Say Anything
Say Anything


3.0
good

Review

by Jacob R. STAFF
November 20th, 2011 | 29 replies | 3,040 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Chapter 3: Max Bemis’ sterilization.

The most appealing notion of Say Anything’s first two releases (excluding Baseball, of course) is that it felt like, somehow, Max Bemis understood all of our woes. So many skeletons in Max’s closet were released, so many relatable topics were left exposed, and this feeling of going through challenges along with Max that the fans experienced was why so many held the band in such high esteem. Is… A Real Boy captured an apt portrait of the teenager inside us all, and was a clear snapshot of Bemis’ mental instability and unhappiness, while In Defense of the Genre was rather a defense of Bemis himself and his emotions, and him experimenting to find ways to overcome his mental maladies. Such a successful endeavor would inevitably lead to an immediately more impressive follow-up, with our favorite frontman sporting a more level-headed approach to songwriting. However, it certainly isn’t this one; it seems that Max Bemis has lost the faculties to write anything stirring on his band’s third album.

Say Anything is a self-titled release, and this naturally lends credence to the idea that the artists fully believe the songs contained on it to most acutely represent the landmark they’re aiming for as a band. If this is the case, then I’m worried for the boys as I’ve never been before, seeing as the anthems here ring hollow and forced, and the more fun parts tend to come across as contrived, serving as more of a masquerade to deftly conceal a lack of ideas on Bemis’ behalf. Instead of the more raw and blunt parts stringing together their earlier releases, the emphasis here is on more relatable lines, albeit, more cliché ones that just give the impression that they simply exist to beguile newer potential fans into giving the band notice. It’s funny to think that Say Anything once had clear, understandable messages in their music, told through webs of clever similes and analogies. The messages here are now mostly too specific and impersonal to care about from more than a shallow level of enjoyment, lacking the subject matter that drew the majority of the insecurity-driven fanbase of Say Anything to their concerts in the first place.

It unfortunately seems that the creative edge has been eroding ever so gradually in the past few years for the gentlemen that once wrote the anthems that defined the life of many a teenager. It’s also hard for them to come across as completely sincere when the level of overproduction is overwhelming – gone are the days when unnerving guitar feedback squeaks could be found between the chord splashes, replaced entirely by silky-smooth production that allows for no technical error whatsoever. “Do Better” is quite catchy, but could have been much better if it didn’t give off the vibe of being produced by Mr. Clean himself. Just as a sparkling-clean house is significantly less welcoming than a friend’s cozy apartment with its lights dimmed, the signs of life in Say Anything’s music are what make its guests feel most comfortable. Instead of successfully convincing us that he knows our woes in life, Bemis comes across as more of a man that has everything he wants, having already having dealt with life’s struggles long ago, long enough ago to have forgotten what dismay the troubles of life’s troughs are capable of causing.

It is true that I haven’t given the album enough credit, and that most of this is simply a lack of understanding the album’s purpose, although it is at least an enjoyable release. “Mara and Me” is a definite contender for the band’s best song yet, and serves as a fine example of the band blossoming from their experiences over the years and letting it contribute to their music. “Death for My Birthday” is a thoroughly pleasant narrative that illustrates the importance of appreciating what one has in life, and the imagery Bemis provides through the song’s ending somehow simultaneously meets the goal of being chilling to the bone, as well as being inspirational. These pinnacles of Say Anything’s discography underscore what this release could have been, and makes all the more frustrating how oddly sterile the album is as a whole.

If Max and his friends hadn’t raised the bar so high with their prior music excursions, then perhaps they could get away with their newest release a bit more easily. This is a good album, and boasts some quite enjoyable songs, but the hardest concept to cope with is that Say Anything have reduced themselves to creating only good albums. One can hope that Max Bemis will find a way to both be content with life, and create music that is intriguing and absorbing. As a long-time fan fervently desiring a step up in quality, I must say that if this is truly the direction in which Say Anything want to go, then perhaps it really is time for some anarchy.



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user ratings (739)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • crandynewman (4)
    Although its not as consistently good as their other albums, Say Anything by the band of t...

    Plutonio (2)
    Say Anything's eponymous fourth album is pop-punk's small penis slowly revealing itself to...

    John weathered old reviewer Hanson STAFF (4.5)
    If you're into the movie "High Fidelity" you'll love this album....

    Adam Knott EMERITUS (4)
    On Mara And Me, Max Bemis asserts that he "can't define [himself] through irony and self-d...

  • Eric (4.5)
    How much more can we really expect? Say Anything is at the crescendo of their skyrocketing...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
November 20th 2011



49955 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album pisses me off

Digging: Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) - You Will Eventually Be Forgotten

Rev
November 20th 2011



9402 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is so good, what you talking bout Treboris?

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 20th 2011



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Does it piss you off for the same reason it pisses me off, Trebor? ;]

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
November 20th 2011



49955 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 20th 2011



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Well then you're a smart man.

You know you need to do more negative reviews when your lowest review rating is still a 3...

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 20th 2011



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Yeah, I feel the same way Andcas. If he could find a more effective way to make interesting music I'd be much more content.

Crymsonblaze
November 20th 2011



7479 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really good review. Pos'd. I definitely like the album more than you do, but I agree with a lot of your points.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 20th 2011



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Crymsonblaze, thank you very much friend! I really wanted to like this album more, but it just feels so hollow.

Crymsonblaze
November 20th 2011



7479 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

No problem man! I agree it does ring a little more false than IARB or IDOTG but I think andcas nailed it when he said it's because he's married and religious now.

Other than Hate Everyone, and She Won't Follow You, I think the songs work and are catchy and still mostly retain that Bemis wordplay. But I definitely agree they're harder to relate to.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 20th 2011



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Yeah, there isn't as much conflict in his music now. I love Max and want him to be happy, but it's just unfortunate that it seems when that's the case the quality of his music takes a dip.

There are songs that I feel have great lyrics, and more mature ones like Cemetery, Mara and Me and Death for My Birthday. I actually forgot to mention Property in the review somehow, an incredible song.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2011



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Me too, man.

Let's just rob his home and his wife and everything of value to him, and then he'll make something great m/

Slum
November 21st 2011



2579 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

fuck this album

Xenophanes
Emeritus
November 21st 2011



10592 Comments


Solid review man, I pretty much agree with everything

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
November 21st 2011



7982 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

you guys just don't understand

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2011



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

AMEN.

..Kinda.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 27th 2011



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Ah Xenophanes I didn't see your comment, thank you very much friend.

WatchItExplode
November 27th 2011



3213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

c'mon, this isn't less than 3.5 no way

Slum? really?

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
November 27th 2011



10041 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

But this just isn't that good. Come on, man; join the crowd. We're all fairly attractive people.

ohfoxxxycole
November 27th 2011



4353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wrong

WatchItExplode
November 27th 2011



3213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album probably has my least favorite tracks SA tracks ever, but how can you deny Do Better and Property?



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