Through Being Cool
|Through Being Cool|
|Studio album by Saves the Day|
|Released||November 2, 1999|
|Recorded||June 1999, at Trax East,
South River, New Jersey
|Genre||Emocore, pop punk|
|Saves the Day chronology|
Through Being Cool (stylized as "Through Being Cool") is the second studio album by American rock band Saves the Day, released on November 2, 1999 by Equal Vision. While touring in support of their debut album, Can't Slow Down (1998), the band had three different line-up changes. The songs on Through Being Cool were written while the band attended New York University. Moving from a melodic hardcore sound to a more pop punk sound, the album was recorded in 11 days. It was produced by Steve Evetts at Trax East, in South River, New Jersey. Drummer Bryan Newman said the recording sessions were "intense". The band dropped out of college to tour alongside Snapcase, New Found Glory, Hot Water Music and Face to Face, among others. A music video was made for the song "Shoulder to the Wheel", which the band later regretted. It was directed by Darren Doan.
Eventually selling 50,000 copies, the success of Through Being Cool helped Saves the Day get signed to Vagrant. It was named one of Alternative Press' 10 most influential albums of 1999. To celebrate the album's 15th anniversary, the band played the album front-to-back on tour and Equal Vision repressed the album on vinyl. Vocalist Chris Conley considers it "the most important record that we did".
Saves the Day formed in late 1997, their debut album, Can't Slow Down, was released with Equal Vision in August 1998. The album helped the band gain fans, but only in the New Jersey area. The band promoted the album with two tours, which helped the band expand their fan base. Initially, the group were heckled at each show they played, drummer Bryan Newman said the group was "totally out of place" among the other bands on the tour. Saves the Day had three different line-up changes while touring Can't Slow Down, leaving vocalist Chris Conley and Newman as the only original members left.
Saves the Day's guitarist had left at the end of their first full tour of the U.S., resulting in guitarist Dave Soloway joining the band half way into the year.[nb 1] Soloway came from a family who would sing folk songs. The band met Soloway at high school, he used to drive the band to their gigs. Guitarist Ted Alexander was the band's roadie, and hung around the band a lot that they eventually "just gave him a guitar". Sean McGrath, bassist on the band's first album, was kicked out of the band and replaced by Eben D'Amico. The group would play gigs with local bands, one of which D'Amico was in. Conley called him a "sick" bassist and decided to get in touch with him, asking if he would like to join Saves the Day.
Saves the Day wrote the material for Through Being Cool while attending New York University. All the lyrics were written by Conley during a Psychology 101 course. All the music for Through Being Cool was written by Conley at Newman's apartment. The music was credited to Conley and Saves the Day, except for "Do You Know What I love the Most?" by Alexander and Saves the Day, and "The Vast Spoils of America (From the Badlands Through the Ocean)" by Soloway and Saves the Day. The band would stay over at weekends and practice in a basement located in New Jersey. They would work on material Conley had written and record demos.
The album has a more pop punk sound compared to Can't Slow Down, which was a melodic hardcore-driven record. Conley explained that the shift in sound came from the music he was listening to. He liked a handful of hardcore bands but had played their "albums to death" and wanted to look for more material to listen to. While working on Through Being Cool, he was listening to, among others, the Foo Fighters' The Colour and the Shape (1997), Weezer's Pinkerton (1996), and Joni Mitchell's Blue (1971). The first two of which, Conley had initially dismissed but eventually re-listened to.
Through Being Cool was recorded with producer Steve Evetts in June 1999 at Trax East in South River, New Jersey.[nb 2] Newman was close to having a breakdown on a few occasions, as he was nervous and not used to being in a studio, saying it "was intense". Evetts always kept the band "in line. Definitely the guru of the whole thing", Newman revealed. Recording and mixing was done over a total of 11 days – nine full days and two half-days. The two half-days were booked due to Conley losing his voice recording vocals. Conley noted that other people would think the band was "rushing, but we were just having a blast". The band, attempting to finish the album, would do all-nighters; relaxing in the control room and sleeping in the lounge. The band liked recording the album, Conley said they were "really psyched" on how the songs sounded. Evetts also engineered the album, while Alan Douches mastered it at West West Side.
Dan Sandshaw, the head of Equal Vision, said there was a debate over the artwork for the album. Conley was unsure what do with the artwork, going along with what Newman and Soloway came up with.[nb 3] The artwork consists of a high school party with Saves the Day shown as social outcasts. The album booklet continues this theme, telling a story. Sandshaw mentioned that it would give the wrong impression and Newman regretted it after the album was released. Conley said people told the band they sold out because the art featured their faces. The band and Luke Hoverman designed the concept with Frank Davidson providing the layout. Photography was done by Hoverman with assistance from Lenny Zimkus. The CD art features Gabe Saporta kissing a girl, while the back cover has actor James Ransone passed out on a couch.
Release and touring
When the band gave the finished album to Sandshaw, he said Equal Vision "couldn't stop listening to it", determined to get the band exposure. Sandshaw thought it was going to be a game-changing album. In October and November 1999 Saves the Day went on tour with Snapcase and Kid Dynamite. Through Being Cool was released on November 2, on Equal Vision.[nb 4] The band played a release show with The Get Up Kids, At the Drive-In and Midtown. Dropping out of college to tour the album, the band built a big fan base along the east coast.[nb 5] In January 2000 the band toured alongside Piebald and New Found Glory, then toured with Snapcase in late January till early February. Following this up with touring later in February with Hot Water Music. Sometime during February, the band filmed the music video for "Shoulder to the Wheel" with director Darren Doan. The video was filmed at Soloway's parents house and featured the band's friends. The group played songs to get people into the mood before miming along to "Shoulder to the Wheel". The video was released to video stations on April 7 and Newman said the group "hated it as soon as we saw it".
The band went on the North American Tour 2000 with H2O between March and May. On this tour, the band got into a van accident that almost ended their career. They rejoined the tour on the Seattle date. After all this touring, the album sold close to 50,000 copies, a massive number for Equal Vision. In an issue of CMJ New Music Report dated May 2000, it was announced the band had signed to Vagrant, due to the success of Through Being Cool.[nb 6] Rich Egan, founder of Vagrant, became their manager. Egan "fell in love" with the band due to their lyrics being "so honest, so cut and dry." The band performed on a few Warped Tour dates in early August. Following this, the band went on tour with Face to Face, New Found Glory and Alkaline Trio in late August to early October. They toured again with Face to Face in late October to mid November.
|Consequence of Sound||(favorable)|
Allmusic reviewer Vincent Jefffries noted that the band went for a more "punchier production" that was used as a background for Conley to sing his "romantic teen declarations". Jefffries picked "My Sweet Fracture" and "The Last I Told You" as highlights of the album. While admitting their first album sounded like Lifetime, Aubin of Punknews "want[ed] surprises [from their second album]". Thus, with Through Being Cool, Aubin said the band "found themselves" , despite calling it derivative. Claiming that "one of the better tracks" on the album was "almost identical" to the Samiam song, "Capsized". In a retrospective review for Consequence of Sound, Megan Ritt wrote that "Shoulder to the Wheel" and "Rocks Tonic Juice Magic" in particular had not "really aged at all"; sounding "vital" today as they did when they were first released. Still "burn[ing] with all the sincerity of emotion" as when Conley first wrote the songs. Ritt mentioned that "Banned from the Back Porch" "rock[ed] pretty hard" making listeners want to "thrash a little harder in the mosh pit".
Alternative Press writer Colin McGuire noted that Through Being Cool influenced a new wave of pop-punk bands, such as Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and Taking Back Sunday. Tris McCall of NJ.com listed the album as "every third-wave emo band's inspiration [...] [sending] a shockwave through the pop-punk underground." Alternative Press ranked the album on the top 10 most influential albums of 1999. NME listed the album was one of "20 Pop Punk Albums Which Will Make You Nostalgic". BuzzFeed included it at number 5 of "36 Pop Punk Albums You Need To Hear Before You F——ing Die". The album was included in Rock Sound's 101 Modern Classics list at number 60, saying that "pop-punk has not been the same since , and this record plays a major role in that change." Fall Out Boy vocalist Patrick Stump listed the album at number 10 on his "10 records that changed my life". Stumped revealed that he wouldn't "have been in Fall Out Boy if it weren't for this record". The album's artwork was included by Fuse.tv as one of "20 Iconic Pop Punk Album Covers". Stereogum listed "Rocks Tonic Juice Magic" as one of "30 Essential Songs From The Golden Era Of Emo".
On September 4, 2014, Saves the Day and Say Anything announced a co-headlining U.S. tour with support from Reggie and the Full Effect. The tour lasted from November 14 to December 21. On the tour, Saves the Day played Through Being Cool, Say Anything played ...Is a Real Boy (2004), and Reggie and the Full Effect played Under the Tray (2003). Equal Vision pressed new copies of Through Being Cool on vinyl for its 15th anniversary; the album was remastered for this vinyl pressing. The idea of the tour came about from a conversation between Conley and Say Anything's frontman Max Bemis. The two were discussing the past and Bemis mentioned that ...Is a Real Boy was going to be 10 years old in the same year Through Being Cool turned 15. In an interview with Alternative Press for the album's 15th anniversary, Conley thought the album had stood up well and that it was "pretty fresh-sounding" and considered it "the most important record that we did".
All songs by Chris Conley and Saves the Day, except where noted. All lyrics by Chris Conley.
- "All-Star Me" – 1:43
- "You Vandal" – 2:28
- "Shoulder to the Wheel" – 3:19
- "Rocks Tonic Juice Magic" – 3:27
- "Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots" – 2:37
- "Third Engine" – 3:40
- "My Sweet Fracture" – 3:52
- "The Vast Spoils of America (From the Badlands through the Ocean)" (Dave Soloway, Saves the Day) – 3:08
- "The Last Lie I Told" – 2:23
- "Do You Know What I Love the Most?" (Ted Alexander, Saves the Day) – 1:34
- "Through Being Cool" – 2:04
- "Banned from the Back Porch" – 2:59
Personnel per booklet.
- Gabe Saporta, a massive fan of the band, had tried out to be the guitar player, but was unsuccessful.
- Evetts previously worked with the band, producing Can't Slow Down purely because Evetts had previously worked with Lifetime – a band Conley loved. He would later produce and engineer Sound the Alarm (2006).
- Newman and Soloway both went to school for photography.
- U.S. Equal Vision EVR054
- The band were previously only able to tour when they had free time during their first year of college.
- Vagrant had previously called the band the day Through Being Cool was released, saying how thrilled they were for the band.
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