Say Anything

By Davis McCondichie, E23 Reporter

Let it be known that Max Bemis wants to be like Beyoncé. The creative leader, singer and all-around glue of the band Say Anything decided to release its newest album “I Don’t Think So” without any build-up. Was the unexpected drop worth it? It most definitely was.

“I Don’t Think So,” the band’s first album since “Hebrew” two years ago, has been the band’s first album in years to gain positive reception on initial release. Bemis credits the feedback to the change of direction the band and he took when crafting this record. According to VICE, Bemis remarked, “when you put on this record, it’s obvious I’m a 30-year white Jewish guy who listens to a lot of Kanye,” and he is not kidding.

Bemis set out to make this album his very own “My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy,” and in a lot of ways he succeeds. For instance, Say Anything focused on collaboration with artists they have toured with. To collaborate with people and give up creative control on the project must have tortured Bemis immensely. Bemis is known for holding all the cards during the recording process, but letting it go has paid dividends. He works with a number of artists, however, most notably Bemis actually traded tracks with Kayne West. West and Bemis showed each other their respective projects and both had only kind words to say about the records. So what exactly is in the record?

Well let’s just say the album does not lack angst. Heavy drums complemented by experimental guitars drive the album. Sliding below the heavy punch is the subtle techno beats that Bemis utilizes to give his songs a slight hip-hop feel. On top of all of this is the best instrument of the entire album- Bemis’ voice. The artist takes modern voice modifiers to turn his voice into a beautifully blending melody. His voice matches the guitar in a majority of the album.

On top of the excellent music is Bemis’ iconic lyrics. The poetic master of words never shies away from real experiences in his life. Bemis draws much of his inspiration from his life growing up with his friend Joshua. The early tracks exhibit the fast drugged-out teenage years of their friendship, and the late tracks take a slightly slower tempo with pessimistic lines and sarcastic overtones. Bemis never sacrifices his usual humor. He gives plenty of laughable remarks and self-aware apathetic jokes that insult his band. The songs are not afraid to get loud and angry, and the whole record possesses a gritty tone to it. Yet, this is the style Bemis’ audience loves and expects from him.

Max Bemis set out to be like Beyoncé. He wanted a punk, hip-hop album that shocked listeners by releasing out of nowhere and contains a mix of styles that pushes his artistic taste to the edge. “I Don’t Think So” achieves all of this and more. The album is vintage Say Anything given a dark, beautiful twist. To sum it up, this album is like high-octane fuel- it revs up your heart and never stops going.