To strip songs of instrumentals could be considered sacrilegious, but only then can we see what the writer, in this case fundamentally Max Bemis, means to convey. It assists in the application of art to life; past and present. Say Anything’s lyrics speak to the intricacy of the human mind, on both large (ie. religion, society) and small scales (ie. romance, or lack thereof, and friends) in faith that it would make people’s lives better through commodity. They have an enormous fan base from all walks of life. Although their music is not only to listened to for its intonation, concertgoers are drugged with the infectious hype from those they are smashed together against. Say Anything has released 11 albums in total if you choose to compile songs that are not subscribed to any specific collection.
10: “Death For My Birthday” ‘Say Anything’ 2009
‘One sweet day his heart ceased to beat. He fell so fast beneath all our feet.
Through bugs and snakes,
last words he had to say, were:
“Help me claw my way to the surface.
Oh sweet lord you know I deserve this.
Just one more, just one more birthday.”’
This section speaks to the selfishness of humans when they realize they were benighted in their aspirations. Yet they believe they will get back what has slipped away through beggary. It draws a beautifully twisted connection between the physical grime he sinks through, absent of a white light and the possibilities in life that are lost.
9: “I Am A Transylvanian” ‘Menorah/Mejora’ 2002
‘Legs that curve the same as hers
could run as quickly too.
My lazy tongue lies low and ready.
It cannot seem to speak its words.
I’d ax it off to shut me up,
but you’ve already heard;
the murders have occurred.’
The wonder of sexuality is spun with the sadness of love undeserved. Since in his relationships, those left are worse than before; she would be better without him. While he seems aware she could leave him, her persistence pains him. He either says things that make him vulnerable or that he doesn’t mean. In the meantime, he does what makes him feel better, if only for one night.
8: “Alive With The Glory Of Love” ‘…Is A Real Boy’: 2004
‘Should they kill me, your love will fill me, as warm as the bullets. (Yeah.)
I’ll know my purpose. This war was worth this. I won’t let you down.’
Most importantly is the incredible commentary on Bemis’ Jewish religion. Based on WWII it also insinuates a Romeo and Juliet struggle; they have to fight to be together. There is only love to live for. Even when death comes it is not lost, their bond continues to be the only significance.
7: “Nibble Nibble” ‘Hebrews’ 2014
(feat. Tom Delonge & Sherri Dupree-Bemis)
‘Project your voices to deafen those who hear for us.’
Those who distort the words of the few – who have the right to be respected, should have the truth drilled into them with incessant persistence. All of the violence against individuals can be turned into a vicissitude for strength because the way to becoming better is through self-empowerment.
6: “Spidersong” ‘Baseball’ 2003
‘You, like I, plagued by the flies inside your brain. Oh, I’m creeping up your veins.
Are you smart enough and small enough to play this game?
I’m growing legs,
I’m the spider.’
Essentially about sex between people whose only connection is their emptiness. As he is under her skin she is filled. The innuendos are so explicitly exposed that it doesn’t take much imagination to understand the urges revealed. Later he discloses his disregard for the proposition because of his slothful nature.
5: “Manhattan” ‘Junior Varsity!’ 2000
‘From the rooftop I can lean in close and whisper in your ear:
“Can’t you see, it’s not the same. The stars are spelling out your name and the moon can only frown because it will never be as beautiful as you.”’
The quiet exposition is a line that nearly every girl would love to hear. Their love is not a factory made form rather one that’s divine. Throughout the song his aspirations and desire to make their life together an adventure would drive them both forward.
4: “Princess” ‘I Don’t Think It Is’ 2016
‘Restless union caught between two nymphs inside a second dream
Jungian-referenced therapy, baptized by a Big Gulp.’
Riddled with references this speaks of the victims of loves naivety in “A Midsummer Nights Dream” by Shakespeare and the dream-like revelations of the reality of love, soaked in a colorful, cheap substance that will hurt your health.
3: “Yellow Cat/Red Cat” ‘…Was A Real Boy’ 2006
‘I watch my yellow cat invade my red cat in the yard.
The feline war has raged for years so I assume it’d be to hard
for me to drive my foot between them ¬– I would never risk the scratch
just to prove to one or both of them a cat, is just a cat.’
At face value, it shows strong commentary on the struggle of inequality between groups at war. But as it goes on it highlights the inner struggle of acceptance of current situations and what we believe our lives should be. In truth, we must accept that everyone does what they can to get by.
2: “Retarded in Love” ‘In Defense Of The Genre’ 2007
‘He’s the first to tell you he’s full of sh*t. Like that’s half a compliment for men.
Though he’s waking up in puddles of piss,
he marinates his metaphors in them…’
‘She takes photographs of people she knows.
She brings out the best and worst in them.
A goddess buried deep in the folds
of her fractured self and the lies that they’ve told…’
‘Falling in love: could be the first thing. Falling in love: could be the worst thing. There’s no rehearsing. Retarded in love.’
This is the most beautiful love song especially for the young with large aspirations who feel no one will understand their solace. Each individual is shown for exactly who they are and he hopes that when they come together if they do, they will complete each other. Yet it also questions the structure of unity.
1: “Slumming It with Johnny” Recorded and mixed by Forrest Kline, produced by Max Bemis.
“Look at the earth – it’s just so green.
Perhaps it’s envious of all the galaxies it’s seen, where forces swirl in symbiotic harmony.
Free of the taint, the gas, and paint of parasites like me.”
The song includes the quintessential self-loathing of Say Anything’s music. Which puts our insignificance into perspective. ‘Green’ is used as a negatively charged word, which causes the much larger topic of our deconstruction of the environment, to be blatantly stated. In opposition society currently uses it to try and promote care for nature. As a whole, gravity magnetizes us to the unknown, which is also the exquisiteness that allows us to be alive.