Say Anything is a "vaguely indie punk-pop" stylized 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. A cathartic live show began to attract thousands of kids a night. Say Anything became critically-lauded. 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.
Subsequent to the critically lauded album(s), ...Is A Real Boy and ...Was a Real Boy, Say Anything has produced five new records: the double album, In Defense of the Genre, Say Anything, Anarchy, My Dear, Hebrews, I Don't Think It Is, and Oliver Appropriate.
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.
- Break-Up Song: A good portion of the songs on In Defense of the Genre are of this variety.
- The Cameo: In Defense of the Genre is chock full of guest vocals from known names in the emo and pop punk world: Chris Carrabba, Jordan Pundik and Chad Gilbert, Gerard Way, Pete Yorn, Adam Lazzara and Fred Mascherino, Matt Skiba, Anthony Green, Anthony Raneri of Bayside, Kenny Vasoli of The Starting Line, Hayley Williams, among others.
- 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 pseudo-intellectual hipster 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.
- Their latest album Oliver Appropriate is a concept album about a tragic love affair between two men.
- Crapsack World: A lot of their songs, notably, "Hate Everyone."
When our cityVast and shittyFalls to the axisThey'll search the buildingsCollect gold fillingsWallets and rings...
- Also, the World War II portrayal of "Alive With the Glory of Love".
- Genre Roulette: I Don't Think It Is goes through Post-Hardcore, Screamo Music, mellow Indie Rock, and even Hip-Hop.
- Harsh Vocals: Most of I Don't Think It Is.
- 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" and "Goshua".
- 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.
- Loudness War: I Don't Think It Is has poorly balanced dynamic range.
- 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.
- New Sound Album: I Don't Think It Is is perhaps the most avant-garde album the band has put out.
- 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 fucking 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).
- Most notably for In Defense... is "Shiksa (Girlfriend)".
- Surreal Music Video: "Give a Damn" is the band being killed in cartoonishly graphic fashion by a disgruntled fan.
- 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..."
- "Give a Damn"'s music video is a swipe at fans who complain loudly about bands changing their sound.
- "Admit It" is a wonderfully brutal evisceration of Hipsters.
- "Hate Everyone" lives up to its name, attacking, among other things, Actors Who Seem Genuine, Brandon Flowers ("The Singer with the Denim Skin"), The Menninger Clinic ("That Hospital in Texas") and Kanye West ("The Rapper in the Lexus").
- 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.
- We Used to Be Friends: "The Bret Easton Ellis School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry" is about a former punk friend of Max's turned trendy yuppie.
- Yandere: Oh dear God, "I Love You More Than I Hate My Period"His song is stuck in my headHis song is stuck in my headI will chain him tight up to my bedSo I always will remember him
Do you know I have the right to own a gun?!
- "It's a Process"