“Opinions are immunity to being told you’re wrong. Paper, Rock, and Scissors: they all have their pros and cons.” That is a line from “The Only Thing Worse than Beating a Dead Horse is Betting on One” by Relient K, arguably one of the best bands of all time. Relient K is currently made up of Matt Thiessen, Matt Hoopes, Jon Warne, Jon Schneck, and Ethan Luck—five men with an incredible amount of talent which they combine with soulful lyrics and upbeat melodies.
If you listen closely to Relient K, Matt Thiessen’s distinctive voice shines through. He is the main vocalist and he also plays guitar and piano. The rest of the band provides superb backup vocals as well as guitars, drums, bass, and the occasional banjo which can be heard on several songs such as “Which to Bury Us or the Hatchet.”
Together, Relient K has written over a hundred songs and has so far released seven albums (one of them is an EP and another is two EPs combined to create one full album). They’ve become insanely popular in the Christian music industry, and occasionally you’ll find a secular listener who lends an ear to them. Also, they have had their song “The Best Thing” featured on a home makeover commercial. Occasionally, great lyrics are wasted on inadequate and pointless songs, but for every senseless song, there are five more that find meaning and constitute thinking.
Relient K is one of the finest bands of all time for three reasons. First, Relient K varies their sound from electric to acoustic, and sometimes they throw in a little hardcore screamo. For example, their song “Which to Bury Us or the Hatchet” (not the acoustic version) has some screamo in it, but at the end it becomes harmonious and tones down to a sorrowful feel, as Matt Thiessen reflects on a relationship gone wrong and how he could have saved it. Unlike Taylor Swift, the group varies their chord progression and melodies; no two songs are the same. Taylor Swift is an absolutely fantastic songwriter and musician, but practically every song she writes is in the same chord progression and talks about the same things (relationships), and she hardly ever does anything different with her voice. She may be a great songwriter, performer, and a very talented musician, but she needs to depart from the beaten path and try something new. Therefore, Relient K is a better band due to the fact that its songs are always different, and the group can perform many different types of music. It’s also a plus that they often take some of their more intense electric songs and make a second recording, acoustic this time, if you prefer quieter, more relaxed rhythms.
Second, Relient K is superior is because they deal with issues teens and young adults have today. Their lyrics aren’t just meaningless words, thrown together on a page and covered up with good music. The things they sing about are things all teenagers can relate to. For example, in the song “This Week the Trend,” Matt Thiessen sings this line: “This week the trend was to backstab every single one of my friends and leave a voicemail message trying to make amends, all the while hoping things work out in the end.” I love that song, and especially appreciate how Relient K doesn’t pretend to be all high and mighty like some artists. They connect with their fans on a personal level and show how they’re going through some of the same issues we are. If a band has great singers, remarkable musicians, but terrible songwriters, it ruins everything. Fortunately, Relient K has saved itself from that trap and put in the time and energy it takes to come up with good lyrics.
Third, Relient K is a prominent Christian role model. Sometimes listeners sacrifice talent and excellent music for a Christian theme. For example, Paramore is an awesome band, but my mom doesn’t like its music because it’s a secular group. However, the main singer, Hayley Williams, is an excellent musician and when paired with her band, they make music that will blow your mind. Overall, Paramore has crazy, yet-down-to earth lyrics, wonderful music, but lacks Christianity. So, there’s an ultimate choice of whether to keep listening to Paramore even though they’re a secular bunch, or to give up a great band all for the sake of not listening to secular music. Fortunately, Relient K doesn’t make listeners choose. They combine five-star sounding music and Christian themes all into one beauteous package.
Based on the ample evidence above, we can finally conclude that yes, Relient K has what it takes. They are strong enough to stand up in the face of opposition and run the race with endurance when it comes to gaining the title for “Best Band Ever.” Music becomes an experience when tuning into Relient K. Their music, lyrics, and most importantly, their faith is encouraging and keeps their audience hanging on to every word.