Records u may have slept on: SAVES THE DAY “Thru Being Cool”

std through being cool

Note the conspicuous lack of tattoos– u see, in the 90s u didn’t get sleeves and neck tats at 17 to jumpstart ur career in the pop-punk industry

I know what ur thinking: “dude everybody knows about SAVES THE DAY water u talking about.” And while everybody knows their name, I don’t hear nearly enough kids talking about this album for not only being a true classic in every sense of the word, but for essentially creating the template for troo pop-punk/crewneckcore. U heard it here first: without SAVES THE DAY there would be no TSSF! *horrified face emoji*

When this record came out in 1999, it was instantly everybody’s favorite album regardless of what genre they were into. Moshers, emo kids, punx, indie jerks, you name it… if you were in the scene, you loved “Through Being Cool,” period. And for good reason: it’s fucking awesome. There’s not a bad song on the album, which is rare in any genre and absolutely unheard of for a band that was made up of a bunch of 19 year-old hardcore kids from New Jersey. The songwriting is god-tier, and the production is just as great (courtesy of the legendary Steve Evetts, who’s worked with everybody from SYMPHONY X to THE CURE to SUISIDE SILENCE).

The original ‘going on a roadtrip with ur buds and learning a lot about urselves along the way and telling ur parents not to worry bc you’re having the time of ur lives’ pop-punk song (see also “Another Song About The Weekend“). IMO this is one of the best pop-punk tropes and u have them to thank for it!!

It sounds super corny to say, but no other album has captured the vibe of being an 18-20 year old hardcore kid better than this album. Like Tay-Tay said, “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time.” When you basically have no fucking clue what to do with yourself or your life, so you just spend your time hanging out with your derpy friends listening to records and hoping that everything will be OK. And of course, traveling to random shows in random places because hey, why not? DOC HOPPER and DISCORDANCE AXIS are playing in Pittsburgh in 3 hours? Cool, let’s go– we don’t know where the venue is but whatever, we’ll just look for kids with hardcore shirts on the street and ask them and it’ll work out (that is a real show I went to btw, and that’s how we found the directions to an ABNEGATION show once in 1997). WE WERE SO CAREFREE AND LIEF WAS SO SIMPLE ;_;

You just cannot fuck with the melody in the intro to “Holly Hox Forget Me Not.” Most bands will never write a single riff this good in their entire careers.

Musically, this album was the first I can think of that successfully rode the same line between hardcore, pop-punk and emo that became troo pop-punk/crewneckcore/tumblrcore (well, I guess there was LIFETIME but they weren’t very good any nobody outside of the tristate area gave half a fuck about them). TSSF, MAN OVERBOARD, MAJOR LEAGUE, REAL FRIENDS, etc are very clearly drawing from the same well as “Through Being Cool” whether they know it or not. The minor key melodies, the pseudo-breakdowns, the punk beats, the ‘preteen braying donkey’ vocals… it’s all there! Oh, and wistful, bittersweet lyrics that would look perfect in handwriting font over a vintage-filtered picture of a forest (except we didn’t have digital cameras back then so if you wanted a picture of something you had to talk whoever the ‘chubby girl with low self-esteem and a messenger bag that takes pictures’ was in your scene into doing it).

feel like the title of this song (“Do You Know What I Love The Most?”) would make a really good tumblr url

Much like the cover art, this whole album just sums up mid/late 90s midwest/east coast hardcore perfectly, and listening to it is a little painful because it instantly takes me right back to that time– the “Victory Records/Krishnacore Time Machine” if u will. Crushing on some 5.5/10 emo girl who lives 3 states away (WRITING LETTERS TO HER because this is before widespread internetting) and moping around because you can’t be with ur soulmate, wearing big chunky New Balances with argyle socks, being a skinny little twerp who feels socially awkward and out of place the second u step outside of your bedroom, and ur entire life revolving around hardcore. GETTIN CHOKED UP RN BY ALL THESE 90S HC FEELS

And while I think most Kids These Days know the name SAVES THE DAY, and maybe a few of their newer songs, I don’t think this particular record gets the shine it deserves as not only a fucking incredible piece of music, but the template for the 2013 version of ‘pop punk.’ If u want to be a REAL 90s hc kid then u need to put on a forest green SHELTER tee and jam this album 24/7, because that’s definitely what was happening in 1999 and for good reason: “Through Being Cool” is a certified classic, and if you aren’t about it then u blew it!

bony knees

About Sergeant D

I was like yeah ok whatever
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70 Responses to Records u may have slept on: SAVES THE DAY “Thru Being Cool”

  1. John says:

    Very accurate post and a nice Another Song About The Weekend reference

    I love this album.

  2. Anonymous says:

    classic album <3
    Love the first three Saves the Day records, and I even saw them back in October. They played a lot of old stuff so the show was super fucking fun. Btw, Chris is adorable when he's angry – he's just the least intimidating guy ever so when he yells you can't help but go "D'AAAWWWWW" when he starts yelling at people in the crowd that are being assholes.

  3. TLDR says:

    Fucking amazing post, single_tear worthy (srs). This album is so ridiculously catchy that I previewed every song linked expecting to have my memory refreshed briefly and HAD to finish the entire song, each time.

    It is truly mind blowing how the best music ever is usually written by 19 year olds, give or take. This record, along with A Life Less Plagued, is one of the few I think of right off the top of my head when considering this and wondering how someone could create something this good this young.

    Nostalgia overload here.

    RE lifetime: sooooo glad someone else can agree they were mad overrated, but to be fair “Can’t Slow Down” is functionally a lifetime ripoff. tr00 hxc kids have been flabberghasted for years when I tell them Through Being Cool is THE definitive Saves the Day record and I do not care for Cant Slow Down, Lifetime is invariably and immediately brought up, and my reply as usual is that I just don’t like Lifetime so it makes sense I would not like Cant Slow Down.

    Fuck your blog is therapeutic sometimes

    • Sergeant D says:

      wondering how someone could create something this good this young

      well to be fair, you’re talking about Chris Conley and Todd Jones, who are two of the most phenomenally talented hc/punk/whatever songwriters of the generation. those guys are on another level compared to mere mortals and did stuff at 19 that was better than anything we will do in our entire lives because thats just how fucking good they are.

      • TLDR says:

        Well thats true, but how often are seminal songwriters over even like 22, let alone 25?

        Gorilla Biscuits were around that 18 year old age too and they invented a formula lol. Or remember your post about how asking alexandria invented their style of deathcore at like 16?

        • VyceVictus says:

          Intersting observation. Does seem to be the case for that youth bracket intertwined with talented musicians and progress/revolutions. Everybody from Beatles, Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan, Metallica to Nas and Biggie were all around 17-22 when they made their first impacts. Of course yeah others hit it big older like Chuck berry or The Ramones, but generally seems to skew younger.

        • djw69 says:

          teenagers aren’t working 40hrs/wk at a mid-level office job so they still have enough life in them to want to create something interesting

    • White Knight of Pedestalia says:

      I have a theory about this. At 19, you’re young enough to still have that adolescent “fuck you, fuck this” outlook on the world that drives great songwriting but you’re also old enough to know your worst teenage indulgences suck.

  4. TLDR says:

    And srs doe I would expect to hear Saves the Day covers fucking constantly from modern tr00 pop punk bands, to the point that it is a trope/stereotype, how is this not happening?

    • Sergeant D says:

      right?? it’s baffling. they think that Disembodied or Jawbreaker were like huge, popular bands and are only dimly aware of Saves The Day and Snapcase lol

      • John says:

        You should include TWY in the list of bands influenced by this record. There’s definitely some emulation of it here and there on Suburbia.

    • 3rdgrace says:

      i think that saves the days influence on modern tr00 pop punk bands has come through other bands and std is considered more to be in the school of 00′s emo like taking back sunday and armor for sleep. and i’m pretty sure – and even though it sounds funny as fuck – 00′s emo revival/mcr-core and tr00 pop punk will really not collide and std will still not get their respect from tr00 pop punk circles. tr00 pop punk has probably evolved more intro tr00 emo anyways, so 00′s emo revival will probs be considered posers or smth.

  5. TLDR says:

    As if I hadn’t posted enough already, I just have to comment on how spot on you are about this particular record being unifying. One of the most annoying things about being a hardcore kid was/is the constant bickering about what to listen to, or what is good, but if say you had some girls with you in the volvo station wagon with band stickers all over it on your way to the Bane show or whatever kind of band females might voluntarily attend, you could put this record on and temporarily shut everyone up because it made them all happy and it was just a good listen.

  6. Ben says:

    Dead @

    “moping around because you can’t be with ur soulmate, wearing big chunky New Balances with argyle socks”

    True story.

  7. Autodidact says:

    This album is so old that it also inspired FALL OUT BOY when they were recording Take This To Your Grave.

    Never got on the Saves the Day bandwagon even when they came out with “At Your Funeral.” Idk man, I guess I was too late for Saves the Day and I was listening to Blink and entry-level metal at the time.

  8. Coffeemug says:

    I was a couple of years late on this record, probably got it around 2003, but it has been in more or less regular rotation since then. I can not grow tired of it, it sounds fresh every time I put it on, due to what Sarge spot on described as god-tier songwriting.
    Holly Hox is as good as music gets IMO.

    • hgsg says:

      Holly Hox is def my favorite on here, which is saying a lot bc each song on there is so great. I imagine them winning the Battle of the Bands at their HS w/ that one

  9. nu♘♘tej says:

    I went over my data limit on both my phones & they’ve throttled my connection-speed, so I’m gonna call somebody & have them play me the STD songs over the phone, cause for the life of me I can’t remember what they sound like.

    Also, I spy with my one-good-eye: brothel-creepers, krsna neck-beads, corduroy-pants and a spock-haircut.

  10. Cry+Fap=Crap says:

    I’m kind of not old so I found out about them via internet and video games. I remember first hearing them and thinking they were a pretty sick band so I went on YouTube to check them out. Long story short that’s the first day I realized the internet made me feel bad…

    http://www.pbh2.com/entertainment/movies-television/gif-tribute-hans-moleman/

  11. nickynegative says:

    this really brought me back! im so tempted to spill tons of now irrelevant gossip about all these people, especially the people in that video and on that album cover haha.

    at the time, people in long island, jersey etc actually didn’t like this album, everyone was like “ehhh the first one was better” (via it being slightly more hardcore sounding due to being a complete lifetime clone), but this is by far thier best work and IMO the peak of this genre.

    i guess they were popular-ish at the time this came out (meaning they could headline a VFW hall), and they did have that cross over appeal (although allot of people also HATED them), but they directly paved the way for new found glory, who paved the way for every pop punk that achieved way more success than them. more importantly they absolutely sparked the “girls at hardcore shows” trend.

    i think the reason no one really jocks this record is because, like allot of bands, thier legacy is kinda ruined by them releasing like 20 crap records after this, i don’t think they ever even broke up?

  12. Bronson says:

    Oh man, great album. Like some others here, I was a bit late/a bit young to get it when it came out, but I did get into it not too long after buying “Stay What You Are” at the height of my “I listen to REAL emo” phase, and it is one of the few albums from that era (along with Get-Up Kids’ “Something To Write Home About”) that actually holds up today. Very interesting, plausible thesis on them inventing tr00 pop punk – I always attributed that to H2O, but really, H2O (and a lot of those other overlooked, poppy hardcore bands like them and Overthrow) were obviously a lot more in the hardcore camp (read: proto Tr00 pop punk), and for the most part definitely less of the “sheltered suburbia” types.

    As Nickynegative noted above, a good reason that STD isn’t jocked as hard as they should be by The Youth of Today is precisely because they neither broke up (like most ‘rly influential 90s bands’) nor remained relevant past the critical point of their popularity (ala New Found Glory, who arguably did some of their best work AFTER they stopped touring in arenas). Basically, they are now where NFG would be if they had kept releasing albums that sounded like Coming Home rather than going back to what they were best known for.

    Advise for STD: immediately break up/’go on hiatus’, sit out roughly a decade or more (the more, the better, and don’t worry, you can still release music that sounds identical to what you are currently doing, just release it as “solo work” or “indie side projects”), keep merch in circulation, triumphantly return and don’t play anything older than the album after “Stay What You Are” (wait at least a year before announcing ANY new recordings, PERIOD), PROFIT.

    • Sergeant D says:

      Agree with all of the above!

      There is an argument to be made that “h20 did it first,” however I see two faults with that position:
      1. H20 were/are awful and nobody ever really liked them except complete posers, so their influence was very limited
      2. Even if H20 “did it first” in spirit as far as crossing over with hardcore, the aesthetic elements of what they did are totally different from tumblr pop-punk (sound, look, imagery, lyrics, etc) and doesn’t really sound anything like what any current bands are doing, whereas “Through Being Cool” could easily come out in 2014 and nobody would bat an eye

    • hgsg says:

      Oh man I was just listening to “Something To Write Home About” on repeat the other day. It did age pretty well.

    • uppercut613 says:

      Like some others here, I was a bit late/a bit young to get it when it came out, but I did get into it not too long after buying “Stay What You Are” at the height of my “I listen to REAL emo” phase, and it is one of the few albums from that era (along with Get-Up Kids’ “Something To Write Home About”) that actually holds up today.

      I’m surprised get up kids aren’t more jocked today. maybe it’s cause they had a keyboard player.

      • Adward says:

        saw the get up kids twice on the reunion tour thing – something to write home about sounds amazing and should defo be jocked more!

      • Sergeant D says:

        probably because they were both good and popular. which guarantees that a band won’t be jocked by tumblr dorks.

        • Bronson says:

          ^ This, and like STD, they also released a couple albums that were progressively indie sounding, which were the last notes they left on before they initially broke up. However, they were at least smart about coming back – even after having waiting as little as four years to reunite, they were selling shit out on their STWHA 10th anniversery tour.

  13. RickRoss says:

    “Cool, let’s go– we don’t know where the venue is but whatever, we’ll just look for kids with hardcore shirts on the street and ask them and it’ll work out”

    “moping around because you can’t be with ur soulmate, wearing big chunky New Balances with argyle socks, being a skinny little twerp who feels socially awkward and out of place the second u step outside of your bedroom, and ur entire life revolving around hardcore.”

    this post is so incredible i’m gonna sweat this band so hard now just cos of these feels.

  14. twistedsister says:

    while cruising in my car with friends after school ‘cant slow down’ and this record were the only tapes that i owned that everyone enjoyed or at least tolerated.

  15. Brozilian says:

    When you basically have no fucking clue what to do with yourself or your life, so you just spend your time hanging out with your derpy friends listening to records and hoping that everything will be OK.

    just arrived from my feels trip back 2 teh 90′s broe. ;-;
    those were the days…

  16. Nightshift says:

    Loudnet used to have a Saves The Day .wav file, and a Floorpunch .wav because the guy who owned the site was from Jersey. Right between all the random songs from Cry Now Cry Later 1-6, Fiesta Comes Alive, and really important bands like Morgion and Burn The Priest.

  17. m00k says:

    For some more Saves the Day style music in the vein of this album check out Little League AKA Kill Verona and Fairweather.

  18. apacheknowledge says:

    UK emo scene is all over this period right now, srs.

    I went to a tr00 90s emo DIY show at an underground ‘art space’ recently (yeah) and this album was on heavy rotation between bands.

    No complaints.

  19. jake says:

    should be a more recognized band than guns in roses and the beetles combined. also while the new stuff is universally hated (i like it but w/e, understand why people don’t) they are still churning out the classics from this record live, because they are at least aware of the fact that this is really the only record anyone cared about.

  20. Josh says:

    Agreed on the album’s merits, but question: does it hold up? Like if youre 30, can you still put this on and get something out of it?

  21. grace says:

    i just bookmarked this!!! – http://www.ebay.com/itm/free-shipping-Saves-The-Day-Through-Being-Cool-LP-blue-marbled-Vinyl-Emo-Punk-/390710987596

    can we talk about how phenomenal the cover art was? like i saw it as a way impressionable teen and preemptively yearned for that “Victory Records/Krishnacore Time Machine” without even knowing what it was / what it would become. the start of an ERA.

  22. Save Parker says:

    I saw Saves the Day with Hellogoodbye and Fireworks and New Found Glory, and they were so boring and I just went to the back of the House of Blues and hung out with some dudes. So for that reason I never bothered to check out this album but I prob should eventually because people have been saying its great for a while and I’ve just been ignorinnn ‘em.

  23. getxstoked says:

    When I was playing in a mediocre mosh metal band, this record was the only thing that could get everyone in the band to shut up and sing along, and placate any girls that were around, too.

  24. Hello says:

    A++++ post. Thanks for not being all “stay what you are omggg”

  25. uppercut613 says:

    really good post with lots of great points brought up (in both the article and the comments). especially how they laid the groundwork for molding hardcore, pop punk, and emo into one, which seems to be the big trend nowdays (just look at why real friends is so popular). i might be in the minority here but i remember preferring can’t slow down to through being cool, but it’s been a while since i’ve listened to both albums. can’t slow down was a lifetime emulation for sure. maybe im just too much of a newfag but i still cant get into them nearly as much as i can newer pop punk (tssf’s first album for example is my idea of the “perfect” pop punk album).

    actually, i remember when i was in high school, before easycore became a thing, and long before the new wave of tr00neckcore, lifetimecore was actually fairly popular so it wasn’t that uncommon back then to jock old saves the day, kid dynamite and of course the gods themselves lifetime. zac and justin from man overboard’s old band basically sounds like a poor man’s lifetime, so i could definitely see how this style was a prerequisite to tr00 pop punk, but maybe it was moreso just a jersey thing. one lifetimecore band i remember my friend jocking back then was “cash in”. i looked them up out of curiosity cause i dont remember much about them and.. http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/500/442905/Cash+In.jpg is that dude in the glasses wayne from man overboard?

    also, did grey area kind of fit into this category? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKdTYa1c7T4

    • TLDR says:

      i might be in the minority here but i remember preferring can’t slow down to through being cool

      Considering your extensive and well established background in skate punk, this makes perfect sense to me.

      actually, i remember when i was in high school, before easycore became a thing, and long before the new wave of tr00neckcore, lifetimecore was actually fairly popular so it wasn’t that uncommon back then to jock old saves the day, kid dynamite and of course the gods themselves lifetime.

      I remember this time too, IIRC it was around 05-06? That was when lifetime did their reunion tour I thought.

      • uppercut613 says:

        yeah. that lifetime-style of melodic hardcore is not far off from skate punk for sure. plus i’ve come to the conclusion that when it comes to my taste in pop punk and skate punk, that new pop punk is better than old pop punk and old skate punk is better than new skate punk.

        and yeah, 2005-2006 was the period. when lifetime reunited. i also remember youth crew was kinda trendy back then too. lots of gorilla biscuits jockage.

  26. Lhnn3 says:

    Shoulder to the whee makes me feel forever 20

  27. Lhnn3 says:

    *wheel.bloody smart phone

  28. katie says:

    listened to a shitty burned cd of this on the daily for YEARS before i came across a legit copy in my crappy small hometown. finally got chris conley to sign the liner notes sometime last year and hardcore geeked out at him about this record for a solid five minutes. amazingly solid record, easily in my top five of all time.

  29. uppercut613 says:

    also, was anyone ever into the band “thru being cool”? they eventually changed their name to dumbstruck to avoid similarities to saves the day but they were pretty cool. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCnVMjOqU9w

  30. gear says:

    This one time I was walking in the park by my house, and walked by a park bench. I saw a BLACK MANm, and he was EATING AN APPLE! I asked him “whay you gotta eat an apple, bay-bay?” He was all like “I’m's-a hungry!” So I turned around, pulled don my pants, and FINGERBLASTED MY OWN ASSHOLE WITH MY CRUSTY AND SCABBY INDEX FINGER, AND THEN I RUBBED MY FINGERSHIT ALL OVER MYSELF.

  31. dudebro says:

    Wasn’t there an alternate version of that “Shoulder to the Wheel” song on one of those Incompatible CD/digital media comps? I remember hearing that song and loving it….it was a little faster than the album version.

  32. Pingback: Forget Your Roots: Understandably Unheralded Pioneers of Tr00 Pop Punk and Easycore | STUFF YOU WILL HATE

  33. Ninjaturtle says:

    if you are between the ages of 28 and 32 and were into pop punk/hardcore in 2000-2001 there is no way you don’t own this record and love it…either secretly or publicly.

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