Review: Say Anything – Anarchy, My Dear

Say Anything - Anarchy, My Dear

You can always go back home, but nothing is exactly the same. Say Anything’s sixth studio album Anarchy, My Dear is the band’s first release on an indie since leader Max Bemis released the scene classic …Is A Real Boy in 2004. After achieving mild success with the two albums in between on RCA/Sony, Bemis and company find themselves back in the familiar company of a major indie label, this time being Equal Vision. They also enlisted the production services of Tim O’Heir, whom oversaw the IARB sessions, thus including a comfort level that may not have been present during 2009 self-titled release.

But just like when you return home after all those years at college, things are different. People change, environments shift, and you grow and mature as a person. This can be directly applied to Bemis, whom, since Is A Real Boy, has matured not only as a songwriter but as a person. He’s happily married to Sherri DuPree, drugs are out of his system, and his outlook on life has changed. Basically, everything doesn’t suck as much as it did when he was writing that life-changing album. After a while all the self-loathing can be quite the drag, and Bemis is more aware of this than ever.

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Review: Say Anything – Say Anything

Say Anything - Say Anything

Max Bemis isn’t pissed anymore. Well, he’s still got a bit of a chip on his shoulder about a few things, but when you just got hitched to a beautiful singer, wife Sherri Dupree of Eisley, why would you continue to be a shell of a man, one that seems bitter at the world they’re playing their heart out in? Bemis is no longer the little kid scared of the world, maturing from a real boy to a kid set to save it. The band’s self-titled isn’t the double disc venture of last time, but a compact one still attempting different elements of pop: some great, some confusing, all Say Anything.

From the start of the disc, the band’s attempts of “pop,” or something like it, are well received through the guitar work of the opening “Fed to Death.” For a second, the opener shines over the city, and possibly sounds as uplifting as anything from Andrew McMahon vocally, but lyrically, a religious open forum, two stories, the later obviously about Jesus Christ.

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Review: Say Anything – In Defense Of The Genre

Say Anything - In Defense Of The Genre

And the record begins with a song spoken by Satan.

Okay, so that’s not as catchy as the line that began 2004’s superb …Is A Real Boy, but Max Bemis ups the ante with the 27 song, double disc major label debut In Defense of the Genre, an album that blends chaos, attitude, insecurity, and about two hundred guest vocalists into an epic portrayal of and journey through Bemis’ thoughts. In what may be the most anticipated album of 2007, Bemis did not copy what made …Is A Real Boy so good. Instead, he channeled even more quirkiness and brutal honesty into his writing that exudes a sense of confidence not heard on previous Say Anything records. 

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Review: Say Anything – … is a Real Boy

Say Anything - ... is a Real Boy

There is a subtle irony that those humble artists and songwriters who would consider themselves of average intellectual “musical” capacity are usually those who provide the most genius and musical evolutionary leaps in their work. Those forefathers (names such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon and Paul McCartney come to mind), were able to capture an attitude and honesty of a generation and its environmental surroundings, and bottle this into a musical vessel that will transcend the tests of time. Please return your seat backs and tray tables to their full and upright positions – a similar musical actualization may have just taken place right in front of our very eyes. The hyperbole found herein is in no way supposed to be taken as an act of “hype,” but instead should be construed as my emotions and thoughts as best as I can seem to construct them into words.

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