Thursday, January 30, 2014

Saves The Day ‎– Stay What You Are (2001)

On request

Here goes a rendition the classic music critic gripe:

If the world was a "just" place (oh silly critics) Saves the Day would have the career of Fall Out Boy, only with way more credibility. 2001's Stay What You Are is the most radio-ready emo album there is and it's not even that close. It's melodic bliss, yet somehow it just didn't click. Saves the Day was just four years too early. The album came out in the height of pop punk's infiltration of mainstream teen culture, and this album just didn't fit the mold of the Blink-182s and Sum 41s of the world. But hey, as a music listener, I'd prefer that an albumbe unappreciated and great than known and unlistenable.

Atypically, the album begins with a funeral on the aptly titled "At Your Funeral." The track is not as melancholy as one would expect, in fact, musically it's bouncy. Like most of the songs on Stay What You Are it emotes more bitterness than sorrow. The follow-up "See You" features leadman Chris Conley at some of his lyrical best, with vivid imagery that is instantly relatable:

"My gut is burning. Won't you find me some water?
Hey, just forget it can you bring me gasoline
and collect a couple forks, hold them three feet apart
and wait for lightning to strike to burn me up?
Cause I don't think that I have got the stomach to
stomach calling you today."

"Cars & Calories" almost seems like a premonition listening back on it now. It's vicious attack on the falseness of celebrity culture and the obsession with appearance is like a direct critique of people's fascination with tabloids and "reality" TV shows like The Hills. Conley's lyrics continue to shine on "Jukebox Breakdown," which explores the very cool idea of what it means to be a singer through means of an extended jukebox metaphor.

The ballad "Freakish" is the kind of number the band was made to play. It's hopelessly romantic swoonings encapsulate youthful heartache to a T. Maybe it was choosing this song to be a somewhat unconventional single that did in Stay What You Are's chances of success, but it's hard to buy that, because it has one of best music videos ever.

"As Your Ghost Takes Flight" and "All I'm Losing Is Me" both feature offbeat guitar parts that instantly catch the ear's attention. "As Your Ghost…" is the most morose and angry tune on the album, as Conley sings of revenge and blood drinking (another missed opportunity, the Twilight kids would eat this up). The songs are just part of the first-class musical variety that Saves the Day's members display throughout Stay What You Are.

With the album nearing it's end things wind down with "Nightingale" and "This Is Not An Exit." They are more delicate, understated tunes which gives them a bit more reflective air. It amazing more songs in the genre are not do not strive for this sound, which fits the downtrodden aesthetic so much more accurately. As Stay What You Are goes out in a glorious burst of flickering flames on "Firefly," one could bemoan a band that had every right to make it and didn't. But that misses the point. Saves the Day made an album the likes of which the bands that followed in their success can't touch. That seems just enough.

"Hey guys, did you hear the new Saves The Day CD?"

"Yeah, it blows...what a bunch of stupid cry babies."

That has been a common reaction to the new album throughout the punk scene...

Recorded in early 2001, the new STD album, Stay What You Are, takes the band to a completely new level. If you're looking for a Can't Slow Down or Through Being Cool rehash, just quit reading this review right now. The 11 song disc begins with "At Your Funeral", an amazingly catchy, but amazingly dark song. The whole album is far darker than any previous effort by the band. 
Followed by "At Your Funeral" are, "See You", "Cars & Calories", "Certain Tragedy", and "Jukebox Breakdown." The album is so varied, it's hard to categorize it. But, labels are useless, right? As those first 5 songs pass by, you notice the change in the band. You notice the darkness, the distorted guitars. You notice a brand new band. 
"Freakish" follows after "Jukebox Breakdown", and it's just an amazing song. Words are hard to describe it. "I'll make my way across the frozen sea, beyond the blank horizon, wehre I can forget you and me, and geta decent night's sleep." If that's not sincere I don't know what is. 
"As Your Ghost Takes Flight" is next up. It's a song for the whole family. No, not really. It's a creatively violent song, which scared the poo out of me the first time I heard it, but it fits in nicely with the theme of the album. Sometimes you just have to let go, as things change... 
After that, "Nightingale" follows. By far the best song on the disc. The song is written like a dark story that you don't want to end, as is the entire album. There's just something special about "Nightingale" that will have you hitting replay over and over again. 
"All I'm Losing Is Me" continues the dark theme, and then the slow love song pops up, "This Is Not An Exit." It's a really well written song for the brokenhearted. "Firefly" ends the album, and it does it in good fashion too. Good song. 
Yes, this is the most diverse work that STD has ever done. No, you will not enjoy this album if all you want is fast paced punk. Yes, you have to have a deep mind to understand the genius in this album. 
Chris Conley has received critical praise across the board for his amazing lyrics, and vocals. That credit is much deserved, I might add. The guy is a genius. 
Dave Soloway and Ted Alexander have vastly improved on guitar, and it shows on this one. Eben D'Amico's roaring bass is amazing. Bryan Newman's drumming fits beautifully. 
My rate's a 9 out of 10, but I really think it's a 9 & a half. Do yourself a favor. Pick this one up on a rainy day.

Review Summary: Saves the Day's best release, and a huge milestone in the history of Pop Punk.

I remember the first time I listened to this album vividly. I was in my bedroom scoping through internet for new music to listen to. The clatter of rain dripped down my window graciously, and I had no luck finding good material to get into. I was a sucker for Pop Punk at the time, especially Taking Back Sunday's "Tell All your Friends". After about an hour of searching for something, I came across the group "Saves the Day". At first, I was skeptical about the band due to the silly name and the cliché cover used for their most popular album, "Stay What You Are". After reading a bit more about it, and the critical acclaim the album garnered, I decided to give it a listen. I did not enter the album positive; I went in with the sole purpose of ripping the album to shreds. When the last words of "Fireflies" were sung, the growing sunlight poured through my window and I was in awe of how wrong I was.

"Stay What You Are" does little to improvise a unique sound that differed from most Pop-Punk groups at the time. The quirky guitar work, catchy drums, and clean vocals are all there. However, Saves the Day rather improvises on the generic rhythms with impressive instrumental works and irresistible lyrics to sing along too. Right when the first words of "At Your Funeral" were spoken, I was hooked on the catchy lyrics as well as Chris Connelly's fantastic vocal performance. Some people use the word "feminine" to describe his voice. I have never found his voice feminine, yet I find it to be a bit whiny at some points of the album. This isn't much of a negative, since the positives of his voice and lyrics highly outweigh the negative. His voice stays strong throughout the album, as his voice never lets up until the very end.

The guitar work on the album is to be noted also. Though the guitar doesn't stray too far from its crunchy chords and three finger riffs, it provides an excellent way to be enticed to the song, as it doesn't attempt to outdo the rest of the performances. The best example of the guitar work found on the album is showcased on "This is Not an Exit", I find myself humming the guitar on this song frequently. Even though it may seem simplistic at first, you must realize that it isn't trying to outshine the other instruments on the track. The bass can be heard frequently, but it doesn't do much to improvise the sound with the other instruments. I found myself enjoying the guitar and drums a lot more, with the bass proving to be a shadow in the back of the other two instruments.

The drums on the album are well placed and executed perfectly; they keep the rhythm of the album at a balance, as well as improvising on the mood of each song. The drums provide different tracks for each song, and don't sound recycled like some other Pop Punk releases at the time. The cymbal crashes on "Nightingale" are by far my favorite example of excellent drumming on the entire album. They do their job, improving the songs atmosphere and overall sound for a good cause. The drums on the album are not what you would here from your typical Pop Punk album. They provide enjoyable tracks to keep up with as each song flows off of each other.

The standouts of the album are found in the final few songs on the album. "Nightingale" is an excellent slower song that builds tension with its hard hitting drums and Connelly's beautiful lyrics. I always get a chill when Connelly sings gracefully "The Nightingales are singing out!" The chorus is one of the catchiest on the album, and the bass line provides an interesting groove to get into. The next standout would be the famous "This is Not an Exit". This is by far the most memorable song on the entire album. After my first listen, I could recall the chorus and opening guitar strums by memory. Chris Connelly out does himself here, with intricate lyrics and a beautiful ring to each melody he produces with his voice. The finale of the song takes the song to a whole new level though. The lyrics are just so mesmerizing, I find myself smiling every time the song reaches its climax. The honest lyrics spill out of Connelly's mouth so positively and clean that there's no reason to not feel happy. I still listen to this song every time I'm down in the gutter, it's such a wonderful song, and I recommend it for anyone who is into Pop Punk. The final song, "Fireflies" kicks off hard, with some of the fastest work on the album. The lyrics are honest and subtle, yet highly affective. There seems to be less interest in providing a catchy chorus, but with a bigger intention of closing off the album with a grand finale. The final minute and a half of the song is some of the best on the entire album, as all the instruments collide together to form a memorable harmony as Connelly signs it off.

This is by far one of the most enjoyable Pop Punk albums I have ever listened to. The lyrics are memorable and catchy, the instruments are well crafted and each serves a purpose, and the energy put into the album is off the scale. Chris Connelly's vocal performance is top notch, giving each song color and emotion with each note his voice provides. This is Saves the Day's greatest achievement, and it's a shame they could not capitalize on such a great start. This album has become a staple in the industry, and it serves its purpose for being one of the best Pop Punk albums ever made.

Punk rock finally smiled during the late '90s and into the millennium, thanks to the bands like New Found Glory, Sum 41, and countless other TRL mainstays. New Jersey's own Saves the Day play with post-punk stylings on their third album, Stay What You Are. More mature compared to 1999's Through Being Cool, Stay What You Are mixes emocore delight with post-grunge snarl, and Saves the Day's harmonies are jaunty and tight. But the album is also quite dark and grim; they stay close to the anger found in punk in the first place. Album opener "At Your Funeral" pauses at the idea of death of a peer. Frontman Chris Conley's boyish vocals project a façade of sweet, bouncy sounds, practically glossy and sheer. The bleak descriptions found on "Jukebox Breakdown" and "Nightingale" capture the grittiest three-chord riffs and Saves the Day's highest artistic moment yet. They're bittersweet from love, and self-discovery is most pertinent. They want to avoid such loss, and "All I'm Losing Is Me" suggests that. Saves the Day is conscious of what's affecting their generation, post Generation-X, and they're asking thousands of questions. Stay What You Are yearns to fight the compromise within social standards and complies with bit of self-indulgence.
MacKenzie Wilson

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Texas Is The Reason - Do You Know Who You Are?: The Complete Collection (2013)

This new expanded version of Texas Is The Reason's groundbreaking album includes the last two songs the band wrote before splitting up, but had never released. 
These two songs, which fit right into the band's canon, were finally put to tape this year with "Do You Know Who You Are?" producer J. Robbins - making this, for the first time, a complete career retrospective.


1. Johnny On The Spot (4:15) 
2. The Magic Bullet Theory (2:48) 
3. Nickel Wound (4:36) 
4. There's No Way I Can Talk Myself Out Of This One Tonight (The Drinking Song) (3:57) 
5. Something To Forget (Version II) (5:50) 
6. Do You Know Who You Are? (2:43) 
7. Back And To The Left (3:55) 
8. The Day's Refrain (4:59) 
9. A Jack With One Eye (4:42) 
10. Every Little Girls Dream (previously unreleased) (6:06) 
11. When Rock 'N' Roll Was Just A Baby (previously unreleased) (3:21) 
12. Blue Boy (4:10) 
13. Something To Forget (Version I) (6:16) 
14. If It's Here When We Get Back It's Ours (2:25) 
15. Dressing Cold (2:49) 
16. Antique (5:04)

Texas Is The Reason - Do You Know Who You Are?: The Complete Collection (2013)

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Saves The Day ‎– Ups & Downs: Early Recordings And B-Sides (2004)

Saves the Day fans will happily devour Ups & Downs, as it presents a wealth of archival and rare stuff from one of the genre's more veteran groups. "Sell My Old Clothes, I'm Off to Heaven" wins the best title blue ribbon; it's taken from the same 2000 session as "A Drag in D Flat." "Hold" and "I'm Sorry I'm Leaving" were previously available on Saves the Day's 1999 acoustic EP, but Chris Conley's liner-note insights into their recordings are revealing. Fan favorite "Jessie & My Whetstone" appears twice, once acoustically and again in live, electrified form. It's a real teenage tearjerker, and one of Conley's songwriting highlights. Sure, punk-pop-inflected emoticons are a dime a dozen. But in something like the bittersweet pal tribute "Way His Collar Falls," he knows just how to combine lyric with melody to make the song something more than simply youthfully exuberant. His own age shows on the early Saves demo material that makes up the majority of Ups & Downs' second half -- the songs have a ragged, holy-crap-we're-a-band urgency. They also sound a lot like Green Day most of the time. A couple covers round out the set here, including "Clash City Rockers" and the Descendents. Check the rough mixing on the Clash tune -- it's, like, 7" quality at best, dude. Considering Saves the Day operates in a world where 7"s are largely extinct, the inclusion just makes Ups & Downs more visceral for fans. Now, what are you waiting for? Go out and start your own band.
Johnny Loftus, Rovi

Ah, good old Saves The Day. Although they've dropped off my radar since the highly disappointing In Reverie, I still put a copy of Through Being Cool in my player from time to time to reminisce about the good old days.

The band that is most known for being 'heavily influenced' by Lifetime has gone through many changes, and I was expecting this disc to chronologically play them, perhaps starting with a raw, quicker Saves The Day and ending up with the lighter, way-too-high-pitched band that is around today. And boy was I wrong about that.

The album introduces with the title track, as it were, "Ups and Downs." An easily found b-side from the Stay What You Are-era, the introduction guitar effect is quite addictive and I see no reason as to why this song wasn't on SWYA.

The next two tracks on the album are obvious standouts, even though they are simply tracks from Vagrant's Another Year On The Streets series. The pop punk singalongs "Sell My Old Clothes, I'm Off To Heaven" and "A Drag In D Flat" make you remember the days that it seemed Saves The Day could do no wrong. Quick and searing guitars, properly pitched and emotional vocals, and lyrics like "I'd love to be scattered to hell with you. To hell with you. To hell with you." are solid examples of Through Being Cool-era STD.

What happens next is surprising. I never really looked at the advance press sheets for this album, so when I heard the introduction of I'm Sorry I'm Leaving echoing through my speakers, I was a bit confused. Fast forwarding at first, I couldn't believe my ears; Vagrant had put the entire acoustic EP on this disc. Huh? An album that fans of the band will already have, or at least have heard, needs not to be on this. Subtracting the five songs of the EP and you still have a pretty strong 14 song album. Not to mention the sudden acoustic tracks interfere greatly with the listening ability of the album; going from power pop punk anthems that leave you begging for more and ending up with this is somewhat disappointing. Don't get me wrong; I do enjoy the EP, but it was a blaring mistake to even include it on this album, much less put it as songs 4-8.

Checking out the tracks of the rest of the disc, all the titles were new to me, so I just pushed play and hoped for the best. I was not disappointed. "The Art of Misplacing Firearms" starts off with a catchy guitar hook, and then jumps into quick beats and the great old sound I had been hoping for. Although lacking the staple ending of fist pumping that older Saves The Day was known for, it's a strong track.

From this point on, the album stays in the same formula. Really strong, older songs that were obviously done by a young band still needing some time to grow. "1:19" and "Dave Feels Right" have some great endings, which seperate them from the rest of the rather formulaic recording. This isn't to say the Saves The Day formula is a bad one; I grew up with it and so I have an appreciation for it. However, it's obvious that these tracks were left on the demo tapes for a reason; they just aren't strong enough to make it onto a 'great' album like Can't Slow Down or Through Being Cool.

"I Think I'll Quit" is an outstanding track that is followed by a rather odd, awkward rock song "Cheer" that I found pretty skippable. "Clash City Rockers" sounds like, well, Saves The Day covering the Clash. Good cover, but I don't think I would have put it at this point in the album. Again, another sign of bad mixing.

A live, full-band recording of "Jesse And My Whetstone" closes out the album. I haven't ever seen Saves The Day perform this song live, so it was interesting to hear. My biggest complaint is that it's not a song to close an album with; the tempo doesn't change, the vocals are too high and the song becomes weak after a few listens.

Overall this disc is a good listen for a fan of Saves The Day, especially if you're like me and miss the glory days from the band's stint on Equal Vision. The biggest downfall is the mix; putting the three best (and easiest to find) songs before an already-released and not-so-rare acoustic EP is a dumb decision. The tracks stuffed in the middle of the album are worth a listen, but it's nothing you need to go out and buy immediately. It seems like Vagrant is simply cashing in on a band that has proven to be nothing but disappointing to signing to said label. 

This is Saves the Days latest album out. It's basically a compilation of songs that were early recordings, b-sides, or songs that basically were good but were not put on their earlier cd's. (Does that make sense?) Me being the Saves the Day fan that I am (and too impatient to wait for Chips88 to do a review, I'm not too sure if he finished it or not because the search bar and other links were not working, had to pick it up myself and do it. Sorry Chips).

Pamphlet: The pamphlet inside had many pictures in it. Most which can be viewed on the Saves the Day site if you keep refreshing it. It also contained notes about each song. When it was written, why it was written, etc, etc. Cool tid bits of information about the band.

There were 19 songs on this album. A few of these songs were on earlier albums such as "Hold", "Jessie and My Whetstone", "Take Our Cars Now!", etc.

Saves the Day, from Princeton, New Jersey have been playing for over 10 years. They originally started playing together from around the eigth grade.

1. Ups and Downs - One of their slower more "emotional" songs. It's one of my personal favorites. It was one of the unfinished songs that couldn't make the deadline to be on the "Stay What You Are" album. Chris states: that he wrote the song on a 4 string guitar on a balconey outside, while everyone was eating Cheatos. To me it's like the song that shows how far Saves the Day has come along as a band.

2. Sell My Old Clothes, I'm off to Heaven - One of their more upbeat songs after they began finishing developing their sound. Nice lyrical hooks, and pretty good guitar work. Chris states: that he remembers writing the lyrics at a hall show in Connecticut, or some New England State, on the H20 tour when he was trying to kill time.

3. A Drag in D Flat - It starts off with a bass riff. Typical Saves the Day song. Amazing lyrics, and Chris's ability to phrase lyrics in such a catchy way in paragraph form constitutes some level of lyrical genius on his part. Vocals are on the better side of this album. Guitar work is pretty tight. Chris states: He wrote this song on a train ride back from New York to New Jersey.

4. I'm Sorry I'm Leaving - One of their more mellow acoustics. Lyrics meet the Saves the Day standards that Chris sets up. He's a bit whiny in this song. Guitar work is swell. Again, Chris's ability to make vocal melodies so catchy is amazing. Chris states: This was our first acoustic release which they recorded on his makeshift studio in his mother's basement.

5. Hold - One of my personally favorite acoustic songs on this album. It's a supposed "corny" love song, but the way Chris portrays his feelings through his lyrics is superb, and makes it unique from other love ballads. Guitar work is decent. Chris states: The song was just thrown together and I used to jokingly sing it to my friends, trying to make them laugh at my hokey made up love song. Bryan (Our old drummer) wanted to put it on the acoustic 7 inch, so I said, "what the hey" and that's how it got from me to you.

6. Jessie and My Whetstone - This is also another one of my favorite acoustic songs from this album. The intro entertwines with the vocals perfectly, forming an amazingly catchy introduction. Some of Chris's best. Chris states: Lyrics of this song were inspired by Joni Mitchell's album "blue."

7. Take Our Cars Now! - Supposedly one of their rare acoustic releases. The intro is a bit boring. The guitar work is decent. Chris states: This is one of the only songs in our catalogue with lyrics that aren't entirely made up. The song popped out after a New England road trip with some of my friends."

8. The Way His Collar Falls - Another acoustic song! The guitar work here isn't much to write home about. Chris's vocal work is decent. An alright guitar interlude. That sums it up. Chris states: My good friend Leif was in school way up North, and he was having a rough go of it in his early months at college, so I wrote a song for him.

9. The Art of Misplacing Firearms - An eerie guitar intro. I swear, the first time I heard this track, I thought it was Thursday. Drumming isn't that great. It has that repetitive bass snare syncopation. Same with the guitar work. A slow song, for the most part, then gets a fast punk like feel. Chris states: this was the last song to feature aggressive hardcore sensibility. I used to receive nasty phone calls in the middle of the night from Brazil, saying "you are the worst singer ever and your band sucks and you're ugly!" No lie.

10. East Cost - Another one of their old songs. Same old "hardcore/punk" type feel to it. Drums does a snare bass type of syncopation and the guitar's belching powerchords. A really short song. Chris states: The first song from the ancient Saves the Day demo and it is the very first Saves the Day song in history.
2/5 (for trying guys)

11. 1:19 - Another one of their old ancient type, up down beat drum syncopated, power chord thrashing songs. Vocals just sound like strained and whiny. Chris states: I remember playing this song when we were called Sefler in a baseball batting cage in Sayersville, NJ.

12. An Afternoon Laughing - Another one of their "punk" type songs. Drumming is very rigid updown beats. Guitar is just playing powerchords. Not much of the guitar play going on that Saves the Day is well known for. Only thing about this song is that the lyrics are absolutely amazing. Check them out sometime. Chris states: Back then in the days of Sefler, the only consistent shows we played were to our two friends in our practice space.

13. Dave Feels Right - Yeah. You guessed it. Another "punk" aggression type song. Not much else here. Lyrics are pretty good as always. Chris states: He wrote the song about his friend Dave who ditched the band for his girlfriend.

14. When It isn't Like it Should Be - A pretty catchy intro. Then it goes into yet another "punk/hardcore/whateverit'scalled" type of palm muted power chord striving up down beating syncopated songs. Where Chris is just sorta whining/ straining his vocals. Chris states: It is my absolute favorite song from our early history and is still one of my favorite songs I have ever written. We used to close every show with this song, and it would leave me feeling entirely drained.

15. 1959 - A thirty second song. Like their typical old stuff. Need I say more? Chris states: Here's the thirty second song that never made it onto the demo.

16. I Think I'll Quit - Typical old type Saves the Day song. If you like their Can't Slow Down album, you'll probably love this stuff. But I'm not much of a fan of it. Chris actually makes some weird sounds on this song. Anyways, Chris states: A song that you can really tell I sound like a kid.

17. Cheer - Semi catchy guitar intro. It's alright. It's supposedly a cover of a Descendants song. Not much stuff here. Chris states: That is was part of the Punk Rock Jukebox series in which hardcore bands covered old punk songs. But it never made the cut.

18. Clash City Rockers - It definitely doesn't have much of a modern Saves the Day sound. It's like a mix between some Weezer/Rise Against/Green day type of song. (If it sounds nothing like what I mentioned, I'm a bit tired right now.) It's an alright song. Chris states: The cover of a classic Clash song.

19. Jessie & My Whetstone (Live 2003) - It's pretty good. You can hear the audience cheering for them to do Jessie and they go crazy when he states that's what they're going to do. When Chris comes in for the intro, he sounds a bit weird though. But seems to correct himself afterwards. One of the catchy songs on the album. Some of their more modern stuff. Chris states: A recording from our tour with Taking Back Sunday, in the fall of 2003.

Good Points - It has basically all the stuff that you probably won't ever find anywhere else. It also has the best acoustic tracks they made. (But hey, those acoustics are probably on "I'm Sorry I'm Leaving" Anyways.)

Bad points - A lot of the songs on this album are either on other albums, such as "I'm Sorry I'm Leaving" or sound like the songs on "Can't Slow Down" with that more "punk" influenced beat. They don't have many nice songs that sound like stuff off their "Through Being Cool Album.")

Overall: 3/5

Should you get this album? Only if you like collecting their material, and like they're "Can't Slow Down" album. Other then that, you might want to stay away and by the "I'm Sorry I'm Leaving" album for the acoustics.

Saves The Day ‎– I'm Sorry I'm Leaving (1999)

There is nothing that can be put into type to describe how truly amazing this CD is. Saves the Day is one of the best bands around, and this is a glimpse at a side of the band that isn't visible on their LP's. No Crunchy riffs, no tight, loud drums, and no thudding bass. Just Acoustics, and the stripped down vocals of Chris. This CD is beautiful. The guitars sound so...real, and are very well played. Chris delivers an amazing vocal performace, he really pours his heart into every word. His words hang heavy in the air, and even though people have criticized, his voice isn't all that whinny, and even if it is, it's amazing. This CD is less than 15 minutes, but it's some of the best material this band has ever recorded. Every person should own this. This is what you listen to while going to sleep, and this is what you listen to when you've had a bad day and you just want to sit and be there. This is amazingly real and stripped down, emotional music. I'm not ashamed to say that this CD made me cry the first time I heard it, and it still does (yes, I am a guy, and I'm proud to admit I cry). Beautiful in every sense of the word, a must own for all music fans. .... Pay whatever, but buy this CD. It's what music is all about. 
A. Kohler
Amazon's Customer Reviews

Saves The Day ‎– Through Being Cool (1999)

A keystone of my musical tastes would most definitely have to include all of the discography from the mind of Christopher Conley. Saves the Day have always been the band I would fall back onto whether or not I had a bad day or just looking for something to jam out to while going for a drive on a spring evening. Despite my heavy bias towards the band, I want to try to look at their sophomore album, Through Being Cool, through the eyes of someone who has never heard of them.

I remember when I first picked up the album; it was the August of 2002. It was my first Saves the Day album and right from the start it was a love affair. "All-Star Me" kicks off the album and it's short and sweet, while getting straight to the point: it's a very accessible album that gives us insights into the life of Christopher Conley. Every song is a story, giving us a perfect musical Polaroid of what's going on. You can almost visualize the songs as they are happening because Chris uses brilliant imagery with, what was considered at the time of its release, some of the wittiest and most upfront lyrics of the time period. Even by today's standards, the album's lyrics are still arguably some of the best to come out in the last ten years.

The highlight of the album is mainly the whole collection. Everyone will have their favorites, and to name highlights of it would seem foolish when in the end it is all a matter of which songs connect with you or just leave you with a smile. From a perspective of a reviewer though, the album did take some time to grow on me. There were those tracks that immediately got replayed after hearing them, but some of the tracks like "Third Engine" take some time to grow on you. But when these songs do grow on you, like a hook, they sink in deep and pull you along. The album ends with "Banned from the Backporch" which I feel goes in line with Saves the Day's ability to close an album on a very high note and give you the feeling of being complete.

I feel that the production of the album is very well done for the time period and it actually sort of gives it a nostalgic feel. You can tell the album wasn't recorded anytime in the past 7 years, but in that it gives the album its own feel and gives the vibe of a scrapbook to me. As I mentioned earlier, the songs are like Polaroids and that fits with this "scrapbook" of an album.

Time has treated the album well and the songs still hold up as much today as they did when they were first released. Chris' vocals are right on and just encompass the emotion behind each story. It is still one of my favorite albums to throw on and jam out to whether its on a spring afternoon walk or a late night summer drive.

For fans of the Saves the Day, this will be a staple in your collection as it will undoubtedly be a favorite of their catalog. For those who haven't given them a listen, it's a great album to start out with. Even though Saves the Day changes their line-up and their style with each album, the words behind it all are still coming from the same man, and this album is one of his finer works.
Saves The Day

The first Saves the Day record, Can't Slow Down sounded an awful lot like Lifetime. Most critics would use that in a derogatory manner. But I'm not a critic. I'm a fan. Lifetime is one of the greatest hardcore or punk or whatever bands to grace this planet. So I'm biased. For me to say something sounds like Lifetime is a high compliment. However (you knew it was coming), you're not going to make a name for yourself by trying to sound like a scene defining band. So while I found Can't Slow Down listenable, it quickly ended up in a drawer on my desk. It followed the Lifetime formula too closely, and that's no fun. I want surprises, after all.
Thankfully, with Through Being Cool, the band has nearly found themselves. It's still a little derivative. One of the better tracks, Rocks Tonic Juice Magic sounds almost identical to Samiam's track, Capsized from their Clumsy album. However, the rest of the album seems to be more in line with where I hope to see the band moving in the next while.
It's good, simple pop-punk, with some hard edges, and, to their credit, they don't sound like anything on Fat, which is a hard thing for a pop-punk band to do.
This isn't a mediocre album. It's actually a very good one, but mostly because it shows the potential and talent that will hopefully make Saves the Day into a classic to rival their idols.

Review Summary: A Definitive Point in Saves the Day's Career.
4 of 4 thought this review was well written

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.

All-Star Me - 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)

You Vandal - 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)

Third Engine - 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.

Possessing a fiery dynamism lacking in their debut Can't Slow Down, Saves the Day's sophomore release on Equal Vision is an emocore classic. More anxious than emo godfathers Get Up Kids, Saves the Day opted for punchier production and faster tempos to provide a backdrop for singer Chris Conley's romantic teen declarations. True to the genre Conley helped define, his lyrics walk a thin sentimental wire. Just when the stories lose balance, leaning toward the obvious, sappy, or both, Conley pulls it together with plain-spoken honesty, as in "Third Engine" when he describes seeing his long-distance love in the face of another girl while riding a train: "I looked out past her cheeks/Through the glass-light conduit/But the sun had sank already/Disappeared into New Jersey/Oh, why don't they have phones on these things." Conley's disclosures resonate wildly with his teen audience - validating their shallow, but still open wounds - while the band's tightly wound arrangements gyrate around his language of casual suffering. Highlights of this most elevated combination include the melodic, quick-paced "My Sweet Fracture" and "The Last I Told You." Ending Through Being Cool with the metallic "Banned From the Back Porch," Saves the Day toys with expectation, revealing an eagerness to explore outside the emocore form that is all but mastered on this 1999 release.
Vincent Jeffries

It's 2011, but you wouldn't know that from some of the tours going on recently. Pete Yorn and Ben Kweller? Coheed and Cambria? Are you sure it's 2011? Also on that list of bands who were huge when I was in high school is Saves the Day. They've got a forthcoming album (Daybreak, due out this fall) and a summer tour with the Get Up Kids (themselves on the tail end of a reunion/new album tour). And yet, common reactions to this news are either "Who?" or "Wait, they're still together?".

They are still together, they did write a new album, and yes, it is really 2011. Saves the Day is still going strong, but it's no secret that their fan base loves the classics. Around the time controversial album In Reverie was released (2003), many die-hard STD fans crawled into the back catalogue and never came out. But it being 2011 and all, perhaps it's been a while since you spun some classic STD on a sunny afternoon. I'd like to nominate 1999 release Through Being Cool for your next trip down memory lane.

While most fans need no introduction to this record, it's worth revisiting for many reasons. Its tracklist is a veritable master course on the band: "Shoulder to the Wheel", "Rocks Tonic Juice Magic", "Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots", and "Third Engine" to name just a few. These tracks (the first two in particular) have aged so well that they haven't really aged at all; they sound just as vital 12 years down the road as they did pre-cell phones and September 11th. Maybe that's partially because the idea of the road trip is an iconic part of American culture:

"We drive/Dave steps on the gas/The world that's flying by is slick and smooth/Big waves of light/the radio's playing Queen/And we're rocking out" –from "Shoulder to the Wheel"

"Rocks Tonic Juice Magic" also boasts one of lead singer Chris Conley's earlier forays into lyrical self-mortification. Starting with a now-iconic image ("Let me take this awkward saw/run it across your thighs"), the lyrics concern eyeball removal and the offering of the protagonist's heart to step on, both literally and figuratively. "I'd buy you lemonade right now if you were here/then I'd throw it in your face/and I'd listen to you cry," Conley wails, heartbroken in every sense of the word.

Other prime breakup material on this album includes "My Sweet Fracture" ("Could you tell me the next time that you're choking/I'll run right over to shove some dirt right down your throat") and "You Vandal" ("I woke up to my cold sheets and the smell of New Jersey/… my ribs have parted ways/said ‘we're not going to protect this heart you have'").

The songs still burn with all the sincerity of emotion Conley penned into them a dozen years ago, partly due to the tart sting of the lyrics but also due to skillful instrumentation. Judicious use of electric guitar and an aggressive percussion section remind the listener that STD shows were once not as acoustic as they are now. The intro to "Shoulder to the Wheel" and all of "Banned From the Back Porch" burn with the punk-rock intensity of this energy. "Banned" in particular rocks pretty hard, the kind of song that makes kids of any generation thrash a little harder in the mosh pit.

Alternative Press put Through Being Cool on their 1999 list of most influential albums; to that accolade we might also add that it was the most influential album of Saves the Day's career. Their follow-up, Stay What You Are, is equally popular and contains a similar number of notable singles, but Through Being Cool is the one that established Saves the Day as a force on the music scene while supplying them with setlist material for the rest of their career. Brush the dust off this puppy, and believe again in the magic that was cruising with the windows rolled down and the music turned up, "Shoulder to the Wheel" blasting on your stereo, circa 1999.
Megan Ritt

Saves The Day ‎– Can't Slow Down (1998)

Can't Slow Down documents the origins of a very young punk band blessed with unusual talent. Due only to their instrumental superiority, Saves the Day's subsequent releases slightly eclipse this 1998 full-length debut. Listeners will probably prefer Through Being Cool's more developed emocore melodicism and highly evolved arrangements. That's not to say that Can't Slow Down fails to deliver any of the pop-punk components that emo fans would expect from the New Jersey musicians. Most notably, vocalist and songwriter Chris Conley's inventive lyrical approach is up to the high standard of later material. Worded like journal entries and love letters, Conley's refreshing verses are free of clichйs and predictable rhymes, giving an honesty and definition to his work that similar artists generally can't match. Things really click on better cuts like "Always Ten Feet Tall," but for the most part, Can't Slow Down doesn't quite deliver the musicality that fans of Saves the Day might expect. ~ Vincent Jeffries Former Members Of Mouthpiece Saves The Day: Chris Conley (vocals); Anthony Anastacio, Justin Gaylord (Guitar); Sean McGrath (bass); Bryan Newman (drums).

WOW... This is the record that got me hooked on these guys. I had always enjoyed the bands on Equal Vision so one day while i was just looking around for nothing in particular i ran in to this cd. At first i just passed it off assuming it was some shitty mainstream rock band (as most are in this record store) since i had never heard fo them (and i dont think ANYONE had). But then as i looked at the back i saw that they were on Equal Vision so I thought what the hell? and i bought it. As soon as i got home i put it in the CD player and was very suprised at what i heard. Not a heavy-hardcore band like i had suspected (considering the Equal Vision label on the back) but what i heard was a nice melodic-hardcore band which reminded me so much of Lifetime. The main difference between Saves the Day and Lifetime is the vocals. Though both Ari (Lifetime) and Chris (Saves the Day) are very into the songs, Chris's voice is much softer and not as rough as Ari's therefore it doesn't seem like he is "scringing" (thats my word for scream singing) but if you ever get to see these guys live you'll see how into it he really gets. Well enough about who they sound like on to the songs!

The album starts off with a heavy guitar that is quickly followed by a fast paced high pitched riff, then the drums come in and then the singing. This is a fast melodic hardcore song that is very Lifetimeish. The next song which is also featured on the "East Coast Hardcore Vs. West Coast Hardcore" compilation is called "The Choke". It is much slower than the first track but is a fast paced song which breaks down near the end. Up next is "Handsome Boy", a very short but sweet song about Chris wishing he looked like someone else. "Blindfolded" is the next song to play and it kind of reminds me of track 2 "The Choke" mixed with the first song "Deciding". This song is one of my favourites. It is constantly going back and forth between fast drum beats and slower drums beats all held together by smooth guitar riffs. Very catchy. The next song is "Collision" and it is my favourite on the album. It is by far the fastest one therefore making it the favourite of many people who are into faster stuff like Good Riddance and NOFX. The reason it is my favourite is #1 i enjoy faster music and #2 the guitar work on this song is excellent, mixing fast and furious with lighter poppier stuff. Now from one extreme to the next, "Three Miles Down" is an acoustic song with just a guitar and Chris singing. this is a very good song. I'm suprised this wasn't the last track however i guess it was a little short at only 1:36. Next is a song that is more in the style of those found on "Through Being Cool". I dont like the music as much on this one but Chris's vocals make up for that and more. He is an excellent singer who can take this song which has a rather weak backbone of music and turn it into a very good one. "Nebraska Bricks" is next up. This song is another fast paced dandy. The song is about having problems with you're family and wanted to just get away from it all by using music. "cuz after call that happens in a dissolving family the need for a song to sing me to sleep still rings true" says it all for that song. Track 9 is titled "Seeing It This Way". This is another song that reminds me of Lifetime once more. Number ten on this disc is called "Hot Time In Delaware" this song is alright but it isn't one that stands out on the album. Next is a song that begins the best chunk of the record. #11 titled "Houses And Billboards" is an amazing song. It starts out fast and upbeat then slowly gets slower and slower until there is just a guitar and the odd sound of a snare drum here and there. The next track "Obsolete" is another one of my favourites. It is once more a fast song. This time in the middle of the song everything cuts out but the guitar and Chris's vocals [my fav. part:)] then everything comes back in and it finishes as fast as it started."Sometimes, New Jersey" is the 2nd last song and the shortest. First few times around this was my favourite song. The las song is genius. "Jodie" mixes the sounds of guitars tuned down to drop d with the normal Saves the Day riffs. This is the longest song on the cd at 4:36.

And there you have it. I highly recommend this album to anyone who is a fan of punk, emo, and hardcore. Even if you hate Saves the Day I think you may like this album and hey..who's gonna know you were listening to them?

OK, I think thats enough info for you kiddies so i guess ill go do something useful with my time, no i won't.

Review Summary: "Don't leave yet, it's still early and I haven't even said a word."

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Time is both a band's best friend and worst enemy. A countless number of artists have struck gold early on in their careers, releasing classic albums that increase in merit and influence over time while fans watch the artists fade into irrelevance, struggling to cling on to what fame they have left. It's kind of sad, really, to see bands that were once making heartfelt music now grasping at straws, forcing their creative juices to recirculate, when the passion is no longer there. They resort to booking reunion and anniversary tours, reissuing albums, and making attempts at a stylistic return to form, when, in reality, nothing will ever help them live up to the gigantic expectations created by a classic debut or sophomore release. While Saves the Day have possibly overstayed their welcome and do exemplify this cycle to a degree, they have generally withstood the test of time, maintaining a dedicated fanbase and remaining as a reputable and highly influential pop punk band. So hey, let's cut them a break (and pretend that Daybreak and Under the Boards don't exist), because after all, the New Jersey legends released not one, not two, but three classic albums early on in their career, the first of which being Can't Slow Down.

So it's no secret (and certainly no surprise) that Saves the Day worshipped their New Jersey brethren in Lifetime, and no album in their discography makes it more obvious than Can't Slow Down. From the barrage of power chords, melodic guitar leads, bouncing bass lines and rapid punk drum beats to Chris Conley's oscillating shout (that is nearly identical to Ari Katz' urgent yet sinfully catchy vocal delivery), the young, soon-to-be pop punk vets mirrored Lifetime in almost every aspect. Needless to say, the resulting fourteen track album is a relentlessly catchy, thirty minute sing-along that showcases Saves the Day before they found their true identity.

Now, the question is, does the album's striking similarities to Lifetime make Can't Slow Down any less enjoyable, or for that matter, any less of a pop punk classic? Absolutely not. However, a listener's connection with the album may not be instantaneous. At first, fourteen tracks may be a bit overwhelming, especially considering the similarities between them, with the exception of fan-favorite acoustic track, "Three Miles Down." Though no two tracks on the album differ drastically, they are almost all littered with little ear-catching moments to quickly help you differentiate one song from another, whether it be "The Choke's" unforgettable outro, the melancholic, cathartic build up in "Always Ten Feet Tall," or the gang vocals in "Handsome Boy." These obvious, instantly memorable moments will be the ones that suck the listener in on the first few spins of the record, but with each listen it becomes more apparent that almost every moment on the album is memorable. In no time at all, a few catchy stand out tracks turn into one cohesive, inseparable thirty minute ride just begging to be recited word for word.

While Can't Slow Down is undeniably a classic album, it is not without its flaws. In addition to the somewhat repetitive and limited nature of the tracks, one of the more glaring issues is with Conley's lyrics, which are strong overall but at times make little to no sense. For the sake of maintaining a concise, catchy, and quick vocal delivery, he will often rearrange a line to an almost nonsensical point. Take "Seeing It This Way" for example, in which one of the lines reads, "With all this complicated can't get past the thought of thinking, wonder whether hope or understanding rings truer." Personally, I can't help but laugh to myself each time I hear Conley recall how he "breathed in water smells" down at "some boating dock." Can't Slow Down is not the only Saves the Day album to feature awkwardly phrased lyrics (see the mantra in "Firefly" off Stay What You Are), but it is safe to say that the sheer catchiness and overall content of the lyrics makes up for any questionable word choices or omissions.

Considering everything that Saves the Day have accomplished over the course of an 18-year career, Can't Slow Down is still undoubtedly a staple of their discography, and any fan of the band or genre overlooking this phenomenal debut is doing himself a disservice. This album represents the glory days of pop punk before stagnation, when bands like Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, and The Get Up Kids were all doing radically different things for the genre, for all the right reasons. Although this isn't Saves the Day's self-definitive magnum opus, Can't Slow Down should be regarded as the exciting beginning of a band who went on to change pop punk as we know it and leave a lasting impression on many bands to come.
Mary Paultese 

Can't Slow Down documents the origins of a very young punk band blessed with unusual talent. Due only to their instrumental superiority, Saves the Day's subsequent releases slightly eclipse this 1998 full-length debut. Listeners will probably prefer Through Being Cool's more developed emocore melodicism and highly evolved arrangements. That's not to say that Can't Slow Down fails to deliver any of the pop-punk components that emo fans would expect from the New Jersey musicians. Most notably, vocalist and songwriter Chris Conley's inventive lyrical approach is up to the high standard of later material. Worded like journal entries and love letters, Conley's refreshing verses are free of clichés and predictable rhymes, giving an honesty and definition to his work that similar artists generally can't match. Things really click on better cuts like "Always Ten Feet Tall," but for the most part, Can't Slow Down doesn't quite deliver the musicality that fans of Saves the Day might expect.
Vincent Jeffries

Saves The Day ‎– Can't Slow Down (1998) 320kbps