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 (typeset as "Through Being Cool") is the second studio album by American rock band Saves the Day, released on November 2, 1999 by Equal Vision. The songs on Through Being Cool were written while the band members attended New York University. The album was recorded in 11 days and represented the band's transition from a melodic hardcore sound to a more pop punk style. It was produced by Steve Evetts at Trax East Recording Studio in South River, New Jersey. The band's members dropped out of college to tour alongside Snapcase, New Found Glory, Hot Water Music, and Face to Face, among others. A music video was filmed for the song "Shoulder to the Wheel", directed by Darren Doan which The band later regretted making.
Eventually selling 50,000 copies, the success of Through Being Cool helped Saves the Day to sign with Vagrant Records. 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 re-pressed 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 through Equal Vision in August 1998. The album helped the band to gain fans, mainly in the New Jersey area. The band promoted the album with two tours helping to expand its fan base. Initially, they were heckled at each appearance. Drummer Bryan Newman said that the group was "totally out of place" among the other bands on the tour. Saves the Day had three different lineup changes while touring in support of Can't Slow Down, leaving vocalist Chris Conley and Newman as the only original members remaining.
Saves the Day's guitarist had left at the end of their first full tour of the U.S. Guitarist Dave Soloway, who had driven the band to their gigs during high school, was added to the band.[nb 1] Conley described Soloway as a kid who "came from bluegrass and his family would sit around singing folk songs and stuff at home." Guitarist Ted Alexander was the band's roadie, and spent so much time with the band 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 played 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.
Through Being Cool was recorded with producer Steve Evetts in June 1999 at Trax East Recording Studio 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 eleven days. The two half-days were booked as a result of Conley losing his voice recording the 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. Conley said that the band was "really psyched" at how the songs sounded. Evetts also engineered the album, while Alan Douches mastered it at West West Side.
Saves the Day wrote the material for Through Being Cool while attending New York University. Conley said, "I had written all the songs while at NYU, writing lyrics during Psychology 101 and writing the guitar parts over at Bryan’s apartment on 7th Street and 2nd Avenue." 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 rehearsed in Conley's parents' basement and slept over at the home, "working all weekend long." They worked on material Conley had written and recorded demos of their progress.
The album has a more pop punk sound compared to Can't Slow Down, which was a melodic hardcore-driven record. Allmusic reviewer Vincent Jeffries described the record's sound as "emocore". Conley explained that the shift in sound came from the music he was listening to. He liked several hardcore bands, but had played their albums "to death" and wanted to look for other sources of inspiration. While working on Through Being Cool, he was listening to: the Foo Fighters' The Colour and the Shape (1997), Weezer's Pinkerton (1996), and Joni Mitchell's Blue (1971) among others.
Dan Sandshrew, the head of Equal Vision, said that there was a debate over the artwork for the album. Conley was unsure about what do with the artwork, and went along with Newman and Soloway's ideas.[nb 3] The cover artwork is of a high school party with Saves the Day shown as social outcasts sitting on a couch. The album booklet continues the outcast theme, telling a story. Sandshrew felt that cover would give the wrong impression, and Newman regretted it after the album was released. Conley said people told the band that they had sold out because the cover art featured their faces. The band, and Luke Hoverman, designed the concept with Frank Davidson providing the layout. The photographs were taken 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 Sandshrew, he that said Equal Vision staff "couldn't stop listening to it" and were determined to get the band "the exposure they deserved." Sandshrew 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 Records.[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, and then with Snapcase in late January until early February. Saves the Day also toured in February with Hot Water Music. In 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 a North American Tour in 2000 with H2O between March and May. On this tour, the band got into an accident with their van that almost ended their career. They rejoined the tour on the Seattle date. By the time the band's tour had ended, the album had sold nearly 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 with Vagrant Records the result of the success of Through Being Cool.[nb 6] Rich Egan, founder of Vagrant, became their manager. Egan "fell in love" with the band because their lyrics were "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 "punchier production," which was used as a background for Conley's "romantic teen declarations". Jefffries picked "My Sweet Fracture" and "The Last I Told You" as highlights of the album. While noting that their first album sounded like Lifetime, Aubin Paul of Punknews "want[ed] surprises [from their second album]". Paul said that the band "found themselves" on Through Being Cool, despite calling the album derivative (Paul claimed that one song 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" had not "really aged at all"; sounding as "vital" today as they did when they were first released. 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. Alternative Press also included the album on their list of the most influential albums of 1999. Tris McCall of NJ.com listed the album as "every third-wave emo band's inspiration [...] [sending] a shockwave through the pop-punk underground." NME listed the album was one of 20 Pop Punk Albums Which Will Make You Nostalgic. BuzzFeed included it at number 5 on its list 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, with the notation 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 list of 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.
Saves the Day performed the album in its entirety at a secret show in Brooklyn in September 2013. 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. 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). The tour lasted from November 14 to December 21. Equal Vision remastered Through Being Cool and repressed the album on vinyl for its 15th anniversary. 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 worked previously with the band, producing Can't Slow Down purely because he had worked earlier 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 was previously able to tour only 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.
- "EVR: Saves the Day". equalvision.com. Archived from the original on October 18, 1999. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Greenwald 2003, p. 80
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- Jarman-Ivens 2013; p. 153
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