Say Anything’s roaming inspiration


Max Bemis has been busy lately. This year alone, he’s written comics, released an album with his wife under the name Perma and reportedly recorded half of the songs for the new Two Tongues CD with Saves the Day front man, Chris Conley.

Most importantly, though, he’s been working with Say Anything, recording the new album for 2014. Say Anything is, to say the least, an erratic band, verbally poetic, biting and viciously honest, which is why their next album titillates me so damn much.

I feel like Bemis has slightly lost his edge. The music from Is A Real Boy… is unfiltered punk, heavy themed and powerful. In Defense of the Genre held tight to those reigns, mixing in a slew of new sounds and genres that not only pushed the boundaries of the band, but the ideas behind the it as well: recovery, self exploration and confirmation. The music itself sounded bare boned, as though not much was done to the sound after the recording; what came out of the instruments is what made it onto the record.

But the self titled album is where it started to lighten up. The guitars didn’t carry such heavy riffs and the lyrics took the form of catchy pop, instead of the dark self introspection of the last albums, and partially carried over to Anarchy, My Dear. “Admit It Again”, a sequel to SA’s iconic song, “Admit It!!!” from their most recent album is a bridge connecting the old and new styles, however it doesn’t have the same bite, almost feeling like he’s holding back from really digging deep at the scene, as the song is meant to.

What’s important here though, is that while most bands would lose their fan base with the slightest change (punk to more pop, the removal of most swears), it tends to make Max Bemis stand out as an artist. While the darker, heavier music is planted as influenced by his time battling bipolar disorder and drug abuse, the poppier side and far less dramatic part of the band’s discography is the healing.

Say Anything’s most recent songs have hints of the heavier aspects of their music, but never commits fully. It’s a true sign to the fact that Bemis himself is in a good place and committed to his art even if the inspiration may not be coming from the same place.

As his first child was recently born, the direction of the new album is something that I can’t stop obsessing over. It’s a curiosity to think of the pop rock with the hidden melancholy and where he’ll be lyrically with a whole world of new inspirations coming from a life that is obviously happier and under control.

It’s rare to be able to see a band transition inspiration from a place of darkness to a positive surrounding, while maintaining to spirit of defiance and defense of taste. But in a sense, that’s the essence of what Say Anything is: the statement of what music is artistically, attacking the basic models of musical inspiration from outside angles for both the sound and lyricism.

With the tilt of the pop punk genre towards positivity and less depressive, teenage heartbreak, I can’t wait to see Max’s take on it from where he is today, not only as a master of the industry, but as a performer who lives to defy expectation and continuously reinvigorate the very scene that he grew from.

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and yells at the rain on occasion. He also wants to play you in FIFA.


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