Say Anything - Anarchy, My Dear
There’s a good chance Say Anything’s new album, Anarchy, My Dear, is the record the band’s hardcore fans have been waiting eight years for.
The group’s 2004 much-loved breakthrough …Is a Real Boy, featured an awkward and quirky sound that was
different from anything on the punk-rock scene. But Say Anything chose to go in a slightly different direction on its next two albums. And who could blame them?
2007’s In Defense Of The Genre was a more straight-forward rock album, while 2009’s self-titled album played heavier on emotion. Both records were solid, but they found Say Anything sounding (for lack of a better word) normal.
On Anarchy,frontman Max Bemis and company have gone back to their roots, bringing in …Is a Real Boy producer Tim O’Heir to take everything the band has been about over the past decade and meld it into a cohesive effort of very strong tunes. Mission accomplished.
“Night’s Song” would sound right at home with Say Anything’s early material, with its quirky lyrics and a slow paced sound that builds into a sharp Queen-influenced guitar solo. Truth be told, if you had to pull one track from Anarchy to play for a Say Anything newbie, “Night’s Song” would be it.
The lyrics on the song “Say Anything” (“Condemn my recent genocide, if it meant that I could lay with you.“) go back to Bemis’ early days of songwriting. As does the humorous lead-single “Burn A Miracle,” and the scathing of “Admit It Again,” which takes jabs at music critics and posers: “I don’t want to hear about how the latest Rihanna single is a post-modern masterpiece. Stop punishing me,” Bemis screams with frustration.
Still, the most interesting thing about Anarchy is that we find Bemis revisiting the themes and style of …Is A Real Boy, while his own personal life has changed so much. Back in 2004, Bemis was self-admittedly depressed and on a number of drugs. These days, he is happily married, and, just like on 2009′s Say Anything, it shows. The most obvious example is “So Good,” where he talks about going “cold turkey” and finding his dream girl.
Overall, Anarchy is the sound of a band that has evolved, but hasn’t forgotten who it is. Say Anything may be returning to revisiting earlier days, but Bemis and company have certainly sprinkled the best parts of its post-2004 existence. In that sense, Anarchy is one of Say Anything’s best albums yet.
~ Troy L. Smith