Review Summary: A Definitive Point in Saves the Day's Career.
Welcome to Saves the Day, the ever changing ball of clay. Saves the Day has gone through many transformations in their 10 or so years of existence, including many new members and many new sound. Most people are familiar with STD's later works... songs like "At Your Funeral" and "Anywhere With You", both from albums released during their "post-millennium" era. Don't get me wrong, I love all of their work, and the album Stay What You Are
is excellent, but where Saves the Day really shines is pre-2000... If you take a look back there, 1999 to be exact, you'll find a wonderful gem, compounded with everything that defines Saves the Day and who they are today - they called it Through Being Cool
I picked up this album somewhere about 8 years ago when it was first released and I was a young teenage boy living out his pre-pubescent life wanting be a punk rock and roll star. The moment I popped Through Being Cool
into my CD player and listened to it, I had began to look at music a different way. Through Being Cool
is jam packed with melodic hardcore (if you will) guitar riffs, fast paced drum beats, incredible bass lines, and loud, whiny, emotional vocals and words. In my eyes, this album is the true definition of an emo album that is done well and done correctly. Through Being Cool
is a keeper no matter how you look at it.
- The album kicks off with a little bit of amp feedback, a progression of three guitar power chords and a full band entrance immediately after. This song is fairly short, only 1:43 in length, but in those nearly-two minutes, you immediately fall in love with Chris's voice and the way he portrays his lyrics as more a story rather than a song. The songs is fairly fast with a short "break-down" with single guitar strums and Chris's voice wailing loud. The song ends with one of my favorite lyrics on the whole album, "Even now that you're not here, I climb these mountains of houses every night / I say your name and wished I could have done things right." Awesome opening song, especially for it's short length. (8/10)
- The second song starts of with another guitar riff, this time slightly more grungy and distorted. A long drum roll and a slide down the bass neck lead the way for a full band ensemble, complete with distorted guitar octaves and super-fast drumming. The verse of the song sounds a lot like a punk song, but not before long, we're tossed into the chorus, with slower-paced drumming and very rhythmical guitar and bass work tracked with lines you can't help but sing along with. "Whoa, hey, what can I do? Lungs are breathin' open air and my spleen is dripping from my pants. Whoa, hey, what can I do? Left me in the cold, and I miss you." Once you hear the chorus, you be hooked into this song and the verses will flow along with it. Excellent song, one of their best. (10/10)
Shoulder To The Wheel
- This time, we hear few quick guitar bends and we're off. The intro is upbeat and fast paced, but not quite as fast as the two preceding songs. The verse of the song is even slower with quieter drums and less guitar which really brings out Chris's voice as he sings about being on the road. "And I say just go, please Dave, just drive. Get us as far as far can be, get us away from tonight." Not before long, the guitar picks up in the second part of the verse and we are launched into another head-bobbing, toe tapping chorus which is a perfect opportunity to sing along. "We drive, Dave steps on the gas. The world thats flying by is slick and smooth, just big waves of light. The radio's playin' Queen and we're rockin' out." Chris Conley, you are a genius. (9/10)
Rocks Tonic Juice Magic
- Rocks Tonic Juice Magic immediately begins with a guitar and a voice, and some of the most descriptive, yet insightfully hopeful lyrics from the whole album. "Let me take this awkward saw, run it against your thighs. Cut some flesh away, I'll carry this piece of you with me." Amazingly written and sung. The verses progress with a slower pace than most of the album and end with a jazz-type drum beat, very little guitar, lots of bass, and Chris's voice. After the first time, we hear another verse, but the second time leads us straight into three solid drum beats, a pause, and Chris yelling "(My) heart is on the floor" after which the rest of the band joins in to see him finish with "Why don't you step on it? When I think of all the things you've done." The songs ends with a louder jam and the same line being repeated over and over... "You and I are like when fire and the ocean floor collide." (8/10)
Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots
- This song, for a change, begins with a drums intro before blasting into a fast melodic jam. This song is very upbeat and cheerful sounding, though the lyrics are descriptive about getting your heart broken by someone you love. Chris begins, "Somewhere underwater, maybe you can find my heart. That's where I threw it after you had torn it out." After that, it's even more melodic guitar riffs along with story-telling lyrics. This song has no definitive chorus, yet begs you to sing along the whole way through. It abruptly ends with the guitars stopping exactly on a drum beat, but not before Chris yells, "I'm diving in this river, fishing out my heart. Never gonna let you get your hands on this again." A masterpiece. (10/10)
- This is by far my favorite song in the album. Beginning with a fast guitar into, we are soon listening to a few quick drum fills that point us towards the first verse, which describes Chris taking a train to see his loved one. The verses are somewhat fast with heavy, deep guitar parts. Then there is the chorus. In my opinion, it is musically and lyrically the best chorus on this album. The guitars are dancing around solid chords with slightly melodic fills in between each one, which Chris yells, "Did you know, my sweet, that I once took the liberty of watching you in your sleep? I rolled over and over, trying to touch your knees underneath the sheets. Trying to touch your knees." The way he yells the words sweet, sleep, and knees over the guitars and drums behind him is musical genius to my ears. I love every second of it, and I get chills when I hear it. (10/10)
My Sweet Fracture
- My Sweet Fracture, being the longest song on the record at 3:52, is ignited by a quick drum roll immediately followed by a verse full of drum and bass. Not before long, the guitar comes in following the same pattern as the bass, and the verse ends with a harmonic, "No-oh-oh." The chorus follows, feeling very melancholy, yet uplifting at the same time as Chris sings, "Don't you love those leaves? Don't you wish the orange stayed forever and crickets sang in the night all through winter?" The rest of the song flows perfectly through another verse and chorus, leading into the "outro" where it starts off quiet and mellowed out, but picks up and gets harder and harder over time as the same line is repeated, "I'd rather forget the days we spent than try to stay afloat in shallow water," being spoken at first, but yelled by the end. (9/10)
The Vast Spoils of America (From the Badlands Through the Ocean)
- Probably the most overlooked and underrated song on the album. This song is about being on the road away from your home and learning to appreciate the beauty of nature and open up your mind. The verses are fast and rocking, ending with an abrupt guitar fill followed by Chris's solo voice yelling "California!" followed by a backed-up, "where the mountains climb so tall and waves crash blue around you." You can call this part the chorus, which is also pretty fast and upbeat. The song eventually reaches the bridge or interlude (whatever you want to call it) which has a head-nodding guitar/drum part as well as another one of my favorite lyrics on the CD. "Sometimes taking off can open up your eyes to everything that lies in your heart. That's when you miss your home and trees seem a little deader." (9/10)
The Last Lie I Told
- This song sounds somewhat set apart from the rest of this album. It begins with a clean guitar riff which is surely enough followed by distortion and drums. This song, however, seems quick at first glance, but is a slowly-flowing song. Then it reaches a new part a slightly more upbeat part, where Chris sings, "I think I can see for miles, the city is just beyond those clouds and I guess this is what it's like to be really down," which leads us into a section of on-and-off drum beats and guitar strums. Right after that is the last part of the song which feels the same way the first part of this song did. It has no definitive chorus or hook, but it's a very cool song. Not one of their best, but it deserves a listen. (7/10)
Do You Know What I Love The Most?
- The shortest song on this album, clocking in at 1:34, is also one of my favorite. It starts off with an in-your-face drum roll and a killer bass line before it comes to a sharp halt and you are tossed into an ultra-fast verse filled with uplifting guitars and blazing drums. The song continues with this melody on speed until it reaches a stuttering stop right into a jazzy drum section with more thumping bass. The song is so damn catchy and the words are excellent, telling a story of Chris and a someone he loves experiencing a day together. "(I'll) sit in the lazy chair, all day remembering the things you do so when you come home, I jump up to kiss you and it will knock you back, you'll fall over our TV set. Pick you up to dust you off, baby lets give it a go." Awesome song to rock out too. (10/10)
Through Being Cool
- The most un-Saves the Day song here, and in my opinion the worst song. It's not bad, but it's not them
. The verse is "evil" sounding and has cheesy lyrics, "You know what? The next time you see Nick, yeah, tell him I'm gonna stick some needles in his face." The chorus is very different sounding than the rest of the song, as is actually pretty catchy. Despite being my least favorite, this song has one of my favorite lyrics, "I'll see the way the world begins to need color everywhere, and I'll realize how small I really am." (6/10)
Banned From The Back Porch
- A song about seeing a girl at a party and falling in love with her at first sight. The beginning has a rocking guitar riff followed by a stuttering, toe-tapping guitar pattern for the verse. The chorus is very memorable as Chris melodically sings, "Whoa, who is this? Where was she all those crazy years? Whoa, who is this? Where was she when my heart couldn't take it's beat?" A somewhat rocked-out song with slightly more heartfelt lyrics. Very good, indeed. (8/10)
Saves the Day is by no means perfect, but this album is a definite landmark in their career as well as the entire genre of emo music altogether. Whether YOU define it as emo or pop-punk or melodic hardcore, one this is for certain: this album rocks, plain and simple, no buts about it.