If Your Throat Isn’t Sore, You’re Doing It All Wrong: Say Anything’s Hebrews

By Charissa Lock

Say Anything is of the singing to nature, not just the listening kind.  The connection to every emotion displayed in full throttle throughout each piece is incomplete until you join forces.  Once your vocal cords begin to vibrate and you have left all proper behavior behind, you will experience Hebrews for what it is.  One of the best parts of Say anything releasing a new album is knowing they’ll be touring shortly after.  There is nothing that compares to Say Anything in a live setting.  Max writes these guttural and honest lyrics, tending to not follow politically correct word usage, set to the catchiest pop rock tunes – a perfect combination for every soul to belt out.

These song types with gang vocals and featured artists tended to be lost in their last Anarchy, My Dear.  The focus appeared to be on the evolution of their instrumentation and technicality, which every band tends to do in their lifetime.  With the stepping down of drummer, Coby Linder, in order to pursue other careers, the Say Anything fans of the world were quite nervous of what this would mean for the duo that had been creating music together since their high school days.  Due to Max being the lyricist and having the larger role in composition, hope was not all lost…just a little shaky.

Hebrews has unknowingly bled together the rock ambiance and catchy melodies from Say Anything (2009) and snappy lyrics with a more electronic backdrop of In Defense of the Genre (2007).  Once Max has a relatable story to preach, his lyrics seem to spill more effortlessly (I’m refraining from using his last name because all I can picture is a grunge chick discussing “Bemis” like they were best friends at a recent show…and frankly I’d rather not imagine her).  Fueling his creative senses of the more obtainable nature (unlike the ideology of anarchy, though it certainly is a valid concept), Hebrews spits and bustles the umbrella feelings of being an outcast whether by choice or by stereotypical force.  Things become a bit more specific with songs like “Kall Me Kubrick” and “Hebrew,” involving the minority in ethnicity, specifically the latter with the connection to Max’s own genetic background.  In Hebrew he cunningly extends, “They say to be a minority is melting in their pot but this soup is foul, I wear a scowl and pine for what I’m not,” when exploring the ignorance of those who feel superior others.

Max breaks things down a little more personal, like we would expect differently, with the actual reaction of those who disregard him as an artist now that he has cleaned up, married, and has a child.  I in fact personally remember reading blog post reactions when Say Anything was released featuring the eclectically marvelous Sherri on a few tracks and lyrics were a bit more pop-like than past albums.  Say Anything “fans” were quite upset by all of this and there were quite a few wishing Max would go back to being off his meds and supplementing them with alcohol and drugs so that he could create music like Is A Real Boy again.  A pretty distasteful reaction and though I haven’t read many recent comments, I’m sure the birth of beautiful Lucy Jean was not celebrated by those who only have confidence when offering their opinions on a keyboard.  Max’s reaction to all of this?  “Judas Decapitation” of course.  Not just saying that there are people out there that suck, he actually throws in quotes by those who protest his happiness,

“I hate that dude now that he’s married.  He’s got a baby on the way, poor Sherri.  That’s not apropos. He’s not the wretch we know. Chop his family up, so we can feed them to the front row. Spike his fifteenth espresso with drugs so he’s convinced it’s a manic delusion to know true love. Be 19 with a joint in hand. Never change the band. Never ever be a …real man.”

He of course answers back in the chorus, which I’ll allow you to enjoy for yourself.  He continues with his personal fight back to haters in “Lost My Touch,” all of which he remains humble at most and other times a tad sarcastic.

There are many great artists who attach themselves to Hebrews, notably Andy Hull from Manchester Orchestra and Tom Delonge from Angels & Airwaves and Blink-182.  All twelve tracks are sprinkled with featured artists, not necessarily duets but rather swirling background vocals, collaborated choruses, or heightened bridge solos. Unlike In Defense of the Genre, which also housed multiple artists, this recent album seems to be a tighter fit of vocals to the song, having a song that is missing a specific voice and needs that artist to complete the sound.

Say Anything has certainly upped the band’s anty on their latest album, inspiring a distaste towards a newer collection of haters.  Within Max’s ravenous lyrics, tempos are tampered with in comfortable transitions within songs opening up for delicious dynamics, the inclusion of the two minute- fifteen second “Boyd” displays a heavy rock anthem, and “My Greatest Fear is Splendid” is quirky and energetic sounding off with a fiddle solo.  Hebrews is exactly what we were wanting from Say Anything, keeping in perspective the beauty of finding, creating, and maintaining love outweighing the ugliness of an uncertain assumption.

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