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Say Anything - In Defense of the Genre Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 9.25
Lyrics 9.75
Production 9
Creativity 9.5
Lasting Value 10
Reviewer Tilt 9.5
Final Verdict: 94%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7.77
Musicianship 7.78
Lyrics 8.36
Production 8.97
Creativity 8.67
Lasting Value 8.22
Reviewer Tilt 8.16
Average: 83%
Inside AP.net

Say Anything - In Defense of the Genre

Reviewed by: hollywoodchase (12/26/07)
Say Anything - In Defense of the Genre
Record Label: J Records
Release Date: October 23, 2007


As much as we all try not to be placed by others in this “genre” that Max Bemis & co. refer to, we find some solace in the fact that we have our music in common. This “scene” that we all subscribe to by reading this website and by listening to bands like Say Anything is a powerful entity. So powerful, in fact, that some of our own, like it or not, have broken out into the mainstream and have affected pop culture in a broader sense. This is the music we regard as our favorite, the bands so many of us have claimed changed our lives, and the songs and lyrics people have gone so far as to have them tattooed on their bodies. They are so intensely personal and therapeutic that when someone from outside of this genre dismisses them as “emo,” we dismiss these people as “not getting it.” This brings us to Say Anything’s monstrously epic sophomore LP, In Defense of the Genre, which, for all intents and purposes, is as good as this genre gets.

Bemis has taken it upon himself to grab the reigns and become the self-appointed leader of this movement, which hardly ever gets credit in the mainstream media of warranting critical acclaim. He says it all in the first line of the album’s title track, “Can't you see, my dear, what you create is greater than great / It's beautiful and valid.” A sixteen year old MySpace veteran who swears he liked hellogoodbye before they got big responds, “Wait, so Max Bemis is saying that my new All Time Low CD is beautiful and valid? Right on!” This is where Bemis gets into trouble. On the radio, people hear “Hey There Delilah” and close the book on their knowledge of “emo,” but I believe that even the most arrogant and elitist douche can find merit in this album. This is the music we wish was on the radio. Hell, Bemis even has an all-star supporting cast of scene musicians. Some of which have cred (Trever Keith, Matt Skiba), some of which don’t (Jordan Pundik, Gerard Way). If I had to choose one band and one album to give to a virgin of this scene, I would give them In Defense of the Genre. This is the first step in altering others’ perceptions of the music we so adore.

Ah yes, the music. Bemis has a reputation for lyrics that are insightful, personal, clever, and sometimes honest to a point where the listener is uncomfortable. For example, in “Retarded in Love,” he confesses, “When I touch myself, I am conjuring you.” I would argue the lyrics on this album are smarter, more interesting, yet just as accessible as any other album reviewed this year on AP.net. On Disc 1’s opener he shouts, “Obscure records entombed in his room with mechanical lust, diapered, desolate middle-aged doom. On your knees in his downtrodden shit-eating grin of a room.” He paints his picture with such specific imagery that the listener can’t help but make the connection between his metaphor and the feeling he is expressing. This is just one of the many factors that puts Say Anything atop this scene. Yet for as talented of a lyricist as Bemis is, the most compelling moments on In Defense of the Genre are laced with simplicity. On “Goodbye Young Tutor…” he whispers, “Maxim, I love you. I miss you. And no one will do but you,” and we remember what all of the bitching and anger and frustration are really all about: love.

With such an immense collection of songs, though, some are bound to fall through the cracks. “We Killed It,” “Have at Thee!,” and “The Word You Wield” are all examples of this. These songs hardly contribute to the overall story arc and frankly just aren’t that interesting to the ears. The main difference between the songs on In Defense of the Genre and …Is a Real Boy is the former tones down the fun in favor of more anecdotal story-songs. One of my complaints with In Defense of the Genre is that I want more songs like “About Falling,” where the band rocks hard in an unassuming fashion. Other standout tracks for me would be “Vexed,” “Spores,” and the charming opus that is “The Truth is, You Should Lie with Me.”

It would be impossible to talk about every track, but they all contribute to this daunting task that Bemis has undertaken: to tell his story, while telling the story of all of us. In a way, whether or not you like the change in musical direction or songwriting is irrelevant. This album is bigger than that. While Bemis’ leadership position at the head of our scene wasn’t elected, I, for one, cannot think of a better candidate for the job.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 35
08:04 PM on 12/29/07
#2
psu1fan
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No response to such a straight-forward and honest review of what the album stands for? Interesting...hopefully none are shying away from the sensitive topic of scenes...
08:33 PM on 12/29/07
#3
Neilhouse
Ya slam-dunkin what I'm alleyoopin?
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"About Falling" is probably the worst song on the CD.
09:14 PM on 12/29/07
#4
a.t.123
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"About Falling" is probably the worst song on the CD.


umm...worse than died a jew?
and i don't see how its worse than have at thee or we killed it...

i enjoyed this review
very good job
10:30 PM on 12/29/07
#5
Until The Bombs
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I love the CD. But I'd really like to see someone review it who doesn't like it.
11:20 PM on 12/29/07
#6
saysmydoctor
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"About Falling" is probably the worst song on the CD.
So goddamn wrong, my respect for you has been lowered.
09:08 AM on 12/30/07
#7
newfoundmichael
@SirDaveyBoy
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Worst song: People Like You Are Why People Like Me Exist...imo
09:40 AM on 12/30/07
#8
saysmydoctor
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Also wrong.
10:03 AM on 12/30/07
#9
Sventhegreat
Play it sweet in heaven...
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I really like about falling in love, i think it's a great song. The only song on this cd that i don't care for is 'died a jew.' although i do like the intro to that song. overall i think its one of the best cds i own!
10:31 AM on 12/30/07
FazeThree
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i didnt really like this album in general, not sure why.
11:21 AM on 12/30/07
CyberInferno
Tech Round-up Author,Chipotle Lover
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umm...worse than died a jew?
and i don't see how its worse than have at thee or we killed it...

i enjoyed this review
very good job
Really? "Spores" makes me cringe everytime I hear the intro. It's the only song that I will actually walk across a room to change. Granted, "Jesus died a Jew" is a rather pointless song, but in my opinion, nothing can take the throne from Spores. Overall I love the album, though.
01:58 PM on 12/30/07
i breathe music
Yours&Mine
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hangover song is the worst on the album.
i think about falling is one of the best.
good review.
02:42 PM on 12/30/07
CyrusE
"...it's a mexican pirate!"
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Really really good review! Thank you - you've now persuaded me to actually listen to this album, something I haven't really bothered to do until now.
02:43 PM on 12/30/07
topher465
every shining time you arrive
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I think 94 is a bit high, but good review nonetheless.
04:19 PM on 12/30/07
a.t.123
slap bet commissioner
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Really? "Spores" makes me cringe everytime I hear the intro. It's the only song that I will actually walk across a room to change. Granted, "Jesus died a Jew" is a rather pointless song, but in my opinion, nothing can take the throne from Spores. Overall I love the album, though.


i agree that the beginning of spores is slightly cringe worthy, however i enjoy the rest of the song
that doesnt make it a good song obviously
but it also isnt bad
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