Say Anything
Anarchy, My Dear



by Fugue USER (58 Reviews)
May 10th, 2012 | 13 replies

Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Half apathetic and half decent, Anarchy, My Dear is an album destined to just exist.

It seemed inevitable that Say Anything would eventually release a sub-par album. Forever a band built around their frontman’s unstable lifestyle and manic depressive tendencies, the sudden upturn in fortunes for Max Bemis socially was always going to change the band’s fragile dynamic. Back in 2004, the release of …Is A Real Boy sparked notoriety in the pop-punk scene for both its well-crafted, multi-layered musicianship (Woe, Every Man Has A Molly) and for its effortlessly poignant lyricism (Yellow Cat (Slash) Red Cat, Admit It!), a notoriety that grew as Say Anything’s stock rose ever higher. Even when the aggression was scaled down for 2009’s self-titled album, the bite and quirkiness remained; the refined ballads represented a transition in the frontman’s lifestyle but retained the characteristic sense of cynicism and resentment that defined the band. With all that said, Anarchy, My Dear, the first ever self-proclaimed “true punk” album recorded by the band, needed to have a quirk of its own without sacrificing the angst of previous albums, and in that respect it is a downright failure.

The issue of a lack of identity is prominent throughout Anarchy, My Dear and contributes heavily to the uneasy progression between tracks that hinders the cohesion and consistency of the album. Opening track Burn a Miracle partially succeeds where the majority of the record fails in that it feels like a punk song, hostile yet unifying with its hand-claps, clever wordplay and anthemic chorus. In fact, the first three tracks have a clear evolution in style, and while lacking a little ambition, Night’s Song clearly progresses well from the ballad heavy Say Anything and displays genuinely heartfelt emotion. Unfortunately the ill-conceived Admit It Again ends any momentum created by the opening trio, limply rehashing old ideas without any notable purpose or agenda. This laziness is prominent throughout the entire middle section, with ideas both lyrically and musically generously ‘borrowed’ from their back catalogue without any originality or substance, failings which are accentuated through an absence of any pertinent tempo changes. Almost immediately the album stalls and not even guest vocal performances from Mrs Sherri DuPree-Bemis herself can alleviate the uninspiring nature of Overbiter or So Good.

Though duplicated and lazy nothing here is completely devoid of positives – Sheep is full of good ideas, as is the title track - but these are often lost in a wash of overbearing production. Like their self-titled before it, a sleek, glossy sheen has been applied, removing imperfections but at the same time reducing the impact of what’s left. It’s unsurprising that the bookmarks are the two tracks that provide Anarchy, My Dear any sense of purpose or direction as uniquely they’re left slightly raw and unpolished. The Stephen Hawking is a finale worthy of being called a Say Anything track, a gloriously uncertain four-part embodiment of all the best qualities the band is capable of. Liberated from the wash of over-production and glossy synths, Bemis’ caustic snarl is unleashed and an anarchic atmosphere finally reveals itself on an album supposedly celebrating that very property. It is a disappointing reality, but Max Bemis no longer has the drive to produce such work on a consistent basis, and instead of trying to relive past glories, he’d be better suited to trying something a bit different.

Overall 2.5 Average

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user ratings (509)
other reviews of this album
Channing Freeman STAFF (1)
And the shit rains down....

Crymsonblaze (4)
Complacency, My Man...

crandynewman (5)
Not Max's best works but certainly a great album none the less...

Comments:Add a Comment 
May 10th 2012


Written (a while ago) here:

Probably redundant by now but I want to keep up my facade of consistency.

May 10th 2012


Album Rating: 1.5

Good review. Album is turrrrrible.

May 10th 2012


Thought this looked familiar :]

May 10th 2012


forgot this was ever released and liked it better that way

May 10th 2012


Album Rating: 2.5

One of those albums you hear once and forget it ever existed

May 10th 2012


Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Yeah this was lame.

May 10th 2012


Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

really awful and a bummer because i havent listened to iarb once since i heard this and its one of my fav albums

May 10th 2012


These guys are an odd bunch.

May 10th 2012


Good review. Album is turrrrrible. [2]

ilu Ross

May 10th 2012


Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Great review, I agree almost 100%. When I listen to this album all I hear are emotionally empty (lazy) passages and fleeting moments of wasted potential. I could probably like Stephen Hawking more if I devoted time to it and could get used to the non-transition into the happy part... but I'd rather just give that time to Admit It!.

May 10th 2012


Album Rating: 1.5

Sucks so much.

May 11th 2012


Album Rating: 2.5

good review, i was super disappointed with this album also.

May 11th 2012


Been busy as fuck the last few days thanks though everyone.

I don't really think it sucks as much as some people are making out but, I've listened to it a lot and some of the tracks flourished a little down the line. Can totally see people not bothering to do that though - especially because the middle part is just so boring.

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