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208 of 224 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Then There Was Light
I am by no means one to be considered “qualified" for the writing of any sort of review; I am just a normal person—a kid between high school and college. However, I have been listening to Relient K faithfully since the very beginning, when the only title they could think of for their first full-length album was simply their own band’s moniker. So the...
Published 16 months ago by Stephen C. Shutters

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52 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mediocre album from a fantastic band
Nearly four years after their flawless album Forget and Not Slow Down, Relient K are back with Collapsible Lung. Has the wait been justified? Well, sort of. There are a handful of tracks that are genuinely good, but the others range from sort-of decent to annoyingly bland. Let's go track by track:

1. "Don't Blink" - One of the better songs on the record. It's...
Published 17 months ago by Cole


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208 of 224 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Then There Was Light, July 8, 2013
This review is from: Collapsible Lung (MP3 Music)
I am by no means one to be considered “qualified" for the writing of any sort of review; I am just a normal person—a kid between high school and college. However, I have been listening to Relient K faithfully since the very beginning, when the only title they could think of for their first full-length album was simply their own band’s moniker. So the fact that I have been listening to Matt and Matt’s music since I began to learn to write my name is enough to allow me to merely explain my thoughts behind their newly-released album Collapsible Lung. Also, before I begin, I would like to make clear that to call any music other than that which you create yourself “bad," “awful," or any other term of the sort is extremely bigoted; music is an art, and if one accomplishes what he or she has envisioned in their music—no matter what others may think—they have achieved success and have created something good. Others are allowed, of course, not to like it, but that does not make it bad. With this in mind, whether or not I, you, or others like Relient K’s newest album, if the band members themselves like it and have accomplished with it what they sought to accomplish, it is a good and complete work of art.

I had looked forward expectantly to a new original album from Relient K ever since their incredibly beautiful, heartfelt Forget and Not Slow Down, which was released in 2009. When I saw a Facebook post from Matthew Hoopes one day in 2013 speaking of a new album entitled Collapsible Lung, I was overly excited; I was excpecting another incredibly beautiful, heartfelt album—a Forget and Not Slow Down: Part II of sorts.

After listening to the new album yesterday, I was sorely disappointed and quite distraught. This isn’t Relient K, I thought. I thought this and even said it aloud not because of the dramatic change in musical style from punk and alternative to pop—for Relient K has always been known to change their musical sound between albums, within albums, and even within individual songs—but because of the lyrics. It is true that they seem watered down and hardly creative compared with the usual Thiessen standard, but this also is not what left me distraught (though, truth be told, slightly disappointed). What bothered me greatly, upset me, even angered me was the worldliness, the lack of eternal value, the lack of a focus on Christ which had been in all the rest of their songwriting for over a decade. Not only did the creativity and poetic quality of the lyrics seem watered down, but the meaning and underlying message seemed utterly drowned. Instead of songs like Wake Up Call, Those Words Are Not Enough, For the Moments I Feel Faint, What Have You Been Doing Lately?, My Way or the Highway…, Failure to Excommunicate, Less Is More, I Am Understood?, Getting Into You, Be My Escape, I So Hate Consequences, More than Useless, Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been, Life After Death & Taxes (Failure II), When I Go Down, I Need You, Forgiven, Give Until There’s Nothing Left, Deathbed, and their Christmas songs, Collapsible Lung boasts such shallow themes as sex, one-night-stands, habitual drinking, meeting girls in bars, and more. In fact, I had never before had to worry about those around me hearing the lyrics of my music when listening to Relient K, but yesterday, while mopping the gymnasium floor at work and blasting the new album over the large speakers mounted to the ceiling, Thiessen sang the line, “Baby, you look so sexy" and caused a group of children to begin laughing heartily and their respective parents to begin glaring at me scarily. I was, in all honesty, extremely hurt and felt terribly betrayed; I had looked up to Matt Thiessen my whole life as the ideal man I wanted to be and, in fact, had even posted a photo of him as my Mancrush Monday on Instagram just a week prior. In my hurt, disappointed, and distraught state, I posted to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and had many people show that they shared my very opinion and also felt just as betrayed.

Out of a sense of denial and a stubborn desperation, I kept Collapsible Lung playing on repeat for eight straight hours. Over and over again it would play, jumping from track to track like a seemingly drunken train with no true final destination. As said by Cortney Warner of Jesus Freak Hideout, the album felt “almost too inconsistent, and at times it [could] feel more like a B-side album rather than a collective LP." The tracks seemed to have no flow and were broken and disjointed. The album was not the Forget and Not Slow Down: Part II I had been wishing for. Then, on the final track, after hearing the album play over and over again for hours without end, something clicked and everything came together for me as if I had been trying in vain to put together a puzzle without sorting the pieces into piles based upon the similar colors printed on their front. I began to sort the songs on Relient K’s new album in the same manner, and all but one track were together in the same metaphorical pile—the final track. Suddenly, everything made sense. The album was entitled Collapsible Lung for a very important reason—the very same reason the final track was in a different pile than all the previous tracks and was given the very same title as the album itself. All the songs before Collapsible Lung were actually meant to sound empty, shallow, watered down, broken, and disjointed, and that is what, ironically, makes them all flow together and lead into the final track—the true underlying message of the entire album. Four years ago, Forget and Not Slow Down was released; it was a concept album entirely about the terrible experience Matt Thiessen had when his fiancé left him. He poured his heart into the album and it was and is a beautiful, heartfelt masterpiece. Somewhere in those four years after its release, “between the miles of open road," Matt sings on the final track of Collapsible Lung that he “lost sight of what might matter the most" and “stumbled into the great unknown." The first ten tracks on the album display where he began to look for comfort and satisfaction after his engagement had been terribly brought to an end and also show the emptiness and brokenness in looking to such things rather than to the loving Father he had looked to for many years before. Track eleven, Collapsible Lung, is Matt’s confession—his plea to the Holy Ghost, from whom he “hope[s] [he] ha[s]n’t heard the last words." In the end, I had gone from being utterly ashamed of Relient K’s new album to being absolutely astounded by its blatant, brutal honesty and sincere beauty. In fact, it may quite honestly rank with its predecessor as my favorite of all Relient K albums. Collapsible Lung truly is the Forget and Not Slow Down: Part II I had been longing for—not only musically, but lyrically and in meaning and purpose.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting a bum rap, July 23, 2013
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This review is from: Collapsible Lung (MP3 Music)
As a long time RK fan, I can say I was a bit apprehensive about first of all whether this album was going to make it to market, and second of all how it was going to sound. Those of you who follow the band closely already know that the band has undergone some changes, Ethan, John, and Jon leaving (permanent versus temporary? no one seems to be saying for sure). In the midst of this the album was delayed and then leaks of it a few weeks to months ago were all saying it was a different sound for them, more 'poppy' was the main consensus. On some forums like absolute punk dot net there were whole ranting multi-page discussions about the band and the album. There was some angst, to say it mildly.

I have tried to maintain an open mind, my main concern was whether the band was going to break up or continue. I have had the awesome privilege of seeing them live many times, and the last few times I have taken my kids and they have loved it. We got to meet the guys a couple of times and take pictures with them.

My first listen or two through the album was interesting. Part of me felt 'oh em gee, now I know what people were talking about' Part of me liked some of the more vintage sounding stuff and felt like it vindicated the album as a whole. Part of me was also disappointed in the apparent turn of the lyrics to a more partying sexual lifestyle glorification. Not zealous enough to stomp my feet and pout and feel 'betrayed', because Matty T. usually has a purpose to most everything he has done so far. And honestly, I am not 100% along with many fans who say that FANSD was their peak as a band, I think lyrically it is very good, but I didn't get that excited with the musical sound on that album. It actually gets the least playing time of all my RK albums.

my take on the individual songs:

Dont blink 5/5 - vintage RK on the guitars and lyrics, tempo
Boomerang 4/5 - interesting twist for them
Lost Boy 4/5 - poppy RK sound
If I could... 3/5 - techno beat doesn't really get me going
Can't complain 2/5 - not sure if this or Gloria is worse - reggae/ska not getting me going either
Gloria 1.5 to 2/5 - weird techno mixed with ric ocasek vocal sound - large departure from their usual sound
PTL 3.5 to 4/5 - 80's Billy Ocean sound on the chorus I actually like
Disaster 3/5 - Billy Joel vocal sound not really reaching deep into me
When you were.. 3.5 to 4/5 - getting back to more familiar RK sound
Sweeter 3.5/5 - sounds like rockabilly mixed with The Almost
Collapsible Lung 5/5 - yesssssss. Absolutely awesome vintage RK/Matt (the lyrics are baaaaack ...)

with the arrangement of the songs, I am tending to agree with other reviewers that Matt seems to be describing his life of the last few years after his disastrous breakup that led to Forget and not slow down. I feel he is trying to say that he looked for satisfaction/solace in all the wrong places and is realizing in the end he has been searching in vain "between the miles of open road - I lost sight of what might matter the most" This song speaks to me personally in many ways, but also has made me incredibly more optimistic for RK as a group.

If you add up my ratings of the songs and divide you get an overall rating of 3.5 to 4. Because of the last song I am rounding to 4. I say, carry on Matt and Matt, I can't wait to see you guys on your next time around, and can't wait for the next album. I will listen to this album (and fast forward past can't complain and Gloria) much more than I will Forget And Not Slow Down.

I just don't get giving this album one or two stars.
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52 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mediocre album from a fantastic band, July 2, 2013
This review is from: Collapsible Lung (MP3 Music)
Nearly four years after their flawless album Forget and Not Slow Down, Relient K are back with Collapsible Lung. Has the wait been justified? Well, sort of. There are a handful of tracks that are genuinely good, but the others range from sort-of decent to annoyingly bland. Let's go track by track:

1. "Don't Blink" - One of the better songs on the record. It's decidedly more poppy than anything else they've done, but does a good job of retaining their "classic" sound.

2. "Boomerang" - A slight descent in quality here. The song really doesn't sound anything like Relient K, lyrically or musically. It's still enjoyable, if a little mindless.

3. "Lost Boy" - And now we've reached the downhill point. The songs from here on out are mostly forgettable and way too poppy for my taste. This song isn't terrible by a long shot, but this is such a departure from the band's usual sound that it's a bit jarring.

4. "If I Could Take You Home" - This song is actually fairly interesting. Synth-laden and processed, for sure, but the result isn't bad. The lyrics are what may turn long-time RK fans off, though; "I'm nothing special/But if I could take you home/I'd be all that you need." This is the first time Thiessen has sung of sex in a casual and almost egotistical way.

5. "Can't Complain" - Eurgh. Jason Mraz rip-off. Skip it.

6. "Gloria" - An okay, if somewhat discordant track. It's fun, though, and I could see it getting radio play.

7. "PTL" - The second worst track on the record, next to "Can't Complain." Thiessen's falsetto in the chorus ruins an otherwise enjoyable verse.

8. "Disaster" - Tied for my favorite. This is classic Relient K, sounding like a left-over from The Bird and The Bee Sides. The horns are lovely and so are the lyrics; "I'm trying to figure out/If life's worth living without you/Hope I never have to/The stars could align or explode in the sky."

9. "When You Were My Baby" - Musically, this one sounds like it could have been on Forget and Not Slow Down. Lyrically, not so much. A decent track.

10. "Sweeter" - Things slow down for one of the better tracks. It's folky, it's bittersweet (like the subject of the song), and it's enjoyable.

11. "Collapsible Lung" - This one is tied with "Disaster" as my favorite on the album. It sounds the most like Relient K, especially the second half, with the chugging guitars and faith-centered lyrics you would expect. A very enjoyable track. My only complaint is that it doesn't feel like an appropriate closer due to the hodge-podge of themes strewn about the album.

Overall, an okay album, with a few solid hits and several misses. And Relient K? If you're reading this, I do appreciate the fact that you are trying to branch out musically. I respect it. The problem I have is not the music (which is fine, mostly), but the lyrics. Please write your own on the next record. It's why I fell in love with you guys in the first place.

Essential Tracks: "Don't Blink", "Disaster", "Collapsible Lung"
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars and collapsible heart, October 21, 2013
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This review is from: Collapsible Lung (Audio CD)
What just happened?
What a complete an utter disappointment?
Cheap, trivial, pop lyrics. No heart and soul, no piano, dumbed down subject matter for the masses.
I like my music to make me think and feel and this is simply unacceptable.
I have seen them in concert twice, own everything they ever put out but this is not good. All my kids love their music and even though they listen to some typical pop stuff, even they are waaaay disappointed. They actually didn't believe this was a Relient K album when I put it in the cd player. When it was over the typical response is..."that's it?"...about a half hour of music after that long of a break...really?
Don't Blink and Collapsible Lung are good songs(Matt wrote 'em) but everything in between the first and last song is a debacle of epic proportion! Boomerang is catchy and interesting but really, we can't come up with enough lyrics to make it over 3 minutes long?
If you want to write a record with some other people at least pick some people that have a clue as to who and what you are!
Matt is a brilliant lyricist but this pop radio garbage is for the masses that can't think for themselves.
I hope and pray this is just a bump in the road and the next album atones for this Disaster.
Matt won't ever read this review but if he ever could I would simply tell him to...Write your own music, God has blessed you with enough talent to do it! Don't settle for commercial, stereotypical, cliché garbage and be proud of who you are and what you play.
Open that narrow gate and start back down that narrow road...the road less traveled. Most of us will still be there waiting for you guys next time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not the typical music I have come to love from Relient K, September 25, 2013
By 
Joram (Pittsburgh, PA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Collapsible Lung (Audio CD)
If you love Relient K's previous music but this album is nothing like the previous albums. It's OK, but you can tell that Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars helped write/influence the music, and I would say that it wasn't a positive influence...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Typical Relient K, September 24, 2013
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This review is from: Collapsible Lung (Audio CD)
The songs are entertaining and catchy, but the album is all but void of spiritual substance. The songs of heartbreak and poor decisions never feels reconciled. It feels like they've fallen away from their roots in Christ.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Huge letdown, July 7, 2013
By 
Austin Johnson (Gilbert, Arizona) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Collapsible Lung (MP3 Music)
I was debating between giving this release one or two stars, but after going back and listening to Five Score and Forget and Not Slow Down, the decision was easy. I have absolutely no desire to give this album a second listen. Everything about this release is sub-par. Sure, if you're used to listening to top 40 pop music on the radio, this might seem like a decent album. But if you've been a fan of Relient K's clever, witty and passionate lyrics along with their straight forward pop punk (Two Lefts) and their organic piano rock (FANSL)for many years, you'll most likely be very letdown here. This album feels very rushed and thrown together, even though fans waited four years for its release. Relient K has been one of my favorite bands since 2001, and I would hate for them to go out on this stinker of an album. Here's hoping for the next one.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What happened???, September 18, 2013
This review is from: Collapsible Lung (MP3 Music)
Please, please, please just go listen to Forget Not And Slow Down and just pretend this release never happened. I have followed Relient K from the very beginning and honestly "Marilyn Manson Ate My Girlfriend" has more substance than this whole album. This really just isn't a great following from a nearly perfect album (Forget Not And Slow Down)... You could feel Matthew Thiessen's every emotion in that album and now all I get is "hey, you're kinda sexy..." So disappointing...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So it's not what you're expecting, doesn't make it bad though.., May 16, 2014
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This review is from: Collapsible Lung (MP3 Music)
I've been listening to Relient K for over 10 years. This is not the Relient K I grew up with. People have pointed out in other reviews that the only song that sounds like them is the last song, "Collapsible Lung" and they're right. I was hesitant to buy this at first because of the amount of negative reviews, but I'm glad I did.

I like all the songs. They're really catchy and (sound) upbeat and I found myself singing along easily. I guess some people want Christian music to spell everything out for them but I personally enjoy music that makes me think a little more. Collapsible Lung is that kind of album... it assumes you're smart enough to think through the story each song is telling, and by proxy figure out the over arching message of the album.

"Collapsible Lung" ties all the other songs together. Think of all the prior songs as sort of confessions or descriptions of a person doing really foolish or dangerous things. Collapsible Lung is the song that asks, "Can I try again? Can God forgive even me?" The heartache in Collapsible Lung can only be truly appreciated when paired with the other songs. It's really quite moving!

I totally recommend this album. Yes it's different. Yes it deals with "mature topics". Yes it doesn't explicitly tell you not to do stupid things. But on the other... Yes it deals with real life problems. Yes it talks about consequences. Yes it's sing-a-long and tap-your-foot quality songs!
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21 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Waited four years.....for this?, July 3, 2013
This review is from: Collapsible Lung (MP3 Music)
Well, after having followed Relient K for a while now, they have been one of the few pro-Christian bands to have held true and consistent with their music over the years. They had wit, charm, and passion in their music, and they grew and matured in ways that allowed you to follow them without feeling as if they were selling out. Even their flawed 2009 effort "Forget and Not Slow Down" still had the feel of a Relient K effort. Even though it felt like the band was entering some serious growing pains, it had enough tracks to keep me satisfied. I took great pride in virtually all the efforts of Relient K.

Until now.

Instead of a Relient K effort, we basically get an effort by "Pop Co-Writers Featuring Relient K", and the lyrics to and style of the album are harmed greatly as a result. The lyrical topics now delve into some sensual tones (a few of the songs seem to hint at sexual encounters), and have left nearly any mention of God off the album, completely out of character for a band known to have pro-Christian tendencies over the years. Also, the style feels watered down and over-the-top poppy, more in line with a band like Hot Chelle Rae instead of Relient K. The ONLY song on this album that truly feels like a Relient K song is "Don't Blink", and elements of Relient K's sound show up in "Collapsible Lung", but otherwise, this does not even have the heart of a Relient K effort. It seems Relient K has been trying so hard to reach out to a mainstream audience that they have resorted to making an album like this, a large collection of pop dreck, that they have largely abandoned their long-time fans who appreciated them through thick and thin. Very tragic indeed.

Final rating: 2/5. I do recommend the track "Don't Blink", and take a listen to "Collapsible Lung", but unless you're a sucker for radio-friendly electronic pop, then I strongly suggest skipping the rest of the songs and waiting for a future effort to come out and correct the mistakes on this album.
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Collapsible Lung
Collapsible Lung by Relient K
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