Say Anything continues to fly the emo flag on their new release,
Anarchy, My Dear. Max Bemis and friends blunt the edges
of their punk influences with enough pop sensibility and theatricality
to position themselves as heirs to the next blockbuster Broadway musical.
In fact, it's hard to listen to the duet ballad "So Good"
or the sermonizing "Admit It" without picturing them sung
from a grandiose stage set by over-emoting thespians.
Musically speaking Anarchy, My Dear is a pleasant enough listen.
There are enough shouting and chunky guitar moments to keep the album
interesting but at the end of the day there's not enough hook or bite
to make the record take hold. Say Anything's tendency of employing
overly theatrical instrumentation becomes tedious over the course
of an entire album.
Lyrically, Bemis tends towards preachy, delivering vocals that cast
him as a whiney, bitchy mope. The anti-drug screed, "Peace Out"
plays out in the style of a British folk song, complete with mandolins
and harpsichord and treats us to pedestrian commentary like, "Oh,
I'll be fine / sever this for all time / laugh it off when this ends
/ you can just go get high with all of your dumb friends."
As the end of the day, Anarchy, My Dear is probably worth
a couple of listens from Billboard.com's free stream but definitely
not worth ten bucks of your own hard earned cash.
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