Alright you emo punks, there’s a new band in town. Say
Anything frontman Max Bemis managed to put together Say Anything
is a Real Boy among the agony of sleeping in his parent’s
basement and the torment of walking the dogs for disposable income.
This one is deep, so get out the tissue box and thick rimmed
glasses, find the ex-girlfriend’s telephone number (the one
that left the hair all over the apartment) and settle in for some
real tear-jerking commentary. Get ready to feel vindicated! Get
ready to feel!
An excerpt from the album booklet:
The songs on this recorded album were originally written as
part of a “rock opera” with a full narrative, spoken
word interludes, a cast of characters. The plot revolved around an
unsuccessful punk rock band called Say Anything . . . one night, a
supernatural power “curses” Max (Bemis) with a
mysterious affliction. The “curse” causes his
inner-most fears, fantasies and thoughts to burst forth from his
unsuspecting mouth in the form of fully orchestrated rock
It’s all true. Say Anything is an unsuccessful punk
The album’s first track, “Belt,” opens with
satirical, spoken-word foreplay between Max and some unimportant
character. He ends his feigned confusion with a defiant statement:
“And the record begins with a song of rebellion.” To
this end he forms a coalition of disorienting, “edgy,”
electric-guitar lines, poor vocals and dull lyrics, to rebel
against harmony, real emotion and the listener.
Then, of course, there are the relationship songs. What terrible
emo album would be complete without some girl ripping a heart out?
On the album’s ninth track, “Every Man has a
Molly,” Bemis insipidly states “Here I am, laid bare,
at the end of my rope. I’ve lost all hope. So long! Molly
Connolly just broke up with me over the revealing nature of the
songs.” Set against the background of angry (horribly
off-key) group vocals and dark (trite) power chords, it leaves the
listener almost longing for Dashboard Confessional.
The majority of the album feels more like lecture hall than
dance hall. The guitar and bass lines are hushed, while Bemis
presents rather than sings his propaganda. While there are sparks
of real, intellectual commentary, (most notably on the infectious
“Yellow Cat/Red Cat”) he extinguishes them. Bemis truly
is cursed: His overwhelming narcissism and “starving
artist” complex come through to the point where no one can
truly believe in his suffering or disaffection.
The blatant honesty of the lyrics … strike a powerful
chord amongst the underground culture that once disregarded Say
Anything as “unsubstantial.” Now worshipped by the
youth of America as a Christ-like figure, Bemis begins a worldwide
quest to use his powers to vanquish all hypocrisy.
That makes everyone an atheist.
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars.