If one were to go to The 1511 (the local hardcore house, located in south Broad Ripple) for a show, one would see plenty of black t-shirts, dodge plenty of stage dives and have to deal with plenty of macho attitudes. One might even brush up against a few pairs of mesh shorts, depending on how packed the basement was. But would one suspect that deep beneath those abyss-black Converge shirts were warm hearts, softened by ten years of Saves The Day? Probably not.
Ten years is a long time, especially for something that seems like just yesterday, but that's how long ago New Jersey pop-punk act Saves The Day released their influential album,Through Being Cool. Not only was it their best album, but it was an important album for the 1990's and, subsequently, modern rock in general (woah). The melodic hardcore masterpiece was both a battle cry for independent punk music as well as a swan song.
- Aren't they cute?
The music itself is a perfect blend of chugging guitars and fast drums with infectious vocal melodies and solid pop songwriting. Lead singer Chris Conley’s youthful vocals were a departure from the rough, aggressive stylings associated with hardcore. Each song spun a tale of adolescent rejection, discovery and recklessness to the tune of well-crafted punk rock. It was “emo” before “emo” was a dirty word... and before it was so marketable. It was something to which the youth of the punk ghetto in America could relate. Everything about the album fit perfectly with the sentiments of their demographic. It simply clicked.
Five albums later, the band is still moving records and selling tickets, yet they have failed to hold a musical mirror up to the dejected youth of America as they did with TBC. Their influence, however, is still felt far and wide. Any number of local hardcore and punk bands can cite them as an influence, whether or not you can hear it in their music. Most notably, up-and-coming North West Indiana band Grown Ups seem to be wearing Saves The Day on their sleeves (as well as The Get Up Kids and Sunny Day Real Estate) to great success.
So, if you listened to TBC when you were younger, dust off your old Napster files and give the album another listen. If you’ve managed to avoid it all together, it’s never too late to feel the joyful sting of youth embedded in its twelve glorious tracks.
My favorite track, in YouTube slideshow format: "Banned From The Back Porch"