"And the record begins with a song of rebellion". These are the first words you will hear when you put on this album. The tone in which it's said, the passion behind those 9 words, it sets the feel for the next 58 minutes. What we have here is lyrically one of the best albums of the decade. While the music industry is flooded with catchy hooks and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, it takes just one album to turn it upside-down and make people think "What the hell were we listening to before?"
Say Anything are relatively unknown. I can prove this, since I know this review will get few, if any, comments. Say Anything are not a perfect band. They have rough vocals, off-timed music in some places. But the amount they will go through to send a message is very touching.
This CD is a statement. Described as "The motherfu
cking feel-good hit of the year!", you know it's something special. I'd go as far as to compare this to 2003's Deja Entendu
by pop-punkers Brand New, probably my favourite album of all time. And the fact that this young boy is only 18 just makes you wonder "Bring on his sophomore album! Now!"
The album opens up with a hard-hitting song aimed at the record industry. You bob your head along, taking in lyrics for the next time you listen to it. And by the time it's on your 2nd or 3rd time round, you are singing out loud "So what say you, and all your friends, meet all of my friends, in the alley tonight?". It's a perfect opening song for the album, all including a gritty introduction and sing-a-long lyrics filled with angst and rage, a subject you will find on every track on this album.
By the time "Woe" begins, it is perceptible that the band has a grasp on crafting songs that do not follow a formula, or insult the listener by maintaining a hold on one particular style or sound. "Woe" and "The Writhing South" flow beautifully like folk songs, protest songs, what the hell you want to call them. Say Anything are natural songwriters influenced by nothing but their opinions.
"Alive With The Glory Of Love" completes astounds me. How an 18 year old boy can write a fast-paced indie song about World War 2 just amazes me. Combining the subjects of sex and the Holocaust, I just wonder how hard a song it is to write! The lyrics blend perfectly with the music, the drum rolls which are always apparent on this song, the badly played solo. Quite possibly the best written song on this album (But not the best song, as you will see later).
So it's 4 songs in, the album tone has been set and you can see where most songs are going now. But you don't know exactly what they will be about. "Yellow Cat (Slash. Red Cat)" is a tale of Max watching on as races attack other races, and he can do nothing about it. It's not the best aong on the album, since the music is nothing that new and the message isn't as strong, and it is about 5 minutes. Still, it's not easy to skip this song.
"The Futile" contains honesty and witty satire with words like, “eat, sleep, [size=2fu[/size]ck and flee – 4 words, that’s me," and “What do the old people teach you but how to die? What do your hissy fits teach you except how to cry? Cry, pu
ssy, cry." It's an amazing song when you listen to the lyrics in it's entirety. A blatent disregard for manners or respect for anything really, and at 2:45, this song really expresses the rage inside of Max.
I'm not doing this anymore. I can sum up most of the album with one word. Sex. The songwriter is clearly obsessed, nay, needs sex. He craves it badly, and shows his opinions and need for it in the songs on this album. Nearly all of them revolve around this subject. "Spidersong", "Every Man Has His Molly", "I Want To Know Your Plans". Obviously, all express other aspects of the subject, but they resemble it all.
And then there's "Admit It!!", my new favourite song. The song begins with a gang of people shouting "Admit it!". This song, well, scratch that. This poem is a 6 minute attack on the "emo" scene, words said by Max in hate and anger backed with a somewhat catchy and heavy piece of music. Lyrics like "You know nothing about art or sex that you couldn’t read in any trendy New York underground fashion magazine!" and "When you walk by a group of quote unquote normal people, you chuckle to yourself patting yourself on the back as you scoff!". It's beautiful really, it describes a lot of people I (and probably you) know, ever trying to be non-conforming, yet conforming to this. The singer spills his guts in this song, singing "I worry about how this album will sell because I believe that it will determine the amount of sex I will have in the future", and drawing that line between himself and the listener.
This album is a songwriter's heaven. One of 2004's best records, sadly completely overlooked and forgotten about. Well buy it, listen to it once and write it off. Then listen to it again, and again. You will dig deeper into this genius' lyricary, finding more and more truth in everything he says. Feeling sympathy for his sex-crazed mind, his "hard" life of emotion and the band. Believe me when I say this was one of the best albums of 2004. I don't give 5 stars out ever now, but I truely believe this album deserves it. 57 minutes of a lust-filled life, angst, rage, jealousy and everything that's inbetween.