Artist: Say Anything
Album: In Defense of the Genre
Label: J Records
Purchase: Smart Punk
Release Date: October 23rd, 2007
Techno-infused, lyrically blunt and bold, raw and un-tethered vocally styled, raging guitar-incorporated, keyboard-based, clearly dance-and-mosh-ableÃ¢â‚¬”these phrases, despite their possible contrasts and obvious wide ranges, can easily describe a single band’s new album.
1989 romantic flick-named band Say Anything has, in past albums, delivered an overall and certainly not unheard of punk rock sound. Their clever, metaphorical lyrics and versatile vocalist were the main consistent elements positively highlighting this band as they slowly transitioned from an earlier punk pop-rooted sound to their more recent hard rock music. Their lack of other remarkable musical components was probably a contributing factor to the idea that Say Anything had yet to rise to the top of a highly competitive mainstream rock industry, even with their constant musical progression, tours with successful mainstream bands, and expanding fan base.
However, this multidimensional new album contains several new musical components, which, combined with this band’s unchanging spunk and slightly modified past musical trends, create an overall more distinguished sound than has ever been heard from Say Anything.
Whether or not a listener is to agree with the thought that Ã¢â‚¬Å“In Defense of the GenreÃ¢â‚¬, Say Anything’s recently released twenty-six-song, two-disc album, conveys a more honed sound than previously, certain changes in sound are undeniable.
The most critical change between Ã¢â‚¬Å“…Is A Real BoyÃ¢â‚¬ and this latest addition to SA’s discography is the intense keyboard base of Ã¢â‚¬Å“In Defense of the GenreÃ¢â‚¬, (a key example being the heavily keys-incorporated Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Church ChannelÃ¢â‚¬). The almost techno sound of similar tracks (robotic voices, unidentifiable-sourced beeps, considerable bass-infusion and all), and the harsh lyrics, raging vocals, violent guitar, and beat-maintaining drums Say Anything is known for, mesh to create a musical style unique to this band’s newest album.
Despite these advancements, Say Anything has, as is apparent, remained true to the few enduring traits that have been illuminated in the band’s ongoing life span. For one, frontman Max Bemis’s lyrics continue to detail his Jewish religious beliefs (or lack thereof), whether with subtle mentions or entire tracks devoted to them (Ã¢â‚¬Å“Died A JewÃ¢â‚¬), the same applying to references to his bipolar disorder and its effects on the band (Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sorry, Dudes. My BadÃ¢â‚¬). Religion and mental distress aside, Bemis’s lyrics remain sometimes bitter and constantly candid and clever, possibly to the extent of being obscene at some points. While his words are riveting, they are, even in Say Anything’s latest album, yet to become profound.
The voice that sings said lyrics, also belonging to Bemis, has persisted in its flexibility, ranging from rough, almost furious hard rock-esque vocal tones (Ã¢â‚¬Å“Skinny, Mean ManÃ¢â‚¬) to calm, verging on serene sounds (Ã¢â‚¬Å“An Insult to The DeadÃ¢â‚¬). The twenty-three outside vocalists and musicians featured on this album only enhance his wide-ranged vocals. Guest vocalists Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, Hayley Williams of Paramore, Adam Lazzara of Taking Back Sunday, and Peter Yorn, are only a few of the many other notable singers and musicians featured on Ã¢â‚¬Å“In Defense of the GenreÃ¢â‚¬.
The meshing of Say Anything’s former and newfound musical style featured on Ã¢â‚¬Å“In Defense of the GenreÃ¢â‚¬ was successfully carried out by this up and coming bandÃ¢â‚¬”a sure feat, especially considering the album’s extended, twenty-six-song length. In most instances, the idea of Ã¢â‚¬Å“short and sweetÃ¢â‚¬ should be applied to artists seeking to produce albums over fourteen or fifteen songs, with the concern that songs with higher potential or quality will be swallowed up by more mediocre songs. However, in this instance, the phrase Ã¢â‚¬Å“short and sweetÃ¢â‚¬ needn’t be applied, as each of the twenty-six tracks is of high quality and exceeds full potentialÃ¢â‚¬”so long as listeners have the patience to listen to each of them in turn. This is something that should be highly recommended to longstanding and new fans of Say Anything alike, or anyone interested in picking up on a surely soon- to-be hard-hitting band.
1. Skinny, Mean Man
2. No Soul
3. That Is Why
4. Surgically Removing The Tracking Device
5. This Is F***ing Ecstasy
6. The Church Channel
7. Shiksa (Girlfriend)
8. Baby Girl, I’m A Blur (MAIN)
9. Retarded In Love
10. People Like You Are Why People Like Me Exist
1. Spay Me
2. In Defense Of The Genre
3. The Truth Is, You Should Lie With Me
4. The Word You Wield
6. About Falling
7. You’re The Wanker, If Anyone Is
9. We Killed It
10. Have At Thee!