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Say Anything - Anarchy, My Dear (Cover Artwork)

Say Anything

Say Anything: Anarchy, My DearAnarchy, My Dear (2012)
Equal Vision Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: SloaneDaleySloaneDaley
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Sometime around around 2005, Say Anything seemed poised to take over the world. The band's sophomore album, ...Is A Real Boy, was set to be reissued by major label J Records and Max Bemis was being heralded in some quarters as the voice of a generation. Well, Say Anything never seemed to capitalize .
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Sometime around around 2005, Say Anything seemed poised to take over the world. The band's sophomore album, ...Is A Real Boy, was set to be reissued by major label J Records and Max Bemis was being heralded in some quarters as the voice of a generation. Well, Say Anything never seemed to capitalize on its momentum as that reissue took a year longer than expected and a follow-up didn't come 'til 2007. The bloated In Defense of the Genre received a mixed reception from fans and critics alike. The theatrical magic of the group's debut seemed to have been spent over its next few releases and there was no coming back, at least until Anarchy, My Dear.

What made ...Is A Real Boy so great is as self-aware and self-reflexive it got, it was still a true rock spectacle. Anarchy, My Dear operates in much of the same ways without sounding like a copy of the original, even producing a sequel to "Admit It!!!". "Burn A Miracle" finds Bemis in storytelling mode, switching between third and first person and blurring the line between societal criticism and confessional over a rhythmic post-punk instrumental. Where "Admit It!!!" lashed out at the fake fashion over substance scene the band came up in, "Admit It Again" takes aim at those that abandoned the band after ...Is A Real Boy and thrive on a sense of Internet cool. Like the original this is a mostly spoken-word performance from Bemis, but it is a far more musical and brief offering, in some ways trumping the first installment.

Since the band's inception as a relatively generic pop-punk band, Say Anything has evolved with each release, incorporating new influences from arena rock to R 'n' B and Anarchy, My Dear is no different. You have songs like "So Good" and "Sheep" that are grounded in synthpop, which is relatively new territory for Say Anything. Then there are places that could fit more easily into past work but with slight twists thrown in so so they don't feel like retreads. For instance, "Night Song" has a bass-driven show tunesy quality and gnarly guitar solo that wouldn't have been out of place on ...Is A Real Boy, but it gives way to a repetitive, ethereal section that recalls '90s emo. While it is easy to see aspects of the '60s folk movement in Say Anything's previous records and Bob Dylan cover, "Peace Out" marries contemporary pop sensibility with a much older folk tradition.

Anarchy, My Dear easily contains some of Say Anything's best work to date. It is contemplative, confident and infectious with really dynamic compositions. The overt poppishness of much of the album may turn some listeners off but compared to what a lot bands pass off as pop, this album is a breath of fresh air. If you've written off the band recently this album is a reason to come back and give Bemis a second chance.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
bongsmcj (March 15, 2012)

honestly it sounds more like Baseball than anything else

axl09 (March 14, 2012)

the First Three Songs are pretty good, and Stephen Hawking is okay, Otherwise it's pretty bad. And I actually liked their last album. It sounds more like is a Real boy than their other albums, except its bad. Really disappointed on this one.

oldpunkerforever (March 14, 2012)

The only thing I like about this band is Sherri, oh wait, thats Eisley-oldpunker-

telegraphrocks (March 13, 2012)

Is this that band with the fat bitch singer, and some song that goes "called her on the phone and she touched herself"?
If so... thumbs down.

bongsmcj (March 13, 2012)

but yes, lots of love for this album over here from yet another strange, slow and (slightly) old person

bongsmcj (March 13, 2012)

you forgot to mention the bass guitar work. spectacular.

anarchypants (March 13, 2012)

You said it Eazy

jetsetpaul (March 13, 2012)

I'm actually a fan of Say Anything (I liked their last self-titled album almost as much as IARB) but I can't get into this album. And Admit It! Again has to be one of the worst songs I've ever heard by Say Anything.

meathousehoolihan (March 13, 2012)

poop.

bastard_squad (March 13, 2012)

This band isn't good. I don't get it at all. All I smell are farts and everybody else smells roses.

actually_OFFENDS_me (March 13, 2012)

Another thing that actually OFFENDS me, which is hard to to these days, are the people who are pissed that musicians make money. The strange, slow, old people on punknews.org and the few annoying stragglers on this website.

danperrone (March 13, 2012)

another 4/5 WOW

wearestillalive (March 13, 2012)

ugh.

uncle_leo (March 13, 2012)

I loved this as a Say Anything album. I loved the pure, ridiculous joy that came with the instances of pure poppiness. I loved the anger of Admit Again. I was hooked by the fantastic instrumentation, including the bass and many other background instruments. There weren't many detrimental things I had to say about this album. The only thing I could say critically is that it, in parts, it tends to fall into an obnoxious, very typical type of songwriting that includes the huge separation between verses and choruses. So many of the songs make an attempt to create a hook/sing along type part and it just seemed so out of place. It just seemed like the songs were written to be better than this type of typicality. The verse lyrics in so many songs seemed so well thought-out that the simplicity of the choruses seemed far too great of a contrast. I don't fully know the intention behind this and I could easily foresee a scenario where this is done intentionally and would be greatly successful. However, it is far too ambiguous to make a full conclusion on that hypothesis. I also think this album would have been a great candidate for the Self-Titled album. It is sometimes hard to remember to keep making that connection that is necessary for a concept record. As a concept record it can and sometimes does work, but each song that succeeds, does so on it's own merit and in such a way that absolutely screams "Say Anything". Over all, i think this was a great album and I am very glad to see it get such a positive review on this site.

SwissCheese (March 13, 2012)

Say Anything are not as good as many make them out to be and they are not as bad as many others make them out to be. This album, like most of their other releases, has some good songs and has some shitty songs...take it for what it is, an alright album.

side note....is a real boy is a shit-ton better!!

keithybobeefy (March 13, 2012)

I'm really liking this. I guess I'm with most people in thinking ...Is A Real Boy is great, but this is pretty good in it's own right.

eazyd3 (March 13, 2012)

actually i agree with everything dumbcunt3000 says, this music is fuckin stupid. i am in no way suprised that sloanedaley loves this.

eazyd3 (March 13, 2012)

It's a circular narrative in many ways, where it kind of sums up the human race in a time capsule.

Dante3000 (March 13, 2012)

Seriously, intentional or not I can't get behind music this corny. Nor can I support a song that's willing to use genocide as the set up for a romantic pick up line.

thepopeofchili-town (March 13, 2012)

I loved Is a Real Boy, and enjoyed the next couple records, to a lesser extent, but I HATE THIS ALBUM. There isn't a single song I can get into even slightly.

RottenBones (March 13, 2012)

could not get into this at all, and I love Is A Real Boy

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