By: Stephanie Figueroa
The time has come for Indie, Pop, and Punk listeners alike to unite because this latest Say Anything release might just officially create a whole new era of composing music for this amiable group.
If the first thing that comes to mind when one mentions the name Say Anything are quirky, sarcastic, smart mouthed lyrics, alongside infectious instrumentals, then you have a pretty accurately formed definition of this one of a kind band. If the second thing that comes to mind is the name Max Bemis, then you’re probably well informed of the musical impact of this symbolic frontman. It’s rare to find voices or written music that sounds even remotely similar to Max Bemis or Say Anything. It would be no surprise if his heartfelt and contemptuous lyrics have taken a hold of the lyric lover in everyone. Yes, he certainly has that power. Since formed back in 2000, Say Anything has transformed miraculously. After overcoming several public meltdowns and being hospitalized for bipolar disorder, Bemis never failed in feeding fans exactly what they craved.
Two official releases later, Say Anythings third self-titled album was released on Nov 3. As with any of their work, it is clear that Bemis used this album as a form of getting what bothers him most off of his chest. What separates this album from the rest however, is the obvious sense of self-assurance, rather than continuous self-loathing. In fact, as Bemis told AP magazine, “This isn’t pacifist music, necessarily. The anger is more directed at things you can change and do in your life, instead of hating people because they are a certain way. These people will always be like that. Let’s do something to actually change your own life, or lives around you.”
But of course, a Say Anything album wouldn’t be completed without some kind of angry number. That is precisely why the single “Hate Everyone” seems like it should have been placed in the bands previous, more raging albums. Still, one can’t help but find Max’s juvenile rant at how much he just simply hates society as heartwarming.
Moving on to one of the albums incredibly raved about melodies, “Eloise” begins with a simple acoustic guitar progressing into slow pounding drum beats as Bemis starts to sing. Of course, only Say Anything would start a heartbreak song with the lines “Laid out, puking in the back of a fancy bar.” Nonetheless, this piece delivers Bemis’s infamous constant passionate wails we all know and love all draped over a delicate chorus.
Finalizing the album, “Ahh…Men” is as mushy and affectionate as Say Anything can get. During an interval in which most bands nowadays would typically choose to insert a breakdown, the song has a notable shift into a quieter, more melodic acoustic strumming followed by Max’s romantic plead to “lie with you in your grave.”
Genres seem to pour out of every tune, line, and pluck of an acoustic guitar here and there as tracks unfold. If anyone ever said blending genres was a mistake, they’re the ones mistaken. Say Anything can be held accountable for much musical evolvement yet still maintain their same foundation that listeners first fell in love with. Max’s newfound yet still somewhat hazy outlook on life is evident throughout the album. It’s thoughtful and unpredictable: the definition of Say Anything. Certainly, the entire album gives off that sparkle true fans know is exclusive to Say Anything.