In the Spirit of the Holiday

I have a slightly more pessimistic (depending on your perspective) post in the pipeline, but who wants to be a downer, or a realist, or a skeptic, or whatever, 365 days a year? Well, I sort of want to be that skeptic, but that still leaves me with a quarter of a day for a break each year, and a full day off every 4 years. Let’s consider right now to be part of that time.

Alright, so Thanksgiving is in… *checks clock*… an hour ago, and however you feel about the history of the United States of America, it’s a nice break from normal responsibilities. So much so that, whatever our diets, we stuff our faces and spend money. (And there’s another conversation to be had over the pros and cons of consumerism, but I’ll hold off on commenting. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments and I’ll be more than happy to respond.) Anyway, to get in the mood of family, friends and food, why not listen to some music.

One of my favorite bands since I was 14 is Saves the Day. They’re a weird band to describe. Some people have lost interest and criticized their more recent releases, and have moved on from their earlier ones. I still love almost every song they’ve ever released. I fully realize that my perception of their music is biased to favor it, whatever it sounds like, and I accept that. But to my hears, Saves the Day is amazing. One of my favorite albums of theirs came out 12 years ago, and it’s still one of my favorites. Their first full length came out in 1998. It’s still rad.

Here’s a brief overview of their musical lives.

You Vandal (1999). I was a wee little kid when I first heard this song and album. I instantly fell in love with it. It was people like me – weird, lonely kids – making music that was fun to dance to and angst-y and angry and longing. That was me. I loved the lyrics, the straight forward rock/punk/pop made with no budget just because they loved music. Sign me up.

In Reverie (2003). Fast-forward four years. Emo has hit a bit of a boon. Blink 182 and New Found Glory start the pop-punk craze in earnest (thanks in part to Green Day years before), then come Dashboard Confessional, Bright Eyes, Yellowcard, and the like. Saves the Day gets a bit of attention from their 2001 album, Stay What You Are (a genius album). So they follow it up with a ridiculous departure from that sound. Chris completely changes his vocal delivery. It doesn’t sell very well, but I loved it. Still do. The years have changed the consensus on this album. When it first came out, the emo/rock/indie/whatever scene did not like this album. I remember reading an interview in which Chris specifies that Saves the Day wrote and recorded the entire album before it was picked up by Dreamworks, because people thought Saves the Day sold out and tried to write a commercial rock record (which is ridiculous if you listen to the album. Nothing that sells well sounds much of anything like In Reverie.)

Z (2011). After a fear year break between albums during which band members came and went, Daybreak came out. I fucking loved Daybreak. (The vocal delivery changed yet again.) The first track is 10 minutes long, with five separate parts sampling all sorts of sounds from their past and experimenting with new styles. The whole album is a bit of a departure again. Their previous two albums experimented a little but were much angrier and faster. (they’re good albums in their own right but I’m already writing way too much about a single band and I know almost no one will get this far as is. If you do get this far, congrats. You get a prize. I don’t know what the prize is but if you have any suggestions, feel free. I’m open.)

Stand in the Stars (2013). This is one of my favorite Saves the Day songs ever. That statement is remarkable to me when this band has been together for almost 20 years. Few bands stay around this long, and few put out good music for close to this long. I love so much about this song, but technically, I think it’s just a perfectly put together song. Its structure is perfect. The music is relatively simple but amazingly catchy and enduring. There is almost no break in the singing, which is strange. There’s little room to breathe in that respect but the repetitive, but sweet, music provides a nice backdrop to consume the relentless singing. It’s about 2 minutes into the song before the singing takes a break and the guitar comes in with a charming solo. The cadence of the singing is so fun that it’s difficult not to hum along.



One things I’ve grown to appreciate more as I’ve gotten older is song writing. I used to love music but didn’t pay much attention to how it was constructed. I knew I didn’t like overly repetitive choruses or music, but beyond that, I didn’t care. What Saves the Day and Tim Kasher (and especially the Beatles if you want possibly the best example) got better and better at is writing fundamentally strong songs. Listening to The Game of Monogamy by Tim Kasher, almost every song is perfectly made. There’s enough creativity and exploration to keep songs interesting and new, but a great understanding in how to build a song. How long to hold an idea and how to keep one going while changing the delivery throughout the song.

Anyway…. Almost a thousand words on a band.

I bet I’m going to get upwards of 2000 likes on this post. haha

If you made it to the end, I owe you something.

In the Spirit of the Holiday

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