Say Anything are back together and have released a brand new track, “Psyche!” Today. They are a band that have always done things differently than everyone else. They stuck out like a sore thumb in the scene since their inception in a beautifully unique and transparently broken way. Max Bemis is a genius to say the least and you won’t find another project quite like his. Hell, their first full-length album, …Is A Real Boy, was intended to be a performative musical that transformed into a two-part melodic odyssey. With spoken word interludes, triumphant and drastic sonic changes within each song, and an overwhelming sense of chaos, their introduction to the world was like lighting any preconceived notions of what an alternative band should be on fire. It was brilliant.
Say Anything have been a respected band releasing consistent music for nearly twenty years. With early albums like In Defense Of The Genre, Self-Titled, and Anarchy, My Dear, showcasing an honest reflection of the deepest, darkest parts of Bemis’ mind and more recent releases like Hebrews, I Don’t Think It Is, and Oliver Appropriate, experimenting with narratives of recovery and self-help, there is always an important message. The band seems to tap into intrusive thought, shining light on the parts of ourselves we are too afraid to admit to our closest loved ones, much less the entire world. Perhaps that is what makes them so addicting. They’ll say the things we think about late at night, but are too ashamed to say out loud. Say Anything lives inside our heads.
The band announced their hiatus in 2018, and fans were concerned that we may never get new music from them again. We grieved the loss of a band who raised the misfits, and were simply thankful for the music we had been given over fifteen years. However, the group has been resurrected in a time we perhaps need their outlook on the world the most. Listen to the incredible new track here.
The band has crafted a heart-felt note on the return that you can read below.
“Say Anything’s (public) career began with a record where I stretched my superego into a character that could define everything I hated about myself and my generation, and how that mess of bohemian pretensions and wide-eyed conviction could one day, perhaps, be a real, redeemable boy.
Almost two decades later, after marinating in both the toxic sludge of artistic industrialization and the actual spiritual good this incredibly dubious notion was doing for real people in emotional pain, I realized I stood at a crossroads where I could literally become that character (i.e. keep snorting things and chasing my teenage dream), or cease defining myself by being “Emo Beck” and throw myself into life as a father, a husband and someone who truly cherished the process of writing, my first love as a creator.
Five-ish years went by and I went broke, went through a jarring mid-life crisis, got sober and almost lost said wife and kids to a combination of my own naivete and rubbing up against a few sick fucking people who probably just needed a hug but instead took it out on the nearest bastion of innocence they try to skullfuck.
I stopped giving a shit about the Bowie-like conceit of Say Anything being a dead character named Oliver who I metaphorically drowned in order to escape a false image of myself I had accidentally imprinted on my art…
…because I live on Planet Earth and that kind of makes no sense to anyone not obsessed with Grant Morrison and the film Adaptation.
After spending almost a decade shunning it, I simply needed to play grating emotional hardcore music because I was sad, tired and wanted to scream and cry a lot. Maybe I’m an emo late-bloomer in that while I was jerking off to film class in West Hollywood, my fans were going through real life traumas that I really feel like I’ve only experienced recently.
And specifically, I missed lighting up the skeptical eyes of Coby Linder, who founded Say Anything with me, with just an acoustic song, too many time changes and the need to excite my own personal Silent Bob on a deep level.
During the peak of said emotional mid-life entanglement, on very little sleep, probably during or directly following a good cry to Something to Write Home About, I sat on my porch as the sun rose, shirt off, sweating, spitting, drooling and improvised the song “Psyche!” in one take.
I sent Coby the acoustic demo and he got it immediately: Say Anything’s future (which is, in terms of the band’s meta-narrative, technically, some kind of sublimated afterlife, but again, very few people give a fuck) consisted of a project disembodied from my own personal bullshit. It would exist for what it was ever good for in the first place, to help people, to excite them, to drive around and scream along to with old friends or new ones you didn’t realize were also once emo, and, in sharing this moment, you now trust more on some weird level. In terms of its effect on me and Coby, we simply accepted we were now just fans of our own band.
The music we’re working on now is so meta it’s not. It’s a satire of everything our band was, and the idea of every emo band coming back after five years, going back to basics and grasping for the fanbase they discarded so callously by diving headfirst into their fans’ wants and needs, instead of gorging on major label cash and then still trying to be the next Animal Collective or Strokes despite what their band actually sounds like, to be thwarted every time by indie gatekeepers.
“Psyche!” is probably the apex of this concept, full of easter eggs, sincere attempts at stadium rock and an incredibly disturbing outro hinting at the real-life situation this new music revolves around.
For the first time since our first record, probably, the irony behind the concept comes full circle and becomes utterly sincere because this neurotic, cheesy, and excitable heartfelt music is what I needed to survive the hardest time of my life, a phrase I remain #humbledddddd to hear from fans of Say Anything to this day; again, Say Anything now serves the same purpose for me as it does for them, which, again ironically, actually has nothing to do with the generous money we’re getting from festivals to play shows again; this song only exists because of the strange brew of Saves the Day and Queen that I just needed to hear as much as I needed to make it… which is why we formed the band in Y2K in the first place.
It’s also actually played and sung by the people who will be playing it live, including Coby himself, the prodigal bass-master Alexander T. Kent (of In Defense of the Genre and our self-titled LP), the beautiful enigma that is Parker Case, as well as two of my favorite musicians, Brian Warren (of the better version of my ow band called Weatherbox) and Fred Mascherino (of Color Fred, TBS, and generally just shredding). So, this would be a first in that what you’re hearing…is a real band, not me Princing it up.
All that remains is to look you directly in the fucking eye and make you sing it back to me…that is, after I drag my middle-aged, hypothyroidal, hemorrhoidal dad bod out of the side of the bed where I’ve spent most of the last decade vaping and get ready to fling myself around the stage like Galifianakis deluding himself into thinking he’s Mick Jagger, as my five kids watch dumbfounded like “Who the fuck does he think he is?” and my wife smiles sadly knowing that even now, I think this bullshit impresses her.”
-Max, Tyler, Spring ’23