Review Summary: If you're into the movie "High Fidelity" you'll love this album.
If you hate Say Anything, Say Anything
isn’t going to do a Goddamn thing to change that. All the reasons to hate Max Bemis and Co., the self assuredness, the all too self aware irony, the hints of utter douchery, the obnoxious vocals and tacky freak outs are all still here and perhaps in even greater amounts than ever before. After a string of records that include an album that has been pretty much disowned, one that could nearly be called a musical, and a (pop-punk) double album, it was going to be hard for Say Anything to surprise anyone with their self titled effort. They did what is perhaps the most surprising thing possible: make an unabashedly pop record, and be even more ridiculously ironic than ever before.
Throughout the course of the album, you’ll notice the fact that SA pretty much took the pop aspects from In Defense of the Genre
, threw them in a more …Is a Real Boy
type package, and for good measure threw in a beachy love song just to piss people off. While lead single “Hate Everyone” and the next couple tracks (“Do Better” and “Less Cute”) come off as silly pop blips, they are just as well written as anything from their past and feature catchier hooks and melodies than you’re probably used to hearing include the phrase “He's like a Wal-Mart version of you/But he'll have to do”. “Eloise” and “Mara and Me” are more traditionally classic Say Anything numbers, with “Eloise” managing to be a more serious “*** off, girl” song than “That is Why” ever managed to be. “Mara and Me” is possibly this reviewers new favorite Say Anything song; imagine if “ArcArsenal” by At the Drive-In was an artsy-fartsy pop rock song rather than an artsy-fartsy hardcore song. Yeah, blows your mind (I know).
Lyrically, Bemis decides to take the silliness and chic irony to new heights while perhaps leaving less to the imagination. While there are obvious standout moments, unlike in the past songs most often are actually more entertaining taken as wholes (Yeah blows your mind [I know]). “Crush’d” is fanatically saccharine and horribly self-deprecatingly sweet, as Bemis confesses how he just can’t deserve such a wonderful lady friend because well, he is a piece of ***. “Death For My Birthday” sees him make points that may actually be deep enough to go over my head to a degree, in a good way (see: Yellow Cat (Slash) Red Cat). Death, love, friendship, and the end of the world, and it never comes across as pretentious. And he juxtaposes this with the incredibly direct “Young, Dumb, and Stung” which centers entirely around a verse meant to totally *** on an ex-childhood friend. Yeah, this is still Max Bemis people.
Pretty much, Say Anything
offers more for fans and opens up the Say Anything sound for new ‘users’ to come and enjoy. It’s the perfect balance of a step forward and a redaction to a more “safe” sound. While “Cemetery” and “She Won’t Follow You” are a pretty big wall of “uh…this is okay?” in the middle of the record, even those songs have their redeeming qualities (“There's nothing like the brain of a beautiful girl/When they grasp the fallacy of the world”) and overall Say Anything
is another excellent release in the canon of Say Anything. It’s not a classic album, but its an album that is so charming despite its “smell” (so to say), its easy to fall in love with. I could draw parallels to its band’s crazy front man all day, but that would only cause the idiots who kept reading after I used a line as putrid as “canon of Say Anything” to have to keep reading this drivel. Glad you kept reading though, have a great night!