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In Defense of the Genre

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Album Review

Max Bemis — the medicated frontman responsible for every melody, riff, and snare hit on Say Anything's ...Is a Real Boy — has broadened his approach for the band's follow-up release. In Defense of the Genre is a double-disc set spanning every nook and cranny of Bemis' record collection, with a full lineup accompanying his romps through screamo, show tunes, and the usual pop-punk territory. Also along for the ride is a long list of collaborators, and anyone who questions Say Anything's ability to stay afloat in light of their frontman's bipolar disorder need only notice the supportive cameos by Gerard Way, Pete Yorn, and Chris Carrabba. But even if Bemis has the support of the music industry, he still refuses to play by its rules, structuring In Defense of the Genre like a schizophrenic mixtape instead of something traditionally cohesive. The songs function like a series of miniature suites, making left-hand turns without warning and mixing genres together with a deft hand. Electronica choruses rub shoulders with punky verses in "No Soul." Broadway-styled orchestrations in "That Is Why" give way to the aggressive "Surgically Removing the Tracking Device." Elsewhere, Bemis finds room to toss everything from doo wop to reggae into the pot, and although the resulting concoction isn't quite as appetizing as ...Is a Real Boy, it's certainly good enough to warrant several helpings. Bemis may be seeking to defend the emo genre, but his album instead illustrates the difference between run-of-the-mill emo — which, indeed, comprises most of the genre's output — and the imaginative, skillful tunes that flourish here. The only major downside is the album's length; at 89 minutes, it often comes across as untrimmed and longwinded, particularly during the second disc. [In Defense of the Genre was also made available in a "clean" version with all profanity removed.]

Biography

Formed: 2000 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Say Anything are the pop-punk brainchild of Max Bemis, who founded the band while its initial members were still attending high school in Los Angeles. Although the lineup has since featured a rotating cast of characters, Bemis remains at the band's core, spinning tales of insecurity and frustration with help from longtime drummer Coby Linder. Say Anything made their studio debut with two self-released and self-produced EPs -- Junior Varsity! and Menorah/Majora, the latter being released online --...
Full bio
In Defense of the Genre, Say Anything
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  • 10,99 €
  • Genres: Alternative, Music, Punk
  • Released: 23 October 2007

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