Five Score and Seven Years Ago is the fifth full-length album by the Christian rock band Relient K. It was released on March 6, 2007, and is the first full-length album by the band to feature bassist John Warne and guitarist Jon Schneck. It is also the first Relient K album released without longtime bassist Brian Pittman. Pittman did leave the band before the release of the album Mmhmm, but recorded most of the tracks with the band.
According to lead singer, Matt Thiessen, the album was created with a "Five" theme, as it is their fifth album, and for the first time Relient K has five members on an album. The "Seven Years Ago" links with the fact that their first album was created seven years prior to the release of this album, making for five albums in seven years. It also ties in with the famous line, "Four score and seven years ago", delivered by Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln is addressed in the first track, "Plead the Fifth". A poster advertising a concert for the band around the album's release depicted a cartoon Abraham Lincoln on it as well.
The cover of the album depicts the five band members staring up in the sky from a sidewalk, and they are all wearing parkas. Jon Schneck stands behind Matt Thiessen, so there are four shadows crossing the shadow of the curb, creating five in tally marks. Capitol Records released a promotional image about a month before the album's release, and the band's manager announced that it was not the album cover. The official cover was confirmed on the Gotee Records website. The promo image showed five sticks made into tally marks, with seven leaves either on the sticks, or falling off them. This image was on the back of the promo insert that advertised the new Relient K fan club that came with the CD.
A special edition of Five Score and Seven Years Ago was also released, including a bonus DVD with roughly thirty minutes of acoustic performances shot in the Capitol A Studios and including track-to-track interviews with the band. Also included is a making-of feature on the "Must Have Done Something Right" music video as well as the video itself, which was directed by Marc Webb (who produced videos for My Chemical Romance and The All-American Rejects). The album's cover also came with a special slip-cover that outlined the band members in orange drawings.
Five Score and Seven Years Ago debuted at number six on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling about 64,000 copies in its first week. As of July 11, 2007, it has sold 152,560 copies in the US.
The DVD also features the making of the video "Must Have Done Something Right" and the video itself.
|Week||Charting Position for Week||Sales for Week|
|March 6, 2007||#6||64,000|
|March 13, 2007||#23||24,387|
|March 20, 2007||#31||17,648|
|March 27, 2007||#39||10,884|
Must Have Done Something Right (mainstream)
Forgiven (Christian radio)
The Best Thing (mainstream + Christian radio)
I Need You (Christian radio)
Give Until There's Nothing Left (Christian radio)
Devastation and Reform (Christian radio)
While posting on the band and the recording process, a fan on CMCentral.com said, "They recorded for a couple weeks in LA with Howard Benson. This is the first time Relient K will use a different producer, as Mark Lee Townsend has recorded everything they've released up to this point. (Matt Thiessen has co-produced on a few things). They finished the album with Townsend at his studio."
The band's long-time producer Mark Lee Townsend also spoke of the album being recorded on his site. He produced the first track and the last track of the album, as well as "Crayons Can Melt On Us For All I Care". In one of his blogs, he said, "It was a great day in the studio with Relient K today. We've been working on a song for the record that is a bit of an epic in many ways with a ton of tracks and instruments. It's going to be pretty special when it all gets recorded and mixed. We are almost done with lead vocals on it and will be putting live strings on it next week, along with a few other parts that are a bit unconventional to pop punk. I'll keep you posted. The weather has been spectacular this last week and it's great for shooting hoops on breaks from the studio. Based on what I have heard from the tracks in L.A. and what we are doing here, the new album will be amazing."
Townsend also said later, "It's been a great week back in the studio with Relient K. We are working on a few album cuts and some additional acoustic versions of songs on the record. This week we got drums and bass done on the songs and will spend the next couple weeks filling out the rest of the songs. Matt is still finishing up some of the writing on a ballad we've been assembling and it's going to be an amazing track when we get done. It's one of those tracks where you just start putting it together, and it's very bare bones right now, but you know it's going to turn out really special. I heard a couple of the test mixes on some of the songs done in LA and it sounds fantastic and 'famous' IMHO."
Townsend also spoke of the epic track that he and Matt Thiessen were working on at that point, which he said was to include many instruments and clock in at eleven minutes long. The song turned out to be "Deathbed". Townsend said, "Well, the Relient K album is pretty much done at this point. It's a fantastic piece of music from top to bottom and I'm sure the fans will love it. I'm sure they will have something posted on their MySpace or website with details and a bit of music. Poor Matt T had to work his butt off with me the last week as we added a bunch of instruments to the 11 minute epic we were working on. Matt dusted off his horn playing skills from high school and played trumpet, trombone, french horn, and baritone on the song. We clocked in at 115 tracks including live strings, horns, a bunch of mellotron stuff, 3 different drum kits, ukulele, sleigh bells, micromoog and more. We had fun working on the track with all the instruments, but it was a lot of work and I think we are all glad that it is done. JR McNeely mixed it over a couple of days and it sounds amazing. I think we all are stoked about it."