In honor of Relient K's recently announced 10 year anniversary tour of their smash hit album Mmhmm, this week's Throwback Thursday is going to take a look at the album that put the band on the map for good.
The band was coming off their highly successful Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...But Three Do album. That release honed in on their pop/punk tendencies and continued their clever wordplay, themes and song titles. What the followup Mmhmm did, a year later, was mature them to a point of an experimenting punk band that still had their charm.
The album kicks off with the fast paced "The One I'm Waiting For" which talks about waiting for that special person God has planned for you. The following track "Be My Escape" wound up being one of the band's biggest singles ever. This song attacks without being over aggressive. The opening guitar riffs and pulsing back and forth that heads into the piano laden first verse serves as truly a remarkably and memorable beginning. The obvious theme of the song is finding grace in Jesus and asking him to be an escape.
Skipping ahead past "High of 75" which is just an uptempo punk song, "I So Hate Consequences" is another super punky song, but this one features some great dual vocal dynamics with convicting lyrics. It talks about not wanting to deal with faults and things that need to be addressed because they are scared of the consequences.
The next three tracks are good of course, but not as noticeable as what is coming. "The Only Thing Worse Than Beating a Dead Horse is Betting on One," "My Girl's Ex-Boyfriend," and "More Than Useless."
Track eight in many people's opinions is one of the best Relient K songs of all time. "Which to Bury; Us or the Hatchet" is such an incredible song in so many ways. It hits on every aspect, from the haunting guitars and underlying tones, to the on-point drums...this song rocks. However, the best feature of this song is the vocals. Singer Matt Thiessen nails the song with various highs and lows, inflection and passion. There is even screaming on the track. "No I don't hate you, don't want to fight you. You know I'll always love you but right now I just don't like you." The emotion and theme of the song is considered real and relevant to the times. The song ends as a piano ballad that flows into the next song, "Let it All Out."
This song is almost a reprise of the previous track and continues on in the same vein and nearly the same key. It is the reconciling of the fight that happened on the song before, "Make my heart brand new...every beat will be for you."
"Who I Am Hates Who I've Been" is the album's second huge single. It has a similar feel to "Be My Escape" with the heavy guitar intro and piano first verse. The difference is this song is a bit more uptempo. This song kind of flows with the last tracks as well as it moves from the fight, to reconciliation, and now to redemption of wanting to be something better.
The following tracks "Maintain Consciousness" and "This Week the Trend," again, are good in their own right, but "Life After Death and Taxes (Failure II)" is another stand out.
The song is super catchy and musically a little more heavy than the rest. It is about putting total faith and trust in God even after all the "stupid" things done. The only constants in life are death and taxes, and Relient K cleverly tells people there is "life after death and taxes" through forgiveness which defeats death and decay with the afterlife.
"When I Go Down" ends the album off on a lighter note with a stripped down full band acoustic song until about midway through. Thiessen is at his best on this song, and layered the track impressively with harmonies. The final part of the song ends the album with the band's best introduced feature, the inclusion of deep piano parts.
Overall this album took the band's already established sound and threw in enough maturity and development over the course of a year than most band's would see in their entire careers. There is a reason the band is doing a reunion tour of this record; they were at their absolute peak in terms of creativity and songwriting and it all just came together like magic.
The "Mmhmm 10th Anniversary Tour" will begin on October 30 and run through December 12. Tickets go on sale August 1.
Mmhmm debuted at No. 15 on the Billboard 200 chart and later went Gold.
Last year they released Collapsible Lung on digital format only. It debuted in the Billboard Top 20, and No. 1 on iTunes.
10/30/14 - Louisville, KY Mercury Ballroom
10/31/14 - Cincinnati, OH Bogarts
11/01/14 - Chicago, IL House of Blues
11/02/14 - Minneapolis, MN Mill City Nights
11/04/14 - Denver, CO Summit Music Hall
11/05/14 - Salt Lake City, UT Complex
11/07/14 - Seattle, WA Neptune
11/08/14 - Portland, OR Roseland
11/09/14 - Sacramento, CA Assembly
11/11/14 - San Francisco, CA Slim's
11/12/14 - West Hollywood, CA House of Blues
11/13/14 - San Diego, CA House of Blues
11/14/14 - Pomona, CA Glasshouse
11/15/14 - Las Vegas, NV Hard Rock
11/16/14 - Phoenix, AZ Nile Theater
11/18/14 - Tulsa, OK Cain's
11/19/14 - Dallas, TX House of Blues
11/20/14 - Austin, TX Emo's
11/21/14 - Houston, TX House of Blues
11/22/14 - New Orleans, LA House of Blues
11/24/14 - Jacksonville, FL Freebird Live
11/25/14 - Orlando, FL House of Blues
11/26/14 - Atlanta, GA Masquerade
11/28/14 - Charlotte, NC Fillmore
11/29/14 - Saxapahaw, NC Haw River Ballroom
11/30/14 - Silver Spring, MD Fillmore
12/02/14 - Philadelphia, PA TLA
12/03/14 - Boston, MA Paradise
12/04/14 - New York, NY Gramercy
12/05/14 - Pittsburgh, PA Altar Bar
12/06/14 - Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
12/09/14 - Grand Rapids, MI Intersection
12/10/14 - Detroit, MI St. Andrew's Hall
12/11/14 - Indianapolis, IN Deluxe
12/12/14 - Nashville, TN Cannery Ballroom