In Defense Of The Genre review by Say Anything

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  • Released: Oct 23, 2007
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.9 (105 votes)
Say Anything: In Defense Of The Genre
3

Sound — 10
How can someone define a perfect album? In my opinion, Say Anything's In Defense Of The Genre can be defined as one. For those who are unfamiliar with the band, they released an album called ...Is A Real Boy in 2004. The album was small at first, but over the past three years it has grown in popularity amongst the indie community. The album covered the childhood of front man Max Bemis. Their latest release will definitely do the same amongst not only the indie community but the alternative and rock community as well. In this album, the band covers Max's problems with love, growing up, and life altogether. This album is as amazingly well done as the band's last release. The music hits hard in every direction of your ear drums. Consisting of two discs, the album is full of different musical genres. A small selection of genres can be seen within tracks like That Is Why, a toe tapping, almost David Bowie sounding song. Another track, No Soul, shows a complete variation of styles, switching between pop-punk and dance-pop rock as the song goes on. The band also has moved away from a pure pop-rock album like ...Is A Real Boy. While some songs may seem more like their last album, a majority of the album is entirely different than their last album. It may not be that band from the last album, but that band definitely has pulled off what they wanted to do with this album genre-wise. Another unique thing about Say Anything is that in ...Is A Real Boy they had a group of people do backup vocals/yelling during the songs. This album has taken a unique step further into that. The band has enlisted various vocalist to join them and do back up on several tracks. These vocalist include Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance), Chris Conley (Saves The Day), Aaron Gillespie (Underoath/The Almost), Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio), Pete Yorn, Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional), and Fred Mascherino and Adam Lazzara (Taking Back Sunday). The album has an all star guest cast amongst current bands of the music scene that Say Anything is apart of. They definitely affect the album in every way they can, most of the time doing solo vocal spots. One instance in which guest vocals can be seen in the title track In Defense Of The Genre. The song features Gerard Way of MCR fame. His guest vocal spot is noticeable and hysterical in this track that criticizes his band's own album The Black Parade. The guest vocals definitely make this album a worthy buy to add to your collection of CDs. The music itself of this album can simply be described as amazing. Every little detail is well thought out and pulled off the way it needs to be pulled off. The vocals of Max Bemis are almost indescribable. His voice is something you have to get used to, but once you appreciate it, you love it. The instrument work of the album is amazingly well done. The band has everything a normal band needs, guitars, bass, drums, and keyboard. The band also employs piano, violin, cello, turn tables, and other unique instrument choices. The music is flawless in every way you could analyze it. The album consists of 27 songs. While favorites are hard to pick, I can pick out a few highlights. The opening track, Skinny Mean Man, starts with a deep voice speaking a spoken word introduction, and then Max picks up with the band joining in as well. The tracks is well developed and heavy hitting. It grabs the attention of the listener, as most opening tracks should. The Church Channel is a song about being confused and falling in love. It starts slow with only keys and drums, but the tempo changes multiple times. It picks up into a faster sounding tempo with the guitar and bass joining in. Eventually the song builds up to a vocal solo from Paramore's Haley Williams. The vocals of here send chills down your spine as the track works it's way to a gradual close. The title track (as mentioned early) is one of the best tracks on the album. It is well thought out for a track that criticizes the thoughts of people who base a scene on one band. Gerard Way's guest vocals only make the track better than it already is. The final track of the album, Plea, can only be described as a ballad. It starts out with only Max and a single guitar. It slowly builds up with guitar, drums, and bass. The track then takes a different turn by only having violin and drums, and then goes back to the single guitar from the beginning. The song then suddenly picks volume up into a more rock sounding song. The ending of the song truly finishes the album a way an album should finish. Max Bemis does duet vocals with Haley Williams. The duet is indescribable due to how well their voices sync up. It drives the album to an ending that concludes this magnificent piece of art. The remaining 20 seconds of holding guitar chords give you a chance to reflect on the album and let it sink into your head.

Lyrics — 10
If you are unfamiliar with Say Anything's lyrics, then you should get to know them. Their lyrics are brilliant and clever. Their lyrics use a vocabulary you don't normally see in a song. The lyrics are also humorous in a few of the songs. An example of this can be found in You're The Wanker If Anyone Is: With you out of my life skies are blue and love is real and true./You fugly brat! You pussy cat!/Who ever thought shit could shine like that?/So glad you stabbed my back./(The blade when I turned my back). Another example of the simple, yet well written lyrics in The Church Channel: I fell behind on my nightly four-course meal of rainbow pills/and now I'm wondering what is fake and what is real/but who's that ghost who keeps walking by my door/I've never seen a girl look so good in thick-rimmed glasses before/and I feel her watching me during sleeping hours/and when I shower. The lyrics are as clever as they are honest. The lyrics are one of those reasons Say Anything is so popular.

Overall Impression — 10
When I first listened to this album, I thought it was a different step for a band that I loved. By the end of the record, the album clicked, and it all made sense to me. After my first listen, the album was my instant album of the year. I recommend this album to Say Anything fans and haters alike. I also recommend it to indie, alternative, rock, and pop-punk enthusiasts. This is only the beginning of what this band is doing. People need to like them before they are the next big act. While this album is a bold move for any band, Say Anything can pull it off, and they will probably be the only band to do this ever.

39 comments sorted by best / new / date

    nrich
    I hate to diss another review, but if you're going to have something posted under the UG Team, at least get someone with an education higher than high school to proofread this stuff. It's very opinionated, and at some points, doesn't make sense. The album itself is a great buy and takes a nice step forward from "...Is a Real Boy". I was skeptical at how the guest vocalists would affect the album, but they fit in pretty well.
    goredsfc2
    the 3 discs weren't that great the first couple times i listened, but after a couple times the songs really do grow on you, but thats kind of how the first cd was too, it just takes time, but once you give it a couple spins it really is amazing stuff
    faith_861
    this cd is awesome, it is definitely an evolution from what the did on the last album, i think every song is an amazing offering, and the lyrics are masterful. if you are considering it, you should buy this album, it is well worth it.
    Footballitis
    yeah i really listened to the first album for a good six months straight. Even some of the older stuff from Baseball I really liked but the new one has yet to impress me. I think first two albums were really raw and you could see where it Max is comming from where as this one seems to have way to much going on. Overproduced I think is the word. But the good thing about Say Anything is the more you listen the more you appreciate the music so it can only get better.
    deanosaurx
    love it. but is a reall boy isnt even about his childhood. where the reviewer got that information i have no clue.
    deanosaurx
    uhh yeah this cds the shit...but ...is a real boy wasn't about max's childhood. i dont know where you got that information.
    soulonfire66
    I have read alot of reviews for this album, and its really hit or miss for most people. I've been looking forward to this album for a very long time, and to fully appreciate the album you have to take into account many things, like this is the first time he has had a full band at his disposal during the recording process. Also unlike prior albums, no song ends how it starts and Say Anything is really flexing their musical muscle in this album with such a wide variety of instruments and vocalists its really kind of all over the place kind of like a sample platter. When the album starts with "skinny mean man" you get a really IARB feel, then towards the end of the song its totally breaks tempo with the "faster, faster" line and gives a forshadowing of what is to come in the rest of the album. Also, the guitar work in this album is amazing, many different influences went into the the composure of the guitar in this album. The only thing that i don't like about the album is the fact that there is not enough "yellow cat (slash) red cat" style songs, lyrically that is. Almost every song on the album is a love song, not to say its a bad thing but varying lyric themes would have been nice. So all in all, i believe this definitely isn't the last we will see of max bemis and say anything. To all the nay-sayers to the album, listen to it again, and DONT change the song because you don't like how it sounds, listen to both discs all the way through and listen to the story he is trying to tell. Music is more than noise.
    SenseS FaiL
    this whole album sounded like an experiment and while that may help the band it sucks for the fans... when i bought this CD i played both discs and i have to be honest i was pretty bored since no song on this album caught my attention at all...very dissapointing, i hope their next one is different than this
    1000cleverlines
    it may take a few listens, but this album grows on you as you realize how much work the band has put into it and how genious it really is...
    stringengineer
    i don't know how anyone can honestly say they don't like this album, i've heard mostly all of max's wprk dating back to junior varsity, people forget to realize that he writes all the music, all the lyrics, all the guitars, keyboards, bass (except for this new album), etc. they only thing he doesn't write are the drums. and in every record his guitars get better and musically more mature. seriously he's one of the best musicians of our generation and i guess if your a teenager you just won't get it but coming from someone his age i appreciate more....
    pinoypunker
    Like all Say Anything albums, it's an acquired taste. You need to give it a few listens (or five) of the whole album to appreciate how excellent it is. When you've got a good listen on their songs, go see them live . that's the next step. then you'll see the explosive atmosphere that the fans and band create. But if you want to just listen to the singles and miss out on something incredible , you can do that too. It's your loss.
    mitchrosko
    pinoypunker wrote: Like all Say Anything albums, it's an acquired taste. You need to give it a few listens (or five) of the whole album to appreciate how excellent it is. When you've got a good listen on their songs, go see them live. that's the next step. then you'll see the explosive atmosphere that the fans and band create. But if you want to just listen to the singles and miss out on something incredible, you can do that too. It's your loss.
    amen
    deanosaurx
    there is no song on this album i dislike. it is most definately in my top 10 favorite albums of all time.
    SenseS FaiL wrote: this whole album sounded like an experiment and while that may help the band it sucks for the fans... when i bought this CD i played both discs and i have to be honest i was pretty bored since no song on this album caught my attention at all...very dissapointing, i hope their next one is different than this
    and to you...i'm pretty sure you're the only person who was already a fan of say anything and didnt like the new cd...
    deanosaurx
    also....say anything is not punk revival...ahah. i'd say pop-rock. but
    insatyrbass wrote: Say Anything sucks. I have a band of 17-19 year olds who have better musicianship individually than that entire band has combined. And Amen to the "this CD should come with a gun so you can put yourself out of your misery".
    .....hm. i listened to your music....(www.myspace.com/insatyr), and i gotta say...when i think of musicianship, i dont think of someone puking all over a microphone and calling it singing. sounds more like dying. musicianship doesnt mean being able to shred, either. most people in pop punk bands can shred just as well as anyone in your band, its just not the style they like to hear. say anything has very cohesive music with good chord changes and instrumental coordination. its not all about how fast you can play your guitar. and that concludes my fifth post on this review hahahahah. its an amazing album! buy it!
    stumaster18
    deanosaurx wrote: also....say anything is not punk revival...ahah. i'd say pop-rock. but insatyrbass wrote: Say Anything sucks. I have a band of 17-19 year olds who have better musicianship individually than that entire band has combined. And Amen to the "this CD should come with a gun so you can put yourself out of your misery". .....hm. i listened to your music....(www.myspace.com/insatyr), and i gotta say...when i think of musicianship, i dont think of someone puking all over a microphone and calling it singing. sounds more like dying. musicianship doesnt mean being able to shred, either. most people in pop punk bands can shred just as well as anyone in your band, its just not the style they like to hear. say anything has very cohesive music with good chord changes and instrumental coordination. its not all about how fast you can play your guitar. and that concludes my fifth post on this review hahahahah. its an amazing album! buy it!
    +1 for deanosaurx AMAZING album. Download "Died a Jew" and "Sorry, Dudes. My Bad."
    whitebluesboy
    I'm hoping this album will grow on me. ...Is a Real Boy was an album that just stuck with me. I listened to it everyday for almost an entire year. This new one just doesn't grab me and make me want to experience the trainwreck that is Max Bemis.
    a7xsoad
    No offence to UG, but some of the reviewers are absolutely atrocious. My 10 year old brother could do a better job. No, I'm not joking. Seriously.
    mothman607
    as a published music critic (www.oredigger.net), i would agree with the people who think this review is too subjective. its a good album, but it is difficult to say that it deserves a perfect score.
    a7xsoad
    UG Team reviewers specifically* im referring to. Most of the UG members do a better job actually.
    comet2797
    Im glad to see a new album from Say Anything, as they are growing in popularity their fan base is getting bigger, it's smart of the band to want to try different sounds and bounce off of various genres. The lyrics are the Say Anything at their best, intelligently funny is the best way to put it. 27 tracks is awesome! i would have been happy with just the usual 10-16 but 27? Should keep fans happy for quite some time. I haven't listened to it all the way through yet, but so far it's sounding phenomenal, it's always great to see a band maturing into something great
    Wastedxlife21
    Well, considering this comment section is here, I'm going to use it to speak about the album. I feel that the first and second discs have two different themes, musically and lyrically. It's a good twist on the usual construction of albums. The lyrics, as usual, are amazing; dynamic and lack of cliches in most songs. Pre-ordering was a great idea by the way - you get the cd the day it comes out in the mail, as well as a signed booklet by the band. shibby.
    adslam3
    pete yorn?! chris conley?!? matt skiba?! amazing...i'm definitely going to have to look into this album
    vanceboy
    sounds interesting...i don't know if it deserves a perfect 10, but I will definitely get it now.
    gonegonegone
    I was really let down by this album. "...Is a Real Boy" was so great, this new album just doesn't live up to it. Out of 26 tracks, only a few really standout, as compared to IARB, where nearly all of them were great. It's still not a bad album though. I give it a 6/10, or a C grade.
    insatyrbass
    Say Anything sucks. I have a band of 17-19 year olds who have better musicianship individually than that entire band has combined. And Amen to the "this CD should come with a gun so you can put yourself out of your misery".
    Moontard
    hidgfujzaieity wrote: i pre ordered mine and it still hasnt come. Its been three days.
    same
    >>Max<<
    ...Is A Real Boy was great. This was not. It wasn't bad, just nothing really stuck with you. It's about 7 good songs, and 20 "meh" songs. Everyone seems to eat up anything Max Bemis shits out. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. I liked the cd, but sheesh...OMG SAY ANYTHING 10/10
    lpxtremefan
    Say anything is my favorite band. However this cd is a pathetic attempt by a band with alot of talent. I dont know what they did differently this time, but it sounds like they forced it out. Sorry but if you like say anything do yourself a favor and do not buy this cd, that way you can pretend they are still the amazing band they once were
    chimairapwns
    HOW DO YOU HONESTLY CALL IT PUNK REVIVAL!! ITS SO AWFUL. THEY SHOULD SELL THIS CD WITH A GUN, SO ONCE YOU LISTEN TO IT, YOU CAN PUT YOURSELF OUT OF YOUR MISERY!!
    acoginthesystem
    lpxtremefan wrote: Say anything is my favorite band. However this cd is a pathetic attempt by a band with alot of talent. I dont know what they did differently this time, but it sounds like they forced it out. Sorry but if you like say anything do yourself a favor and do not buy this cd, that way you can pretend they are still the amazing band they once were
    Yeah I like this band alright. But their last cd was loads better overall compared to this double disc offer. I don't like how they've evolved...if you'd call it that.
    comet2797
    chimairapwns wrote: HOW DO YOU HONESTLY CALL IT PUNK REVIVAL!! ITS SO AWFUL. THEY SHOULD SELL THIS CD WITH A GUN, SO ONCE YOU LISTEN TO IT, YOU CAN PUT YOURSELF OUT OF YOUR MISERY!!
    Speaking of misery... Paramore's vocalist is a guest singer on the album, that's kinda cool. Oh and we all appreciate your opinion, but seriously STFU. Bashing a band doesn't make you any cooler.
    [scarlet]
    lol - Point #3 on UG's Review Tips: + Be critical! Superficial, glowing reviews will not get published yer, right