Last week I made a brief mention to being a Jesus Freak which in High School. This actually started back in Junior High. When I was in 7th/8th grade I used to listen to a Saturday night radio station that played only christian punk, metal and ska for about 2 hours. One night they played a song called Marilyn Manson Ate My Girlfriend by a new group Relient K, I instantly fell in love with their quirky pop punk lyrics. I found out later that they would be the opening act at the Five Iron Frenzy show I was going to that month.
At that show Relient K played a short but memorable set. At the time their full length hadn’t even come out, instead they were selling cassingles for the first 3 songs on their upcoming full length, everyone that went to that show left with those cassingles.
Over the years the band become more well known, their second album The Anatomy of Tongue in Cheek had the pop sounds of Blink 182’s Enema of the State with songs like Pressing On and Sadie Hawkins Dance. Now the goofiness of Relient K is almost entirely gone, but 2003’s Two Left’s Don’t Make a Right... But Three Do is a perfect blend of what their old sounds were and what their new sounds would be.
Matthew Thesian is one of the most intelligent song writers in pop punk. Much like Reese Roper of Five Iron Frenzy he’s general geekiness comes out in every song. However while Reese Roper was a scientist geek Thesian is a literary geek. When he drops lyrics like “so I may understand the complex infrastructures known as the female mind” (Mood Rings) I know that I certainly don’t want to play him in a game of Words with Friends.
Two Lefts will also represent a specific slice of my high school life. Much like Blink 182’s Take Your Pants Off and Jacket the album reminds me of the people talked to and hung out with. While the Blink CD reminds me of my friends in high school, Relient K will always remind me of my friends at work and through church. Songs like Chap Stick, Chapped Lips and Things Like Chemistry make me think of summer days and field trips. Mood Rings will always remind me of my friend Erika who I worked with at Lima Estates, when this album came out we discussed this song constantly, the same goes with In Love With The 80’s which Erika and I continually sang while driving to Purple Door one year.
Thesian and Hoopes have continues to be incredible songwriters and vocalists and while I’ve loved their records Mmhmm and Five Score and Seven Years Ago. But Two Lefts will always remind me of how incredible this band was for a lonely high schooler who just needed a band that made him laugh (Gibberish), gave him songs to sing-along to (Forward Motion) or let him know that he’s not alone after all (Getting Into You).