Friday, May 7, 2010

Say Anything

By Jacqueline Russo

Say Anything released their fourth full-length album on November 3, 2009. The album is self-titled and according to lead singer Max Bemis it “literally defines everything about the band we’ve built so far.”

During the Summer of 2009, the band released “Hate Everyone,” “Do Better” and “Property” as the first three singles from the new album. The songs off of this album are the catchiest and most mature songs recorded by the band so far. Say Anything debuted at number 25 on Billboard 200, the band’s highest charting record to date. Max Bemis called it “a step forward.”

Say Anything’s new album seems like a coming-to-age for Bemis and the band. The fact that the album is self-titled suggests that the band has finally found their true, perhaps permanent, identity.

Say Anything is an indie rock band with punk rock influences. It was formed in Los Angeles, California in 2000 by Bemis and four friends. Between 2000 and 2002 the band self-recorded and released two EPs, Junior Varsity and In Your Dreams and a full-length album, Baseball: An Album by Say Anything. In 2003, the band signed with Doghouse Records and in 2004 they released …Is a Real Boy, the album that the band considers their first official effort.

While the popularity of the band was increasing exponentially, Bemis’s mental health plummeted. In 2005 he was diagnosed with bipolar mood disorder and the band took a break when several members decided to call it quits. Bemis’s breakdown caused Say Anything to cancel their tour with Saves the Day, Senses Fail and The Early November.

Later that year, after Bemis’s successful rehabilitation, the band released …Was a Real Boy with J Records. Over the next two years, Say Anything toured with Saves the Day and Hellogoodbye. In late 2007, the band released their third full-length album, In Defense of the Genre.

Max Bemis was raised in a strongly Jewish household and still identifies himself as being Jewish. His maternal grandparents survived the Holocaust and this has provided Bemis with inspiration to write many tracks. In “Alive with the Glory of Love,” a song off of …Is a Real Boy, Bemis describes a relationship that is torn by the Holocaust. The lyrics in the song discuss the couple’s lives in the ghetto, while in hiding, and their experience in concentration camps.

Fans of Say Anything, as well as new listeners, can tell that this band is not like every other pop-punk band that sings songs about teenage relationships and heartbreak. Max Bemis and Say Anything share important experiences and messages with their listeners.

Jacqueline Russo is an undergraduate student at St. Thomas Aquinas College. She is an English major with aspirations to become a journalist or a writer. She is a member of the Dean’s List and belongs to Sigma Tau Delta, the National English Honor Society. Jacqueline will be interning with the Our Town newspaper in Pearl River, New York during the Summer of 2010.

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