Say Anything – Anarchy, My Dear
Record Label: Equal Vision Records
Release Date: March 13 2013
California indie/pop-punk band Say Anything is one that I’ve had minimal experiences with. In 2007, I picked up a copy of an Alternative Press compilation record that was a “back to school” to kind of record, and it featured a lot of rarities and acoustic songs by bands such as Chiodos, Paramore, Envy On The Coast, Bayside, Gym Class Heroes, Every Time I Die, and plenty of other bands. Essentially, this is the record that really got me into music, because I was curious to check out every single one of these bands, or at least, almost all of them. Say Anything had a song entitled “Walk Through Hell,” and I love that track, but for a long time, it was the only song I knew. I always enjoyed vocalist Max Bemis’ vocal style as well as his clever, witty, and very interesting lyrics. I decided to listen to the self-titled record that was released a few years ago in the spring of 2012, which was after fifth record Anarchy, My Dear was released. I recall that record being leaked a few weeks ahead of the release date, which was a big deal, but nonetheless, I didn’t want to check that out first. For whatever reason, I decided to listen to the record before that, which was the self-titled. I enjoyed the record for what it was; there were some tracks that didn’t do much for me, but the tracks that hit, really hit. The same can be said for this record, but the difference is, every track hits and they hit very hard. This record is a nice mix between pop-punk and indie. Bemis himself has said that this was a more “raw” record, and in all honesty, I really can hear that when I’m listening to the record. Despite being raw, it’s still unique, and very engaging. Bemis and co. really know what they’re doing and they do it very well. This is a rather eccentric record, just because it’s unlike anything I’ve heard, and that’s coming from a guy who’s only listened to one other Say Anything record, and even that was quite eccentric as well. With all of that being said, let’s take a look at this record, and see what it makes it so unique, shall we?
The record begins with “Burn a Miracle,” and even on the first song, the record takes off. This song is just high-spirited energy the whole four minutes. It starts off with handclaps, and when Bemis’ voices kick in, it makes me insanely excited for the song, and the rest of the record as well. To be honest, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that Bemis is the center of Say Anything, and his lyrics/voice make the band quite great, despite how talented the other members are. The instrumentation does make them better, but Bemis is one of the most interesting and unique vocalists I’ve heard in a very long time. His passionate voice, and his clever/witty lyrics are what make him so great. Anyway, as for the song itself, the way he screams “Burn a miracle if you’ve got a soul; burn a miracle, burn America!” It’s absolutely energetic, and just fun to listen to, despite the dark and moody lyrics. Second song “Say Anything,” which is a rather interesting title, considering that’s the name of the band, is a nice catchy song. It doesn’t really do a lot in the long run, but it’s catchy, and sweet. I did mention that a lot of the songs on here do hit, and they are enjoyable songs, but some songs stick out much more than others. One of those tracks is third track “Admit It Again.” This song is great because it has a lot of spiteful, and rather hateful lyrics towards someone that Bemis is speaking about. It’s hilarious, but it’s angry, which makes it great. The instrumentation isn’t too memorable, but what’s memorable is Bemis’ ranting on someone that we don’t really know about. This is the opposite of fourth track “So Good,” which reminds me of “Crush” from the self-titled record, although, that song was a cutesy song about having a crush on someone, this song seems like Bemis is talking about meeting a woman at a bar or club, and he’s merely saying she looks good, and he might fall in love with her. This song is also memorable because it’s one of two songs that feature Bemis’ wife Sherri DuPree, who is in the indie band Eisley (who also has a record coming out this year that I’m anxiously awaiting) and she also appeared on the band’s self-titled record in 2009 as well. She appears on another track, but it’s not for another few songs.
Meanwhile, next track, “Sheep” is the shortest song, but also one of the most interesting. It has a very catchy chorus, and the synth is most prevalent on this track. It’s rather straightforward, but it works quite well. It’s kind of interesting, because seventh track “Peace Out” is a five-minute acoustic track that slows down the record a bit. It’s one of the most beautiful sounding tracks, too. There’s also a very nice mandolin solo/instrumental towards the very end, which just absolutely slays. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise when I say that the rest of the record is great, right? Oh, it’s definitely right. These last four songs are absolutely fantastic, and that’s just putting it lightly. “Overbiter” is “So Good Part 2,” in the sense that it’s another very catchy song that features his wife, even if the subject matter of the lyrics isn’t so cutesy. After the catchy “Of Steel,” come the last two tracks, the title track, and “The Stephen Hawking.” The former is a very laidback track that features a cool little guitar solo towards the end; this song really does sum up the entire record. The latter is the longest song on the record, and it clocks in at 7 and a half minutes, but it works quite well. It almost seems like two songs in one, because at about 4 minutes in, the song changes and a very relaxed instrumental kicks in, and just continues for awhile, until Bemis’ voice comes back, but much slower, yet still just as passionate. It ends the album quite nicely, because it’s a stark contrast from the opening track “Burn a Miracle,” which was just energetic and a great track to start off with. This record is definitely different from the self-titled record I heard last year, but that’s a good thing, because this seems like a step forward, and I like it.