14 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Say Anything’s fifth studio album, Anarchy, My Dear, is a genuinely angst-ridden release. It's easily the hardest Say Anything has crafted since 2004’s . . .Is a Real Boy. The group's album art even depicts a symbol of a burning flag stitched onto an actual flag. Singer Max Bemis has said that this album is about subverting society and breaking down boundaries. Sure enough, “Burn a Miracle” opens with taut pop-punk that leans a bit harder on the punk. Over guitar leads with late-'90s emo flavors, overdriven bass, and plenty of upstart lyrics, Bemis sings through a distortion filter. His chanting “burn a miracle” cleverly sounds like he’s shouting “burn America.” He namechecks Randy Newman in “Night’s Song,” a reggae-tinged ditty that juxtaposes a lightly bouncing melody with Bemis angrily spitting out his lyrics like a soured beverage.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Say Anything’s fifth studio album, Anarchy, My Dear, is a genuinely angst-ridden release. It's easily the hardest Say Anything has crafted since 2004’s . . .Is a Real Boy. The group's album art even depicts a symbol of a burning flag stitched onto an actual flag. Singer Max Bemis has said that this album is about subverting society and breaking down boundaries. Sure enough, “Burn a Miracle” opens with taut pop-punk that leans a bit harder on the punk. Over guitar leads with late-'90s emo flavors, overdriven bass, and plenty of upstart lyrics, Bemis sings through a distortion filter. His chanting “burn a miracle” cleverly sounds like he’s shouting “burn America.” He namechecks Randy Newman in “Night’s Song,” a reggae-tinged ditty that juxtaposes a lightly bouncing melody with Bemis angrily spitting out his lyrics like a soured beverage.

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Customer Reviews

4 out of 5

271 Ratings

Admit It... We've All Grown Up

Andrew P Murray,

I want to start off by saying this isn’t a hater review. Folks, I LOVE this band. This band saved me in high school. Whenever I felt perplexed by questions about life, puberty, people, peer pressure, or sexual preferences, I always found an answer in the form of SA. Bemis always had that witty line or thought provoking lyrics that made it so easy to connect with his dysfunctional nature. Any devoted SA fan would tell you how they followed through Bemis’ struggles over the years. From his boyish 16-year-old complexity on Baseball: An Album By Say Anything, his drug-ridden ventures in …Is A Real Boy and …Was A Real Boy, his rehabilitation on In Defense of a Genre and most recently his almost cheesy, yet still depression and frustration filled self-titled piece. Bemis tackled just about every problem of the most dysfunctional teenagers and young adults.

Well, it doesn’t look like that’ll be happening anymore. I got this album two months ago. I was beyond excited and couldn’t wait to listen to it. Upon first listen, I was a bit disappointed. I couldn’t help but wonder where the true rocking spirit was. I listened to it a couple more times through and I came to the conclusion that this isn’t the same band we used to know. It’s not a matter of changing their sound. There isn’t much difference in that department, except for the lack of electric guitars. It’s just that it seems… grown up. Bemis is a 27 year old man now. He’s gone through so much, drug problems, constantly switching band lineups and even marriage. There seems to be a lack of passion. Bemis isn’t as angry and confused as he used to be. Songs like “Overbiter” and “Say Anything”, while taking on that silly side that we all enjoy from the band, take over the album as marks that Bemis is off in a love drowned world devoid of the problems he once had. Granted, you’ll feel nostalgic when you listen to “Admit It Again”, a reverence of …Is A Real Boy’s “Admit It!!!” as Bemis spews his thoughts on the hypocrisy of the popular sector of the younger generation. Yet this, and perhaps “Peace Out”, may be the only truly anger filled tongue lashings that he gives on the album.

Don’t get me wrong, I will always love this band. This band means more to me one the more difficult times in my life than most other bands could ever mean to me. But even I can recognize that ultimately as I grew up, so did Bemis. After everything that he has endured, it looks like the frustrated boy we all sympathized and connected with has moved on the positives in life. Perhaps learning to “Hate Everyone” isn’t as cool as learning to love someone in the end.

Admit It...

Jordan Smith,

The fallacy argument that everyone has seemed to adopt, where the only people who don't appreciate this album are a group a pseudo-fans who desperately want another iARB is damaging to the the fans and to the band. Its no secret that artists grow. No one has contested that. But the fact remains that Max has not grown into someone worth paying attention to. "There are babies with guns beheading their friends in shopping malls around the world. Yet somehow the Kings of Leon still find time to write songs about girls." These lines from the self titled (a great album btw) paint the picture of an artist who understands that the sentiments of gooey gushy love are not universal and ultimately self indulgent. This album is him changing his mind. He also follows up those lines with an indictment of himself. This album has him praising sherri for saving him and condemning all others still living the life he once lived. He himself is barely touched on outside of a few fleeting moments of victimization and anger. And don't even get me started on the childish and reverse-intellectual nature of censoring yourself while still implying said words.

The fact remains that this album, hot on the heels of 1000 song shop songs and 3 painful splits records, is a mixed bag of poorly realized moments of brilliance (i.e. "Burn A Miracle", "Anarchy, My Dear", and "Sheep"), nauseating, over specific, arrogant love songs (i.e. "Of Steel", "So Good", and "Their Notions"), judgmental bashes on those who still find themselves lost in this world (i.e. "Peace Out", "Admit It Again", and "Overbiter"), and fantastic instrumentation ruined by POORLY WRITTEN LYRICS (i.e. nearly all of it). All of these things point to an artist that is exhausted from writing constantly and suffers from a lack of perspective because people blindly believe, and tell him, that everything he touches is golden. Some people will be able to enjoy the album, though its not because of its merit, but its in spite of itself. Max is one of my heroes, which is why I'm calling misstep instead of praising him blindly. Not out of angst, but out of a belief and knowledge of just how brilliant and worthy of the title "hero" this man can be.

About Say Anything

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 -- as well as a full-length album, 2003's Baseball. These releases saw the band leaning toward the same mix of emo, rock, and pop-punk made popular by bands like blink-182 and Saves the Day. Bemis soon grew tired of the genre and revamped his band's sound for ...Is a Real Boy, which marked Say Anything's first release for Doghouse Records in 2004. A self-described punk rock musical, the album was fittingly produced by Tim O'Heir (Dinosaur Jr., the All-American Rejects) and Stephen Trask (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), with Bemis playing nearly every instrument.

Bemis' bipolar disorder proved to be increasingly disruptive, however, plaguing both the recording of the album and its aftermath. Struggling with crippling stress, the singer suffered a nervous breakdown that ultimately led to Say Anything's cancellation of two tours in 2005, including an opening slot with one of the band's idols, Saves the Day. Despite the setback, the band signed with J Records that same year and reissued ...Is a Real Boy in February 2006. The re-release boasted two discs, pairing the original record with a bonus EP containing demos, re-recordings of previous songs, and sessions from a never-released AIDS benefit record. A national headlining tour followed the reissue, and the single "Alive with the Glory of Love" found some success on radio and the MTV networks. Momentum continued to build as the band toured into 2007, eventually pairing with Saves the Day for a second attempt at touring. The effort was successful this time around, and Say Anything released a two-disc concept album, In Defense of the Genre, that October.

Bemis announced plans to record a new album in early 2008, and the resulting record (a self-titled effort) arrived in late 2009, several months after Bemis and Saves the Day's Chris Conley released an album by their side project, Two Tongues. The singer returned to Say Anything in 2012 with the release of the band's fifth album, the edgy and biting Anarchy, My Dear. In 2014, Bemis opted to take an unflinching look at himself on Hebrews, an album that found the band ditching the driving guitars for dramatic string arrangements. After a couple years of silence, at the stroke of midnight on February 4, 2016, Bemis announced a surprise new album titled I Don't Think It Is, which was released a day later. ~ Corey Apar & Andrew Leahey

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