Say Anything Is Still Angsty

Courtesy of Equal Vision Records

Courtesy of Equal Vision Records

It’s been three years since pop punk band Say Anything has produced a new album, and it’s clear that the time spent away has had a positive influence on the band’s maturity in sound and content. The album title, “Anarchy, My Dear,” foreshadows the band’s greater attempt to display its roots in punk compared to its past efforts.

The first song, “Burn a Miracle,” is probably one of the more memorable songs on the album simply because it’s catchy. The song starts off as a commentary on the youth’s time spent on the Internet: “He looked a lot like me / But his eyelids were destroyed / And his pupils kept sucking on / Data files like noodles.” Then the song rapidly progresses to the chants, “Burn America / Burn the dream,” which seems to be referring to a more general critique on society today. The music video for this single includes burning Barbie heads and police cars — it tries too hard to be what they deem punk.

“Admit it, Again,” a sequel to “Admit it!!!” from the band’s 2004 album “… Is a Real Boy,” doesn’t quite deliver the same catchiness. The message from the track’s prequel does seem to be the only similarity, with vocalist Max Bemis demanding another individual to admit he or she is fake, a poser. With lyrics like, “I’m all I wanna be / Don’t want nobody / Don’t need nobody but me,” Bemis attempts to convey his independence to whomever he is addressing as the poser.

“Peace Out” and “Of Steel” are two examples of songs that have a more mellow, tame and catchy sound compared to the punk-edginess the other songs try to shoot for. “Peace Out” sounds like a slightly bitter break-up story: “Oh, I’ll be fine / Sever this for all time / I’ll laugh it off when this ends / You can just go get high with all of your dumbs friends.” On the other hand, “Of Steel” is more of a plea to be saved from an aimless life by a girl he likes: “Can you save me / Because I don’t want to end up / Like they are.”

“So Good” is also on the mellow and tame side as well. It’s tempting to even say this is a classic serenade, where Bemis courts his audience with, “You look so good tonight / Break down these walls tonight / And when we’re good and close / I think I’ll steal your time.” This is definitely one of the better songs on the album that I can see myself listening to again with its sweet lyrics and melodic piano.

Bemis’ vocals are still an acquired taste. If you’re not already a fan of pop punk, his voice may sound hard on your ears, too loud and too angsty. On a handful of the tracks, I just wanted to turn down his vocals. It’s not an album I’d turn to again, but there is no doubt the band has played around with their sound, which makes it worth listening to if you’re familiar with their past work.

Only Recommended If: You’re open to Say Anything playing with their sound but still retaining their pop punk roots. They’re not going to change anyone’s mind about the genre, though.