First, it’d be useful if you read this.
Well, it’s happened again.
I wasn’t an old-school Saves The Day fan, I only got into them when I heard ‘Freakish,’ which is off their third album, ‘Stay What You Are.’ That was in 2001 and I’m pretty sure I only noticed that song because I saw the pop vid at the time and it featured some awesome muppets. But the song lodged in my brain. Poppy, yeah!
Roll on a couple of years and I’m doing my normal singalong comps for the car. And, for some reason, I think of ‘Freakish’ and stick it on the comp. I’d played the track while DJing and it just started going round my brain.
I stuck the CDR in my car. It was chock-full of singalong splendour but I kept just playing ‘Freakish,’ again and again and again and again and again. Track ends, skip to start. The only time I wouldn’t play it is when I had passengers because I didn’t want them to see just how freaky (heh) I’d become.
Soo… I went back to the album. And I fell in love with it. Obviously, at first the infection vectors were the poppiest tracks like ‘At Your Funeral’ and ‘Certain Tragedy.’ But it wasn’t long before I’d be out in town and find myself humming ‘Ghost’ or ‘Jukebox.’
The last two months, maybe longer, pretty much all I’ve been listening to in my car has been ‘Stay What You Are.’ Going to Mosh at 11pm, driving home after at 3am, going into town, round to see my parents. I’ve become obsessed. Again, the only time it’s not on is when I have passengers.
The infection isn’t just the one album, though. I’ve been listening to all of them far too much. Saves The Day used to be way, way down on my Last.fm artist list. Now, take a look. They rate higher than Kraftwerk, my fave band of all time and whose music I’ve been listening to for at least twenty years longer than Saves The Day! This is madness.
Today, while I was doing weights, I listened to ‘Under The Boards,’ their last album to date. I love it. These lyrics from ‘Can’t Stay The Same’ in particular got to me:
Go if you wanna go
Don’t wanna lie here while you cry yourself to sleep
And say what you wanna say
Cause I can see by your face that somethings not the same
Hey, hey everything’s okay
I love you more than I can say
But we can’t stay the same
Do what you wanna do
Don’t wanna keep you here holding so tight you can’t breathe
And stay, not a minute stay
Cos I don’t think I wanna live here dying all alone…
How can anyone not relate to those lyrics? If you’ve ever loved and lost, it’s all there. ‘Under The Boards’ has got loads of other similarly poppy and moving songs. That’s the classic Saves The Day trademark: infectious guitar-driven pop backed with lyrics that just pierce your fucking heart, even when you don’t want them to. Whether it’s ‘Get Fucked Up’ or ‘Kaleidoscope,’ they throw stuff at you that you want to dodge but can’t. Conley’s aim is too true, too horribly accurate.
My life over the past eighteen months has been the lowest of lows I’ve yet experienced. Even though it’s been full of brief, shiny moments with beautiful friends who’ve lifted me higher than I can climb on my own, the general trend has been down. The only thing that’s been able to make it all make sense is Saves The Day. More so than Leonard Cohen, more than Tim Hardin or Michael Nesmith or any of the other songwriters I normally turn to when everything turns to shit, like an alky turns to whisky.
When I’m singing along, I’m lost and I find myself. I need the loudness, I need Conley’s soaring, shredding voice, always on the edge of breaking. I can’t really explain how much his music has given me succour, how much he makes me feel less lonely. Today, I realised I had to write this post as I found myself crying and weight-training and listening to yet more Saves The Day. Is there anything more emo than crying while you’re doing wrist curls?
So, Saves The Day and songwriter Chris Conley now own me. I stalk him a bit on the net (not excessively, just a bit), I’m waiting for the new album, I’m listening to all their previous albums on infinite repeat. I am infected.
And I hope, if you’ve read this far, that I may have passed on the infection to you too. 🙂