Saturday, January 2, 2016

Saves the Day: Stay What You Are [2001] — Album Review

Chris Conley: Vocals
Vocal Era: Stay What You Are
Dave Soloway: Guitar
Eben D’Amico: Bass
Ted Alexander: Guitar
Bryan Newman: Drums
Produced by Rob Schnapf

1. At Your Funeral – 3:09
2. See You – 2:09
3. Cars & Calories – 2:45
4. Certain Tragedy – 2:27
5. Jukebox Breakdown – 3:04
6. Freakish – 3:46
7. As Your Ghost Takes Flight – 2:25
8. Nightingale – 3:37
9. All I'm Losing is Me – 3:22
10. This is Not an Exit – 3:55
11. Firefly – 2:51
Total Runtime: 33:30

By far my favorite Saves the Day album, Stay What You Are was the commercial high point of Saves the Day's career.
Stay What You Are's lead single, "At Your Funeral" is a step away from Through Being Cool's heavy-handed guitar work, like on "Banned from the Back Porch". It starts out with some piano chords and Conley softly singing those famous words: "This song will become the anthem of your underground/You're two floors down getting high in the back room". Then the guitars come in and it hits the summit of Mount Awesome (I don't think I'll ever be that cheesy again).
Riding high off of "At Your Funeral", "See You" bursts in stating "My gut is burning/Won't you find me some water?/Hey just forget it can you bring me gasoline". Conley starts flexing his catchy pop-punk tune with dark undertones writing muscles here.
The second single from SWYA, "Freakish" features Conley on piano and singing. It's a step on the brake pedal from "Jukebox Breakdown", but not in a bad way, I just literally mean that the tempo is quite a bit slower. "Freakish" brings to the table a new StD style. The slower, calmer Saves the Day (this pops up a lot more on In Reverie and Daybreak). And I like it.
Switching gears again, "As Your Ghost Takes Flight" returns to the guitar-driven pop-punk Saves the Day are best at. The really dark lyrics are just Conley's specialty.
"Nightingale" is my favorite Saves the Day song. Not just on SWYA. Like, of all. Newman's perfect drums, Soloway and Alexander's perfect guitars, D'Amico's perfect bass, and Conley's perfect vocals and lyrics. I have this to say to Saves the Day, concerning this song: "And I hope, your majesty, that you like your position/I'll do everything I can to keep you by my side".
"Firefly" is the b-side on the Freakish single, and I think that goes well. That's beside the point, and I'll review the Freakish single sometime later, (even though there's not much of a point since the b-side is on here, it has a BBC sessions recording of "Certain Tragedy") but I figured I'd mention it. This is a great song to end on—"Firefly" is Stay What You Are's "Banned from the Back Porch".
I wish I could just give SWYA a perfect 10. Stay What You Are is definitely the best Saves the Day album in my opinion, and this review was probably a bit biased because of that, but that's kind of a given. Stay What You Are was covered in its entirety by The Holophonics, and I'll probably get around to reviewing that butchering someday, but for now, we've got the rest of More Reviews January to go through.

At Your Funeral: 10/10
See You: 9/10
Cars & Calories: 7/10
Certain Tragedy: 8/10
Jukebox Breakdown: 8/10
Freakish: 7/10
As Your Ghost Takes Flight: 8/10
Nightingale: 10/10
All I'm Losing is Me: 8/10
This is Not an Exit: 8/10
Firefly: 9/10

Subtotal: 92/110
Bonus Points:
Killer Choruses: +2
Total: 94/110
Score: 8.5 Excellent

Genres: Pop-punk, Emo, Alternative

Yesterday's Review: Unravelling by We Were Promised Jetpacks
Next Review: Drop Out of Life by This Time Next Year
Next Saves the Day Review: At Your Funeral [Single]

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