Posts Tagged ‘Say Anything’
Say Anything lives up to name
By Nick Elmer
October 31, 2007
After the release and then re-release of Say Anything’s …Is a Real Boy, fans have been impatiently awaiting the next installment of singer/songwriter Max Bemis’ toe-tapping, finger-snapping, horrible life.
In Defense of the Genre, the band’s new double-disced concept album about first loves and going crazy (based on the time Bemis first fell in love and went crazy) fills the need. With a hearty serving of defeat, righteously indifferent anger and self-proclaimed triumph, the album feels comfortably of a Say Anything release.
The formula’s intact, no worries there, but that doesn’t mean the release is without its innovations.
Say Anything fans will be satisfied with Bemis’ epic songs of disappointing, lukewarm relationships and frequent satire of the genre it inhabits. The catchy psuedo-showtune-hard-rock-emo hybrid melodies are still present in this album.
This time, though, the monster has leveled up with lots of synthesizers, more female back-up voices, some good oldfashioned Ma and Pa progressive rock time signature changes and the ability to cast “Fireball.”
It’s these new components (minus the fireball) that make the band feel like it’s moving forward in advanced territory. …Is a Real Boy can be considered a 100 or 200 level class in this manner while In Defense of the Genre is an upper 300 level class at the very least.
So you might not want to consider taking it unless Say Anything is your major or a minor you are really serious about. On a side note, everyone happy with their schedules next semester? Yes?
The double album suffers from being unnecessary. Many songs sound like additional thoughts tacked on to previous tracks. They could have easily been one song, just as this release could have easily been a one-disc affair. The double disc’s saving grace is that the release is sold at the price of a single album. So it can be thought that you are purchasing a single album with lots of “commercial breaks” or “background music.” Use these lulls during your listening to go to the bathroom, think of the cool song you just listened to, or get more chips. I can’t decide for you; I’m not in your shoes, man.
While the music on this album is more interesting than previous Say Anything releases, the lyrics are less clever and biting. Maybe the band just ran out of things to say and would rather rock out, or maybe they decided to focus on the song titles (which include such fun-to-type gems as “Retarded in Love” and “You’re The Wanker, If Anyone Is”).
Since the music is so infectious and the lyrics are not that great, it’s an unfortunate side effect to find oneself singing along to such dreadfully uninspired, yet catchy, choruses like “Girlfriend now/I have a girlfriend now/No way, no how/I have a girlfriend now” (“Girlfriend”) or even worse, “She drives me insane/She drives me insane!” (“Have at Thee!”). It can be a little embarrassing to be caught doing this by one’s Transformers Grimlock action figure.
Regardless, Say Anything satisfies its fans with this release while pushing itself forward musically. It’s just a shame the lyrics are not up to snuff and there’s so much empty space in this double album. New listeners might want to pick up …Is A Real Boy for a heartier music selection and then, if they find themselves with the Bemis-bug, snatch up In Defense of the Genre at a later date.