“In Defense Of The Genre”
Say Anything – Spores
Max Bemis is an interesting sort of rock star – a true bedroom songwriter, he had established something of a fan base early on by writing songs and uploading them to various sites on the Internet, becoming something of an independent Internet music hero with youth across America. And then when he and high school friend and drummer Coby Linder began collaborating, the beginnings of Los Angeles-based Say Anything were born.
Fast forward a couple of years later to 2005, awhile after the bands’ debut album, …Is A Real Boy, had established itself as a rock success and scene favourite, despite its ironic wailings against the mainstream. Bemis, diagnosed as bi-polar in his youth, became enamoured by all the drugs and booze suddenly making themselves ever present. Combined with a rebellious decision to stop medicating for his illness, the next few years proved to be a horrible plunge into self-destruction, insanity, and near-death.
Despite efforts from former bandmates, family, and friends, Bemis would refuse medication and treatment for quite some time, until being arrested in New York. He was commited to preliminary treatment, and upon completion finally succumbed to his family and friends’ pressure to submit himself to treatment at the Menninger Clinic, a world-renowned psychiatric centre in Houston, Tx.
Having cleaned up, Bemis returned to his creative side and began work on a sophomore disc. He entered the studio in February in LA with producer Brad Wood (The Working Title, Stabilo), and worked a few months straight. Then, upon flying back to his new home of Brooklyn, went immediately back into the studio to record another record, this time working with his long-time idol Chris Conley (of Saves The Day). The result is In Defense Of The Genre, an appropriately ambitious album featuring 27 songs spread out over two discs.
And in case their was any concern, know that Bemis, Linder and the others have crafted an incredible album, featuring guest vocal performances by over 20 artists – contemporaries like Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, Hayley Williams of Paramore, to Chris Conley himself.
And in the spirit of songs of pain, lonliness, and drama (something of a theme on this blog of late), I submit the songs here and bulk of the record itself. I definitely recommend everyone look into the songs; with styles of music running the spectrum, coupled with Bemis’ flair for style and theatricality, there is definitely something here for everyone.
Top 5 songs: Spores, About Falling, An Insult To The Dead, That Is Why, Spay Me.
20% that I would cut (5 songs): The Church Channel, We Killed It, In Defense Of The Genre, Goodbye Young Tutor… You’ve Now Outgrown Me, Hangover Song.