Review Summary: Just as the summer, the album has its ups and downs, but overall, it's still fun.
Unlike most fans of Saves the Day, I began listening to them only two years ago. My father introduced me to their album Stay What You Are when I began driving around with him after attaining my permit. So then, why am I reviewing the self-titled first? Firstly, it's their most recent album, and I like doing things backwards. Secondly, I saw them live about three weeks ago, which was a rather negative experience. The crowd was absolutely tiny for Warped Tour, maybe 30 people, and the sour mood of Chris Conley reflected on the crowd. Regardless, I still enjoy the music. I share this as that encounter showed me a different side of Saves the Day. It showed me a tired, old, and slightly inebriated front man, an energetic bassist who seemed rather unhappy with his band, a guitarist who was probably just there for touring, and a drummer who loves what he does. It is these attitudes that helped me understand the album more, as I did not enjoy it much before that show. Now, I hear the hurt in Conley's voice and lyrics. I can now relate to what he's trying to express as I saw his pain on that stage. There is no way to express those feelings in words, so sadly I can't elaborate on this point.
Conley is a story-teller. All of his writing on previous albums shows this, yet there is no story arc on this album. Rather, every song tells its own story. One of the ear-catchers on previous albums were his oh so sweet metaphors, yet the writing on this album is rather straight-forward. This being said, the lyrics are still as catchy and infectious as ever, but they're missing that charm. All of the instrumentation on this album is actually rather good, which has never been a problem for Saves the Day (as far as I know, I haven't listened to the trilogy much.) Chris's vocals are higher than ever, which doesn't bother me much, but I can see how those turn off some listeners.
The album itself can be easily compared to teenage summers. It begins fun and fast, yet has slower parts for the times that we want to hold on to forever. It also has the romantic moments that the summer is perfect for, yet also highlights the heartbreaks of summer. And just like the summer, this album ends on a high note with one of the bounciest songs in STD's discography. And then it's over. At 33 minutes in length, the album passes by just as quickly as the summer does.
Overall, the album has its ups and downs just as the summer does. Some of these moments are fast, some slow, some fleeting, and some we don't want to let go of. It's filled with happiness, sadness, pain, intrigue, and stories. It is all of these elements that make this album, and the summer, as fun as it is.