Most students know that Renaissance literature has provided the inspiration for a string of films set in the present. What is probably less known is that works of the period have also been exploited for contemporary music, most recently on Sound the Alarm, the latest album from emo band Saves The Day. The band doesn't acknowledge this influence in their liner notes, but lest anyone accuse them of stealing from more talented emo acts, any English major can rush to their defence. The album's misogynist and masochistic lyrics are closer in tone to the poetry of Sir Philip Sidney than they are to those of the band's contemporary counterparts.
Of course, as is the case with film adaptations of 16th century works, something was lost in the translation. There's little sense of artistry in rhyming couplets like "Cut off my legs when you tell me to walk/Slit my own throat when you say to talk," nor do such lines come across as rough but still wrenching, due in large part to lead singer Chris Conley's spectacularly whiny voice. Such threats are presumbly metaphorical, but by the aptly titled "Hell is Here" at the end of the album, listeners will wish Conley had actually followed through with them, if only to take his vocal chords out of commission. Musically, the album is equally grating. As if the songs' lyrics weren't similar enough, with at least three of the tracks describing being buried and/or eaten alive, the melodies are as indistinguishable. The band mixes things up occasionally, but the few songs that don't sound angry are actually kind of jaunty instead. Unsurprisingly, this doesn't mesh particularly well with the trying-way-too-hard-to-be-gruesome lyrics.
Given the grim content, one might feel a twinge of sympathy for Conley, who composed the words to every song. The subject of real pity, however, should be anyone who listens to this album more than once. If such a person exists, they're definitely a masochist.