CD Say Anything [Say Anything] (CD 6244870),
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Say Anything [Say Anything]
1. Fed to Death
2. Hate Everyone
3. Do Better
4. Less Cute
6. Mara and Me
8. She Won't Follow You
11. Death for My Birthday
12. Young Dumb and Stung
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 56410
Erich Talaba; Gary Leach; Neal Avron; John Hanes
Lyricist: Max Bemis.
Personnel: Max Bemis (vocals, guitar, keyboards, programming); Parker Case (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Jake Turner, Jeff Turner, Jeff Turner (vocals, guitar); Jacob Linder (vocals, drums, percussion, programming); Sherri DuPree (vocals); Tom Scott (saxophone); Gary Grant (trumpet); Jamie Muhoberac (piano); Alexander Kent (bass guitar, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Serban Ghenea.
Recording information: Ocean Way Studios; Rosewood Studios, Tyler, TX; The Boat, Los Angeles, CA.
Photographer: Noah Kalina.
Arrangers: Neal Avron; Max Bemis.
Clocking in at 46 minutes--nearly half the running time of 2007's IN DEFENSE OF THE GENRE--Say Anything's fourth album is both trim and tuneful, with Sam Bemis devoting more focus than ever to the tightening of his quirky, unchained pop songs. "Focus" is a relative term, of course; the frontman still finds time to run wild throughout this disc, rearranging conventional song structures like Picasso and sampling from multiple genres--emo, rock, punk-pop, R&B, even doo-wop--with greedy glee. The choruses boast stronger hooks this time around, though, which lends heft to Say Anything's musical mishmash, and the band's willingness to break rules is what makes this album so refreshing. Arriving at the tail end of 2009, a year in which most emo-pop was compressed, polished, and wholly indebted to Top 40 radio, SAY ANYTHING is as unpredictable as they come, boasting thirteen tracks that sound dangerous and delicious at the same time. "There are babies with guns beheading their friends in shopping malls around the world, yet somehow the Kings of Leon still have time to write songs about girls," Bemis sings at the beginning of "Mara and Me," adding "I don't suck much less" in a guttural scream. It's this combination of self-loathing and pop-culture critique that fuels most of the album, and Bemis distances himself from his contemporaries by briefly embracing their tricks--the palm-muted guitar chords, the "whoa oh oh" background vocals, the dramatic delivery--before turning them on their heads, whether that means adding pizzicato strings to "Do Better" or circus-styled keyboard to the aforementioned "Mara and Me." This is an impulsive album, an odd piece of work that manages to be puzzling without alienating the listener.
Rolling Stone (p.89) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[Say Anything are] a band that expands emo's sonic scope while cranking the oversharing to hilarious levels..."
Spin (p.84) - "Say Anything's fourth full-length is an exercise in acute self-awareness....There's definite charm in the struggle..."
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