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!