Most Anticipated of 2016: #7 Say Anything Get Weird (Again)

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In Defense of the Genre

There are few bands who truly take the term “reinvention” to heart the way that Say Anything’s Max Bemis does. With an extremely loyal fanbase still hypnotized by …Is a Real Boy, Say Anything inspires a unique sound every record, even going so far as to remove all of his signature guitar work and replace it with synth and orchestral instruments on the fantastic Hebrews. It’s difficult to predict what type of album will be next, but it’s guaranteed to force the fans to argue where it ranks amongst the rest of them for the next year.

The other reason to be excited is that Max Bemis is extremely, and unapologetically honest in his songwriting. The lyrics are bittersweet and hopeful at best and horrifically brutal at worst. His storytelling is enchanting and finds themes that other bands skim the edges of, if not avoid altogether. Although Bemis has been much more positive for the last several years, it hasn’t impacted his ability to write engaging lyrics that hold the listener’s attention just as much as guitar solos.

Bemis is one of the most prolific writers in the scene, and has been since he caught the nation’s attention over a decade ago, and personifies the phrase “unafraid to experiment.” Each album feels fresh and tends to provide an update to past releases, making the entire discography relevant again.

If nothing else, the chance to read interviews with Max Bemis as he explains the new album, attempts to explain what it sounds like, and describes his mindset with it are almost as entertaining as the album itself.

BONUS:
There have been rumors for a long time that Two Tongues, the side project for members of Say Anything and Saves the Day (Yay Chris Conley!) would be releasing an album in 2015, spurred by a tweet from Max Bemis early last year. Unfortunately, Two Tongues didn’t materialize last year, but if work was underway on a new album, it may be the first new release from the band since 2009. Until concrete details are released, it’s not a good time to get one’s hopes up, but at least there is a good possibility that it will come sometime in the near future.

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 takes any chance to have a conversation about Max Bemis and Say Anything at every opportunity.

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Say Anything’s roaming inspiration

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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.