Try to overcome your doubt. Believe you are beautiful. Look at yourself through someone else's green eyes. Believe someone out there will find you and kiss your skin until you can feel it blister with the heat. Believe in something bigger than your problems and you will be saved." -Max Bemis
Say Anything is a "vaguely indie punk-pop" style Emo
band composed of frontman Max Bemis, drummer Coby Linder, and their revolving group of bandmates
. Like the origin of any unlikely hero, Say Anything was forged from conflict: a feisty young punk band from Hollywood formed during the birth of "hipster" elitism, always out of place. In that day any group of rich kids with a penchant for the Velvet Underground
and enough five o'clock shadow could be paid millions of dollars to be walking billboards for "anti-culture" consumerism. Say Anything shunted pretension, choosing initially to play sincere and nervous rock music and opening locally for the touring bands they closely identified with (The Weakerthans, Rilo Kiley
, The Promise Ring). A few years passed and songwriter Max Bemis continued to feel alienated from the collegiate "scene;" He witnessed young rebels devolve into the counter-culture clichés they sought to avoid in the first place, "reverse psychology" victims of homogenized humanity. By identifying this mass-marketed "hip lie," Bemis found his "arch villain" and, imbued with purpose, Say Anything's music became a new monster - as theatrically pop-based as it was angular and dark.
The band soon released their rock-musical debut ...Is a Real Boy
on Doghouse Records, garnered a cult fan base, and then entered a partnership with RCA Music Group. They earned a niche of their own, more relatable than sometimes high fallutin' "indie rock" bands but more intelligent than the youth oriented "emo craze." A cathartic live show began to attract thousands of kids a night. Say Anything became unusually critically-lauded for such a pop-based "punk" band. Bemis's openness with his bipolar disorder increased awareness of the disease's affect on musicians and led to him creating a close, respectful relationship with Say Anything fans that has endured their success. Their sophomore double record In Defense of the Genre
affirmed they weren't leaving fans behind despite the "hype machine" they'd been placed in. Say Anything's first two records went on to sell several hundred thousand copies and the band became an underground rock fixture rapidly leaking into the mainstream.
Subsquent to the critically lauded album(s), ...Is A Real Boy
and ...Was A Real Boy
, Say Anything has produced four new records: the double-album, In Defense of the Genre, Say Anything, Anarchy, My Dear,
Not to be confused with the John Cusack
film of the same name.
This band provides examples of:
- Berserk Button: Don't talk badly about Sherri.
- Big Applesauce: Max is from Manhattan.
- Breakup Song: A good portion of the songs on In Defense of the Genre are of this variety.
- Character Filibuster: Though not going to unbelievable extremes, as many other examples of filibusters do. The protagonist of ... Is A Real Boy goes into a six-minute-long rant about know-it-all intellectual types in the final track, "Admit It!"
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Max Bemis (though he seems to have gotten better) is prone to psychotic breaks. While recording ...Is A Real Boy he thought he was being followed by people with cameras and spit in a woman's soup.
- Concept Album: ...Is A Real Boy was originally intended to be a full Rock Opera with full spoken word interludes. Sadly, that was scrapped.
- Crapsack World: A lot of their songs, notably, "Hate Everyone."
- Also, the World War II portrayal of "Alive With the Glory of Love"
When our city
Vast and shitty
Falls to the axis
They'll search the buildings
Collect gold fillings
Wallets and rings...
- Creator Breakdown: Max went a little crazy during and after highschool. (He's happily married to Sherri Dupree-Bemis of Eisley and off the drugs now).
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Amazingly, averted. "Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too" has been one of their biggest hits to date. What's it about? Meeting a young girl on the internet then calling her and having phone sex with her. He laughed himself to sleep.
- I Am the Band: As of 2012, Max is now the only original member. Just for bonus points, he composes most of the music.
- Intercourse with You: "We Killed It", and to a lesser extent "A Boston Peace".
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: All of their pre-IARB music. Menorah/Majora, Baseball, Junior Varsity, For Sale, and the dormroom demos are all floating around out there and pretty easy to find if you know where to look or who to ask.
- As of 2013, most of the material was compiled in the 3-disc set All My Friends Are Enemies: Early Rarities.
- Long Title: "Alive With the Glory of Love"
- "I Want To Know Your Plans"
- "Surgically Removing the Tracking Device"
- "People Like You Are Why People Like Me Exist"
- "The Truth Is, You Should Lie With Me"
- "Goodbye Young Tutor, You've Now Outgrown Me"
- "I Love You More Than I Hate My Period"
- "I Will Never Write An Obligatory Song About Being On the Road and Missing Someone" takes the cake.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "That Is Why" is a poppy faux-showtune about what a horrible bitch the singer's ex is.
- To a certain extent, "Property". It begins as a pseudo-50's era love song about spousal abuse.
- One of Us: Max has a rather astounding collection of graphic novels and comic books.
- Precision F-Strike: The most prominent example of a precision strike is the song "The Futile" off of ... Is A Real Boy, which opens with a quiet drum beat, followed by Max exclaiming SHIT!
- Also applies to the interjection of we're not their f*ckinging dogs!! in "Signal the Riflemen."
- Self-Titled Album: Say Anything.
- Silly Love Songs: Darker and Edgier of course, but "Crush'd", which is Max's song to his wife (one of many). They also compromise about half of In Defense of the Genre.
- Most notably for In Defense is "Shiksa (Girlfriend)"
- Take That: Mara and Me: "There are babies with guns beheading their friends in shopping malls around the world / but somehow the Kings of Leon still find the time to write songs about girls / I don't suck much less..."
- Uncommon Time: The band goes odd for a few measures in "I Will Never Write an Obligatory Song About Being on the Road and Missing Someone." After the first time Max sings "and I've got you back" in a 4/4 phrase ending with a measure of 2/4, the band lurches into 6/4; then 9/4 the second time and 14/4 the third.
- "The Futile" opens with a few measures of 7/4.
- What Could Have Been: The rock opera version of IARB would've been sick as hell.
- Yandere: Oh dear God, "I Love You More Than I Hate My Period"
His song is stuck in my head
His song is stuck in my head
I will chain him tight up to my bed
So I always will remember him