Relient K gets word out in sophic songs
July 13, 2003
Two lefts don’t make a right, but three do.
Bet you never thought of that, but Matt Thiessen has.
Thiessen is the frontman and songwriter for Relient K, a punk-influence Christian band that’s grabbed attention with its latest CD, “Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right, But Three Do!”
Among Thiessen’s other observations:
“Let’s get emotional girls to all wear mood rings/ so we’ll be tipped off when they’re ticked off/ ‘cause we’ll know just what they’re thinking.”
And then there’s “Arg wu sentaginticate nar dunderford” from “Gibberish,” a catchy song that — amazingly — fans love to sing along with in concert.
Another sign of a failing education system? No, just a fertile — but very ornery — mind.
“I sit around and think about stupid stuff all day long,” Thiessen said just before a concert in Virginia last month. “ … I really like clever lyrics, puns and all that.”
As a result, Thiessen’s lyrics don’t score high on the “Jesus Per Minute” scale.
“I try to push the envelope. I try not to come up with the same old safe lyrics all the time,” Thiessen said.
Despite that, many of Relient K’s songs are insightful and all bear the mark of a worldview different from that of most Top 40 acts. The lyrics discuss the frustrations of modern life, but they advocate hope, not an escape through drugs, sex or materialism.
“When we do write about the spiritual side of things, it’s really from our hearts,” Thiessen said, adding that forcing religious beliefs into a song just to make a buck “is borderline blasphemous.”
One of Relient K’s biggest hits is “Pressing On,” which is about moving on with life despite the “stupid things you have done.”
“It’s the concept of grace. Every day, you wake up and put the past behind you because of God’s grace,” he said.
Of course, lyrics won’t go very far without good music. Relient K delivers that, too, with an emphasis on solid guitar work and powerful drumming — remember, they’re punk-influenced. Fans loved it at the Virginia concert, jumping, dancing and singing along, despite unplanned intermissions when drummer Dave Douglas pounded two separate snares into oblivion.
The success of their previous CD, “The Anatomy Of the Tongue In Cheek,” enabled the band to place songs in Nintendo Game Cube’s “Big Air Freestyle,” TV’s “Smallville” and the VeggieTales movie “Jonah.” In addition, the video of “Chap Stick, Chapped Lips and Things Like Chemistry” from “Two Lefts” has been in the rotation on MTV2’s rock specialty show.
Two years ago, “if we had heard that this stuff was going to happen to us, we would have flipped out,” Thiessen said.
“It’s cool but, you know, that’s not what we’re really doing it for.”
The future offers more touring, more CDs and the possibility of a title song for the next “PowerRangers” movie. But of they aren’t in it for the success, what’s the goal? “Have fun and try to do some good.”
For more information, check out www.relientk.com.