The lead-up to Say Anything’s newest album, Anarchy, My Dear, was a highly anticipated and much-talked about time. Frontman Max Bemis sparked excitement among fans when he hinted at full artistic freedom after signing with Equal Vision Records, citing this record would be more punk-oriented, a la 2004’s …Is A Real Boy. To further that notion, it was discovered weeks before the album’s release, a song would be entitled “Admit It Again” on the new album, a follow-up to “Admit It!!!” from …Is A Real Boy. Needless to say, the expectations for this album were set fairly high. Would Anarchy, My Dear be able to live up to the lofty bar set by Bemis’ words and nostalgic fans’ expectations or would this newest release fall short?
Max Bemis is by far and away one of the best lyricists of his genre and the entire underground music scene, and this trend continues with Anarchy, My Dear. Bemis’ words are witty, charming, smart, and honest all at the same time. One thing that separates Anarchy, My Dear vocally from other Say Anything albums is drummer Coby Linder’s backing vocals, and his voice is actually the first one heard on the album on the opener, “Burn A Miracle”.
Also appearing in spots throughout the album is Bemis’ wife, Sherri DuPree-Bemis. She adds a nice aesthetic vocal element in the background of a handful of the songs on the album. Both Linder and DuPree-Bemis compliment Bemis well and add an extra pinch of flavour to the album.
Say Anything albums have always been grand, flamboyant and eccentric pieces. That’s just part of Say Anything’s appeal. Perhaps unfairly, fans expected this album to be a larger-than-life and edgy due to the immeasurable hype. The fact of the matter is that Anarchy, My Dear is missing that special over-the-top feel present in previous Say Anything albums. The whole album is quite mellow and doesn’t reach the epic levels of their previous efforts.
While this album definitely isn’t bad, it’s not what Say Anything fans are used to or expected. That is especially true considering how this album was presented to fans. Say Anything supporters expected an edgy, punk-infused rock album. What they got was a mellowed-out album filled with love ballads. Anarchy, My Dear won’t blow your socks off, but it’s definitely worth a listen. Just expect Say Anything, only turned down a notch.