Like Hey Zeus! by Kids Near Water, I bought Stay What You Are during my emo phase. However, this is one I immediately took to and listened to on a fairly regular basis, probably because it’s so poppy and accessible and I’ve always been a sucker for a good melody.
Stay What You Are starts with what is probably Saves The Day’s best and most famous song, “At Your Funeral”. It’s so popular for a reason, starting as a slow power ballad before quickly morphing into a pop-punk anthem that’s all chorus, complete with angsty lyrics that not only speak to miserable teenagers but are also a lot of fun to belt out in rock clubs. It’s a perfect distillation of this style of music.
This formula is repeated across much of the rest of the album and, though they don’t quite scale the heights of the first song, there are so many fun, catchy songs on Stay What You Are that it’s really difficult to not enjoy it. “Cars and Calories” and “All I’m Losing Is Me” are definite highlights, and “Freakish” successfully slow things down without dragging the album down with it.
There are a couple of songs that do sound a bit too formulaic, such as “Jukebox Breakdown” and “Nightingale”, and the second half doesn’t quite live up to the first, but albums like this are always front-loaded to appeal to those with short attention spans. The voice is also divisive – it is definitely a bit whiny – but I think I’m so used to it that it’s just become part of their sound.
Stay What You Are isn’t the best album ever, and it’s not one I’ll come back to all the time, but I will put it on when I want something catchy and immediate. Sometimes pop-punk is the only thing that will do.