a sonic love letter (Saves the Day's self-titled album review)

Posted by on Friday, September 20, 2013

Ten years ago, I bought Saves the Day's In Reverie and told myself that I wasn't going to over-listen to it because I didn't want to get tired of it. I did over-listen, but it remains one of my favorite albums. Saves the Day was my first real concert (after N SYNC and Avril Lavigne, of course). I sat up in the balcony next to my dad at the Warfield and then I went to school the next day. I was thirteen. I am twenty-four now, and Saves the Day still makes me feel they way they did eleven years ago. When I first heard a Saves the Day song, I knew that I could never, ever feel alone. The little holes that might show up in my heart from time to time could always be filled just by pressing play on a stereo or an mp3 player. So many of their songs have acted as anthems for me in different stages of my life. I have seen Saves the Day many, many times, and one time Chris Conley even came up to me after the show and told me I was amazing. Crazy, you guys.

Chris Conley is one of my biggest inspirations as a writer. His ability to express anguish and to juxtapose that  anguish with saccharine sweetness is unparalleled. Saves the Day lost a lot of fans when Chris Conley found his voice with In Reverie, but I wasn't one of those. I love the first three albums more than any other albums in this universe, but my love for them then doesn't overshadow my love for later albums. In fact, I believe that In Reverie is one of the best albums of all time, and some of my favorite Saves the Day songs come from the trilogy.

Last Tuesday, Saves the Day released their eighth studio album. The self-titled album (which fans have nicknamed Grapefruit came out last Tuesday), and it is a breath of fresh air. The last three Saves the Day albums (Sound the Alarm, Under the Boards, and Daybreak) comprised a trilogy of extreme emotional anguish that culminated in the narrator accepting defeat and attempting to rebuild. You can tell that the band was ready to move on and write new material.

On the heels of this trilogy, Saves the Day is significantly lighter. It contains catchy hooks and love songs, and it only lasts 33 minutes. Chris Conley is married with a child, so the love songs are comforting after the often devastating lyrics on the last few albums. Sometimes it's just nice to enjoy a love song, you know? Several songs on the album recall the night Conley met his wife, and it works as a kind of theme on this album. Conley said he wanted this album to act as a "sonic love letter," and I think that sums it up nicely. It is short, fast, and tight.

I first listened to Daybreak while running at the gym, so I thought it appropriate to continue that tradition with the new album. I got it on Friday after a particularly rough day. I had heard a few released songs already but not start to finish. When I heard the following lyrics from the song "Lucky Number," I knew that this album would be an important one for me.

                                         In the night when you're alone
                                         In the dark and the unknown 
                                         You can always come back here
                                         I'm home.

This is probably cheesy, but I felt like Chris Conley was making a promise to me, and that's when I knew he had met his goal of creating a "sonic love letter." 

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