Twenty years ago, '00s emo heavy-hitters like Fall Out Boy, Paramore, and My Chemical Romance didn't exist. But Saves the Day -- along with the other bands featured below -- had already been slugging it out in DIY punk/hardcore circles, sowing the influential seeds for one of commercial rock 'n' roll's last defined roars.
STD scored a hefty piece of that pie after the release of their breakout 2001 album Stay What You Are: MTV play, a major label contract, late-night TV sets. After innumerable lineup shuffles, the 22-year-old New Jersey group is effectively a vehicle for frontman Chris Conley's colorfully macabre lyricism and sticky pop-punk hooks. Conley, who's amazingly still just 39, is now something of an elder statesman of the late-'90s/early-'00s emo boom, so we asked him to wax nostalgic for us. Considering he does plenty of that on STD's latest record, last year's occasionally inspired 9, we figured he'd be game.
And he was! Ahead of Saves the Day's show Thursday at Cedar Cultural Center, Conley offered up picks and commentary for his five favorite songs from the wave of music he helped pioneer. The motherfucker even selected one of his own tracks, an emo power move we can't help but respect. Read on, rock out, relive your increasingly distant youth.
“I’m A Loner Dottie, A Rebel” by the Get Up Kids
"A quintessential emo jam from a quintessential emo band. Catchy, upbeat, emotional, and powerful with great lyrics as always. I remember seeing this song live before the release of this album and being blown away by the energy and emotion. Incredible!"
“Girl, Why’d You Run Away?” by Reggie and the Full Effect
"Absolute madness turned into a perfect pop-rock anthem. James Dewees is one of the most talented musicians, performers, and songwriters of our generation and this song perfectly showcases his special blend of chaos and beauty."
“Radio” by Alkaline Trio
"A suicidal ballad that starts with a super cool guitar hook and ends with a massive cathartic chorus. I used to sing this song onstage with the Trio when we toured with them a hundred years ago and I absolutely loved to shout these lyrics out every night to a thousand of their undyingly loyal faithful fans."
“Understanding In A Car Crash” by Thursday
"We took Thursday on their first big breakout tour in 2001 and watching them every night was a revelation. They had such power and presence and energy and their songs were incredible with cool guitars and amazing lyrics. Geoff Rickly is a true poet and these words still blow me away."
“Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots” by Saves the Day
"What can I say? Even though I wrote this song I still love playing it at every Saves show. It’s just fun and funky and fresh. I remember when we were finishing this song in the studio we all turned to each other with wide eyes thinking '…My God, that’s good!'"
Saves the Day
With: Joyce Manor and Awakebutstillinbed
When: 7:30 p.m. Thu., Aug. 1
Where: Cedar Cultural Center
Tickets: $27; more info here