Release Date: Nov 3, 2009
Record label: RCA
Genre(s): Rock, Pop, Punk
Clocking in at 46 minutes -- nearly half the running time of 2007's In Defense of the Genre -- Say Anything's fourth album is both trim and tuneful, with Max Bemis devoting more focus than ever to the tightening of his quirky, unchained pop songs. "Focus" is a relative term, of course; the frontman still finds time to run wild throughout this disc, rearranging conventional song structures like Picasso and sampling from multiple genres -- emo, rock, punk-pop, R&B, even doo wop -- with greedy glee. The choruses boast stronger hooks this time around, though, which lends heft to Say Anything's musical mish-mash, and the band's willingness to break rules is what makes this album so refreshing.
Max Bemis is currently fronting the most important emo-rock band working today. Also, Max Bemis is a liar. When the problem-plagued Bemis unleashed his debut album ... Is a Real Boy in 2004, the members of the Alternative Press nation took a step back and asked a very simple question: who the hell was this guy? Say Anything—Bemis’ long-standing band with only one prior album to their credit (2001’s Baseball, which Bemis has all but disowned)—didn’t play by genre conventions in the least.
Say Anything’s leader Max Bemis has grown up quite a bit. No longer the bipolar and perennially sarcastic teenager of …Is A Real Boy, Bemis is now happily married and devoutly Christian. His newer songs, therefore, are much more likely to be about God or marriage than girls who touch themselves over the phone. It’s almost a shame.