It may be over-emphatic to say that the day I stumbled, hungover, into Cash Generator minutes before starting a grueling 9 hour JD Wetherspoon’s shift and picked up Vagrant Records: Another Year On the Streets Volume 2 for 99p changed my life forever. But then again, as far as CD compilations go, one that reaffirms your love for burgeoning artists, causes you to fall hopelessly in love with a whole heap of new ones, and sparks within you the dream to one day be involved with a record label roster quite as phenomenal as Vagrant possessed in the early noughties... Well, it can’t be bad!
And although this particular track wasn’t on this compilation, it was hearing the quite frankly beautiful Ups And Downs (shouldered in with epics from the likes of The Get up Kids, Hey Mercedes, Alkaline Trio, Rocket From The Crypt and Hot Rod Circuit) that ignited my passion for Saves the Day, led me to Stay What you Are, back to Through Being Cool and beyond most particularly this song – which summed up for me, everything they had to offer.
Breathless, young and laden with the kind of the emotion that I was laden with as a wide-eyed teen, this song for me embodied the breakneck pace of life, daily doses of jealousy, pain, love and unbridled lust… All lovingly yelped alongside the perfect 4 minute alt-pop song, just the right side of emo, oozing with potential to express oneself, and what’s more - the lyrics were beautifully black: “The last time that I saw you, August of '99,
I should've had my hammer and a few rusty spikes
to nail you on a wall and use bottles to catch your blood
, display you for the neighbors so they know your time had come", but delivered in such a way that they juxtaposed the melodious tune perfectly…
The song may not have been their absolute best (I’d suggest looking at Through Being Cool on the identically titled album for their masterstroke – incidentally released late 90s) but it came about at the beginnings of something absolutely special for me. Captivating me like no other label had previously (although Fierce Panda had come close around the turn of the century) Saves the Day display everything that’s perfect about powerful alt pop/rock (however you’d describe it) – and remain one of the most important acts, from one of the most important alternative labels of the 90s, ever “floating somewhere in between the waking world and a landscape of dreams”.
Is that lyric appropriate – hell, I don’t know, but I love, love, love!
Jack, Alcopop Records
[Album: Stay What You Are]