Saves the Day - Stay What You Are
Record Label: Vagrant
Release Date: July 10, 2001
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.
He didn't really compare them to Fall Out Boy. He said that if the world was just, Saves the Day would have become as famous as Fall Out Boy.
I don't think of them as similar bands, but if played their songs to most people (not much of the AP crowd) they'd probably say the two groups sound very similar in the grand scheme of things. I used Fall Out Boy to illustrate an idea and for those a who are in need of something more familiar or currently relevant as a reference point.
hmm... I was just wearing my Saves the Day shirt yesterday and was summing up all the times I've ever heard them on the radio... NONE. WTF Through Being Cool is a top 5 favorite album ever for me. This band rocks. This album does too.
Honestly, this album took a while to grow on me. I've had it on repeat for the past couple days, and I can't get enough of it now. Firefly is my favorite track. Um I'm not sure I agree with your RIYL though, but nonetheless, great review!