A Delicious Addition to the Say Anything Collection: Say Anything’s Anarchy, My Dear

Say Anything

By Charissa Lock 

Dizziness, exhaustion, and jubilation are the after effects to having just watched Max and the rest of the sweat-soaked band at their album release party live streaming.  Thousands of miles away, I was head-mashing and singing along (that may be an awkward conversation with my landlady tomorrow…), to the point where when I stood after it ended, I felt dizzy.  Say Anything knows how to put on a show.  Everyone knows that heavy doses of “bodily juices” (Max Bemis apologies to the front row) are expelled and throats are left raw.  But this isn’t a concert review, because heck, I wasn’t even there.  I just wanted to warn you of where I’m coming from as I dissect Say Anything’s fourth LP (fifth if you count Baseball, which they finally seem to be doing these days).

It seemed that every time Max would announce they would be releasing an album closer to …Is A Real Boy (most popular and fan-crazed) it never seemed to be as close as what we were all expecting.  This doesn’t mean these albums weren’t good, they definitely had great tracks and are essential to the collection, but they did not hit that point of raw emotion and blunt Bemis-nature.  So when Max announced that in fact, Anarchy, My Dear, would be the closest they would get without having anyone in the band risk their life, I was hesitant.  Yet, as fans were informed Tim O’Heir (producer of …Is A Real Boy) was back on board and they had signed to Equal Vision Records, there was this possibility that maybe it could get there.  And it did.

Though the element of “I’ll never have rough sex with Molly Connolly again” is gone (due to the fact that the band is over 24 and Bemis has control over his life), there is that anger-towards-mindless-followers-and-hypocrites emotion that seemed to have gotten lost in the higher production quality of the past records.  I’m happy to announce they’re back to the grittiness that we (yes, “we”) all loved from the get-go.

What is Anarchy, My Dear like for those who may be unfamiliar with Say Anything?  Well, it has a major theme (as do the other albums), and this time Bemis is focusing on anarchy.  As he has shared in many interviews and promotions, it is not the kind where he wants to take over the government and brainwash the public, but more of a personal anarchy.  Separating from the everyday drones of society’s pressures and persuasions so that you can view and appreciate things from your personal perspective.  Though it takes a bit to get used to the love ballad to anarchy on the title track, you have to know where he’s coming from to understand it properly.  With this as the foundation, there are numerous strands preaching to other annoyances in life, accomplishments, and adding a love song or two in there (because who wouldn’t want to sing about Sherri Dupree-Bemis?).

The album has all the necessary elements of a Say Anything album, loud and emotional moments on the end of 5+ minute songs (“The Stephen Hawking”), quote-worthy lyrics (“Night’s Song,” “Peace Out,” etc.), connections from past albums (“Admit It Again”), sing-along single (“Burn A Miracle,” “Say Anything”),  Sherri’s background vocals (“So Good,” etc.),  great guitar solos (“Anarchy, My Dear” etc), and those unexpected pop-filled catchy songs (“Overbiter”).  This album has a new addition – noteworthy endings.  On past albums, the endings were quick and to the point, sometimes there would be lingering guitar solos or vocals, but nothing straying from the rest of the song.  However, on Anarchy, My Dear we are introduced to minute long piano solos and shoegazing-esque synthesizer extensions, along with longer and quieter choral vocals.  Not on every song, but enough to make me realize that Say Anything isn’t sticking to one sound, but using multiple elements of where the future of music is going (without changing who they are).   This is comforting as a lover of all music, and not just Say Anything, and the hopes that they would grow, without giving anything away.

The more you listen, the more you can separate the songs.  This album definitely does a good job of creating the feel of a pseudo-48-minute song (in an organic growth way, not boring monotonous way).   As you learn the delicious-Bemis-festered lyrics you feel like you’ve just left a mental, emotional, and physical cleansing session from all your distaste with society.  A purification ceremony in the form of Max Bemis and Coby Linder doing all the hard work and you reaping all the benefits (and respectively Jake and Jeff Turner, Parker Case, and Adam Siska implementing their own adaptations and influences during live shows).   Anarchy, My Dear is a way of life, as well as a musically impressive album of eleven significant anthems.

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