into the lyrical content. Additionally, the new track does not fit well with the rest of their discography, which, on the other hand, brings interest to fans and some anticipation in what’s to come for the band. They may seem to be straying from their creepier sounding songs, and headed into a catchier album that consists of more pop qualities. However, the difference between the previous and present sounds, shows just how versatile and talented the members of Have Mercy are.

Have Mercy has been together and touring for about six years. They have released two split EPs with other bands, alongside an EP and two full-length albums. They’ve come to master the emo-rock sound as well as gather an audience of loyal listeners. The new single blends the melodic content from their first EP while tweaking, yet staying true to the rock, instrumental sound of their previous album from 2015.

Their past releases, however, were recorded with a different mindset than this upcoming album. Their first EP and album were completely self-recorded; the band was not signed to a record label, had no producer and was not pressured by time constraints. They gained some popularity from those first releases, and received the attention of Hopeless Records. They were later signed to Hopeless in summer of 2014, and given the opportunity to make another album, called “A Place of Our Own.”

Many bands struggle with a debut album on a record label, due to the extraneous amounts of pressure to be efficient in album making and to have the album sell, which can often stunt natural flow of ideas and production. Have Mercy had to push out an album within about two months, and it showed in the content. The album is definitely good, but listeners can tell, there are some filler tracks.

This brings hope that there will be much more to expect in the upcoming album, which they have had over two years to work on. This has given them some artistic freedom, which can be heard in their new single, which I would promptly rate a solid 7/10. This elongated period has also allowed them to naturally mature and find their unique sound and style. Have Mercy shows their listeners there is still a lot left to be heard from them.

CCSU’s Singers Filling Up Founder’s Hall

 

by Matt Balogh

Many music enthusiasts gathered in Founder’s Hall on Thursday to enjoy the sounds of various singing groups here at Central Connecticut State University. The CCSU Chorale, Blue Notes and the University Singers took the stage for a performance full of wonderful arrangements. The performance was free to all, opening the doors to many students and faculty members.

Beginning strongly, the Chorale performed a composition by Martini, to which conductor Drew Collins jokingly expressed, “It’s always fun to start things off with a Martini.” All went well throughout their set, simultaneously flipping through their music sheets as their sound erupted around the room.

Interestingly enough, the second arrangement in their performance, “Der Tanz” by Schubert, they had performed 3 different times. Considering that the original was around a minute and a half long and arranged for a quartet and piano accompaniment, they included that exact arrangement in the middle of the song, aiding to its original setting.

To close their portion of the show, the group had done a tribute to George Gershwin with a medley of his classics “I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin,” “Summertime” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” The various sections blended well, including a strong bass section that shook the surrounding area. In addition to an angelic Soporano to match the rest, evening out the entire mix.

The next group was the Blue Notes Vocal Jazz group, a fairly new group to the lineup, performing acapella jazz. Featuring many of the members of the Chorale, the 8-piece group did a set consisting of a Greg Jasperse composition. Although it was quick, their style was an interesting piece to the lineup. The group sang in a “scat” style annunciation, featuring no intelligible words, just syllables.

The University Singers then closed the concert with the Chorale members. Singing without the accompaniment of a piano, the group held a strong sound and balanced well together.

Their first arrangement, a working of Bach’s “Ich Lasse Dich Nicht,” featured a ‘call and response’ style vocal arrangement, as the parts switched back and forth between sections. Switching between energetic and loud pieces, soft and mellow, the group filled the remainder of the show with fantastic arrangements.

Senior singer Hunter Bustamante, a member of the Chorale and the Blue Notes, spoke highly of the groups, “the most important aspect of preparation is the amount of practice time and dedication put into each piece.” Each piece was arranged to fit the size of the group and each individual part, a process that each member contributes a large portion to. Bustamante continued that overall “members of the groups join for a variety of reasons, most commonly the love of making music with others in a friendly environment.”
Both the Chorale and the Blue Notes host shows twice a semester, however, the University Singers are much more active in their performances. The groups consist of all CCSU students with an interest in musical arrangement and singing. Accepting all types of students, the various groups welcome anyone to join.

Knuckle Puck’s New Single Raises Eyebrows

by Thomas Redding

There are many mixed reactions of the new acoustic single from frontrunners of the new pop-punk scene, Knuckle Puck. The Chicago band, typically known for their hard-hitting songs, have taken a different route with their new releases, “Calendar Days” and “Indecisive.”

The first single, “Indecisive,” was released last Thursday, Feb. 23, and many devoted fans were taken rather off guard. They have released acoustic versions of songs before, but never quite like this. This is the first time that lead singer Joe Taylor, has ever included falsetto-style singing into one of their songs. He also refrained from yelling, something typically heard in previous acoustic tracks. This is the first time we get a glimpse of his actual singing voice, and while he doesn’t have ‘pop star’ qualities, his voice does a good job of complimenting the tone of the track.

The single is their first official release of an acoustic song, some wouldn’t say that it was disappointing. However, when the band announced new music, most were expecting another pop-punk anthem.

After reaching somewhere around the halfway point of the song, opinions began to change as they realized it was actually pretty serene. Although the reviews were mixed, their limited vinyl record of 500 copies, was sold out within about an hour. 

The band’s has matured since their previous release, “Copacetic,” in July of 2015. They have strayed from the “pop-punk acoustic norms,” which includes the same set of chords and strumming pattern, along with a strings section and recycled melodies. The single has more technical and interesting guitar parts, and the lyrics play a large role, because they are much stronger than heard in previous releases.

There are few lyrics to the song, which makes it somewhat resemble a lullaby. The melody is very droning and calm, creating a new sound for the band. It is also difficult imagining the band ever playing this song live, considering that their shows are known for being energetic and loud.

It is not clear if this was an experimental release, or if it could mean something new. Some speculate that by straying from the fast, loud, pop-punk jams, the band is seeking a softer rock side of their sound. It would be interesting to see them go in a new direction, as they would be paving a new path for pop-punk, which is in dire need of some change currently.

The “new pop-punk” sound has been pushing long time fans away from the genre lately, as the sound has changed far past its original roots. A different sounding Knuckle Puck album may actually be good, allowing them to stand out in this crowd of heavily formulaic bands.

Knuckle Puck can be seen opening for Mayday Parade’s 10th Anniversary tour, which will be traveling across the country this spring. The band is highly recommended for fans of the genre. There are still tickets available for the tour stop at College Street Music Hall in New Haven, on May 6.Check out www.knucklepuck.limitedrun.com for pre-orders of “Calendar Days” and “Indecisive,” and to see the video for the new song.

Overall, the song is great and has the potential for frequent replays on the iTunes libraries of pop-punk fans. I would rate the song a 7.5/10.

Linkin Park Returns with a New Single

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by Matt Balogh

At the forefront of the nu metal scene in the early 2000s, Linkin Park has grown to find a fan base of millions. By combining a large sound of heavy metal influence and hip hop elements of rapping style vocals, and DJ-led turntable scratching. This created a distinct sound for them, allowing their debut album Hybrid Theory to sell over 30 million copies worldwide.

Being a favorite of nu metal and hip hop fans alike, Hybrid Theory became a base for many nu metal bands to follow. Their singles “In The End” and “One Step Closer” had seen large rotation on rock stations, and continue to be staples in their live performances to this day.

Over the years, the band has put out 6 albums more, each to a sloping response by their long time fans. Fans have criticized their change in style, as it keeps inching towards a pop style. While not completely ditching their nu metal taste, their albums have featured more much lighter feeling songs, and less and less edge on their sound. Starting with songs like “Shadow of The Day”, and really everything on Minutes to Midnight, they have brought softer songs, and really a total departure to a pop rock-ish style.

In the case for their newest track “Heavy,” it seems as though they have completely converted themselves to a pop sound, ditching anything “rock” that the band had previously been known for. If the song suggests anything of the new album, this leaves anticipation of a rock-less, polished electronic pop album. The instrumentation is minimalist, and sounds almost completely computer generated, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Their downfalls, however, lie in the structure and lyrics of the song.

With not much going on in the background, the song seems to rely on the inclusion of the up-and-coming pop singer Kiiara. The singer does not bring much to save the song, and it resembles a pop duet in the vein of The Chainsmoker’s “Closer,” which exemplified the recurring motif of modern pop music: basic and seemingly uninteresting track that is attempted to be revived by new singer that is just as uninteresting. Kiiara’s vocal addition took the majority of the singing role after her awkward introduction in the chorus. Shifting energy very rarely throughout the track, the quickness of its length makes the song go from A to B, and feels like nothing had even happened.

The lyrics are really uninspired, just linking overused lines like “can’t escape the gravity,” “I’m holding on,” and the repetitive “why is everything so heavy,” which is ironic considering the nature of the song. The chorus had potential to save the verses from their simplicity, but is stuck to the repetition of the “why is everything so heavy” line.

For fans of the band, they have some real bad news coming to them. Hopefully the entire album won’t be following this style, as it lacks the feeling that Linkin Park had always packed. Although a change of style isn’t terrible, this song unfortunately doesn’t even work well as a pop song, and certainly works as only filler. Linkin Park has had a history of success and creativity, so it’s hard to blame them for experimentation. The song could possibly find the interest of die hard fans, or maybe fans of modern pop music.

Demi Lovato Deserves a Grammy

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by Natalie Dest

Since her debut album “Don’t Forget” back in 2008, singer/songwriter Demi Lovato has transcended from a Disney Channel star, to a pop sensation with a killer vocal range.

The 24-year-old has been in the spotlight since her notorious days of “Camp Rock,” back when the Jonas Brothers were the hottest boy band of their generation. After years of battling her mental illness, Lovato has been viciously climbing the charts with her soulful yet daring pop hits. With chart topping tracks such as her summer anthem “Cool for the Summer,” and break-up single “Really Don’t Care,” she continues to be recognized as one of the industry’s best vocalists. To say the least, the girl can sing.

With five Billboard topping albums, Lovato consistently stuns her fans, better known as “Lovatics,” with pure emotion and high ranged vocals into every release. Her fifth and newest album “Confident,” released back in October 2015, was able to land her first ever 2017 Grammy nomination.

Lovato was up against former nominees Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Sia and Adele for Best Pop Vocal Album. All of these artists vary in style and vocal sound. However, it’s the lyrics and soul that sets aside “Confident” from the rest of the albums nominated. In saying so, I’m not going to rule out the other artists as untalented or unworthy of a Grammy themselves. We’ve seen Grande deliver dynamic vocal performances herself, Bieber top number one on Billboard continuously, and Sia produce songs unlike no other. As for Adele, we saw her walk away with five Grammys herself that night, Best Pop Vocal Album being one of them. But as for Demi, it’s a different category entirely. Unlike anyone in her generation, Demi delivers it all.

The album “Confident” embodies Lovato as a graduate teen, promoting self-empowerment and assertion of confidence (hence the album title). The first track titled “Confident,” sets off the album with a sense of women empowerment and independence, as Lovato belts the lyrics “what’s wrong with being confident?” Following this head-held-high strutting anthem, fans are met with Lovato’s definite vocals on mid-tempo tracks that make her stronger-than-before presence clear. With it’s distinct sound, the pop anthem “For You” is accompanied by a backup choir singing the lyrics, “For you I would do anything,” as Lovato sings about summoning her inner strength.

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In addition to these upbeat toe-tapping tracks such as “Stars” and “Yes,” this album is highly noted for Lovato’s soulful ballads that landed her the nomination slot. The lost love ballad dedicated to her dad entitled “Father,” clearly demonstrates Lovato’s talent of meaningful lyrics. Through her distinct pain, the lyrics “I know you were a troubled man. I know you never got the chance, to be yourself, to be your best. I hope that Heaven’s given you a second chance,” resonate as Lovato’s soul belts the words. Similar to “For the Love of a Daughter” on past album “Unbroken,” “Father” tells the story of her estranged relationship with her dad who had passed away in 2013.

However, no track on this album compares to her “post-break up” love ballad “Stone Cold,” a deserving Grammy award winner within itself. We haven’t seen such a raw track from Lovato since her 2012 post-treatment single “Skyscraper” and self-inflicting inspired “Fix a Heart.”

“Stone Cold” is soulful emotion, a track that continues to emphasize Demi’s powerhouse vocals and rawness, specifically seen within her live performances. With just the accompany of a piano, Lovato has her strongest track yet to date. She is seen to belt out each verse with a wistful feeling as her voice drops and breathes “I’m happy for you.” Clearly drawing from a personal sense of pain, the lyrics “I’ll take the pain, give me the truth. Me and my heart, we’ll make it through,” are directed towards a former lover who is no longer.

Chills are simply unavoidable when taking a listen to this track. It’s almost certain that “Stone Cold” was the winning component to Lovato’s record that landed her nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album.

All of Demi’s lyrics would lack their long lasting impact if it wasn’t for her incredible, unlike no other vocal capability. All five albums demonstrate the range of her voice and the expression she creates with her music. Through both the low and high notes, her soul is beautifully sung through her extremely versatile and flexible voice. With Demi, you cannot just listen to one of her songs blankly. The amount of emotion poured into her voice is astounding, as if she’s creating a masterpiece every time.

If Demi is constantly being recognized for her vocal and emotional power, the question remains; why is she still left empty handed? All in all, “Confident” is a dynamic pop production that let’s Lovato’s powerful voice soar to new emotional and vocal highs. Demi Lovato is no longer a Disney starlet, but rather a grown musician long overdue of her recognition. It’s about time this artist walks away with a Grammy.

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Relient K’s Truly Madly Deeply EP

by Matt Balogh

Starting in 1998, Relient K made their way through the Christian Punk scene, eventually finding their audience. With a contract signed to indie Christian label, Gotee Records, Relient K released their self-titled debut to little initial reaction, but eventually went on to sell 400,000 copies. The band’s sound had used humor and references to pop culture to combine with a catchy pop-punk sound, making them the perfect subject for an era that pop-punk dominated.

A year later, the band’s next album “Anatomy of Tongue and Cheek,” had charted them on the Billboard 200, debuting at number 158. Songs like “Pressing On” and “Sadie Hawkin’s Dance” had brought them more popularity, and the album eventually was certified gold. Throughout another full length and a handful of EPs later, Relient K had managed not to lose their playful wit and pop-punk charm that listeners loved.

In 2004, Relient K met with mainstream success, as they signed to Capitol Records to release their album “Mmhmm,” heavily driven by their hit single “Be My Escape.” The album peaked at number 15 on the Billboard 200, and furthered their success even more. This album worked as a platform for experimentation, when compared to their previous releases. While maintaining a pop-punk element, “Mmhmm” introduces sounds of alternative rock, post-hardcore and even soft rock balled-style songs. After “Mmhmm,” the band had released 6 albums, including a Christmas compilation.

Lyrically, their songs discuss various topics, however, they do incorporate Christian faith into their lyrics. Over the years, the religious references have seldom appeared, but still are a consistent feature of their music. Since their stylistic experimentation in “Mmhmm,” their lyrics have been a little more serious than their cheerful and humorous songs in the past.

In 2017, Relient K had released their new EP in time for Valentine’s Day, titled “Truly Madly Deeply.” Despite the title, there are no covers of Savage Garden, but rather a 3 song EP of all originals.

Leading off the EP “Candy Hearts,” is a return to the pop-punk sound that the band had so perfectly perfected. The song makes for an excellent introduction of the very short EP, working as a “carpe diem” style story, offering love to an unknown recipient.

The song has very straightforward structure, but is very energetic as a modern love song. Showing their versatility, the next track “Happy Valentimes” is a rockabilly style song, featuring a shuffling beat that pumps out a catchy backbone to the song. “Happy Valentimes” is a lot less complex lyrically, as it follows a linear love story and squeezes in some essential ‘Lalalas.’ The final track, “BMI Valentine” has a style similar to folk-rock, complete with an acoustic guitar backing. This song is a fairly depressing close to an EP full of love, considering it is more of a hopeless romantic story. The song references to alcoholism, and being without a heart while looking for a valentine.

For what it’s worth, the EP is a nice little collection for a listen during this year’s Valentine’s Day. The length of it helps with the variation of song genres, making it flow better than they may have on a full length. Specifically, lead singer/guitarist Matt Thiessen’s lyrics have never dulled, and continue to influence feeling on the band’s fans.