I cant believe this is the final Say Anything album but its fitting it would be a sequel to 'Is a Real Boy". Honestly the first SA album I purchased and devoured was "In Defense of the Genre" which was one of my favorite albums to blast in High School. Even though it was a double album I soon craved more but I couldn't find "Is a Real Boy" anywhere in my city at the time and I didn't have my own income or amazon account. But then one day I found it at a Barnes and it was the reissue with bonus tracks. Yes I then became obsessed with that album and listened to it relentlessly. Max has such distinct vocals and his style is bipolar in the best way. He can sound aggressive and harmonic and sometimes intertwine the two styles effortlessly. The bands sound was always original amongst its peers. So then they released their self titled album on the biggest record label of their career. Some of the immature fans would call them sellouts or whatever. But I liked the idea of them becoming more popular. The album was more catchy and straight forward than the previous ones but still a good album. Sadly it didn't increase the bands popularity by much and they went back to indie labels for the next album "Anarchy, My Dear" which is my second LEAST favorite album by them. Not bad but not good. Their first "average" album in my opinion. I'm sure many fans will disagree but oh well. Their next album "Hebrews" was their most original and one of their best for me. Max decided to write guitar riffs, then instead of using guitars he would recreate the riffs with orchestral instruments and the result is a masterpiece. Its probably the most intense and heavy rock album that has zero guitars. I'm not gonna say its their best, but its my favorite from them and will be emulated by many bands in the future as it becomes a classic. Their 2016 album "I Don't Think It Is" is their WORST album. Sorry die hard fans I just couldn't and still cant get into that album. So now here we are in 2019 and Max has released the final album. I tried not to listen to many of the singles prior to the release because I like to feel like I'm discovering more from the album. I had to listen to one song at least to get an idea before the album came out and it was "Pink Snot" which I will go over further in the review. Let me just say that I have listened to the album 3 times now and cant get enough. I don't think it will top "Hebrews" as my favorite but its a close second. Yes I hold this above both "Is A Real Boy" and "IDOTG". I'm not saying its better than those albums as I love them to death, but I enjoyed this one more and can see myself listening to it much more possibly making it become my favorite. Here is my track by track review of what I think is the one of the best rock operas of the past 20 years.
1. The Band Fuel: The band always starts with fitting album openers and this one is no exception. It starts off calm with acoustics and lullaby like vocals as if youre waking up along with the main character in the morning before quietly exploding during the last half beautifully. A nice short song to start off. 9/10
2. Daze: One of the first songs released months before the album finally came but I stayed away as I mentioned earlier and it was very tough believe me. This brings back the style of the first two albums perfectly with its aggressively acoustic guitar and quick drums. The chorus is very immensely infectious with angry clever lyrics and delivery in the verses the way only Max can pull off. Instantly one of my favorites from the band. 10/10
3. Pink Snot: This was the only single I listened to before the album dropped and it sold me right away. I might have listened to it over 100 times since and plan to multiple that number. This might be one of the best songs Max has come up with all around. Stylistically it sounds like a sequel to their song "Spores" with its acoustic guitar and quiet clap beat. The chorus sounds so catchy and tragic especially during the finale of the song. This is such a Say Anything song. I cant get enough of it. 11/10
4. Greased: This is one of the obvious straight up storyteller songs. No chorus. Simple acoustic instrumentation. This one is all about the lyrics to continue the story of the rock opera. I never skip the song when Im listening in my car but I can't lie and say its one I would choose over the others. Listen to this one for the lyrics only to complete the experience mostly for me. 7/10
5. Ew Jersey: Things pick back up almost continuing the sound of "Pink Snot". I swear Max is the only vocalist that can sound aggressive and melodic at the same time on an acoustic track so perfectly. Short, simple and great. 9/10
6. Mouthbreather: I'm starting to get that this is mostly an acoustic album by now. But like I said in the previous song, if you think its soft, its most definitely not when youre dealing with Max. Nice female background vocals I'm guessing is his wife who compliments him beautifully. There is a nice little guitar solo to end this gemas well. 9.5/10
7. When I'm Acid: Things speed up with this one. Love the anger in the vocals as always. This one is only 90 seconds so its easy to put on repeat 10 times and not notice. The verses, the chorus, the simple twirling acoustics. Quick and sick. 9.5/10
8. Captive Audience: This one starts with a groovy piano with soaring vocals. Then the last 30 seconds ends the songs with Max lamenting in true rock opera ballad fashion. At 90 seconds again this one is a perfect example of how this kind of album can be adapted into a stage musical. 9.5/10
9. Your Father: This one is the albums most pop punk song. Immediately you'll notice the vocals aren't Max. At first I thought he was doing a voice for this song but then I looked in the album booklet which pointed out that the vocals on this song are performed by drummer Karl Kuem with help from a female and some backing vocals by Max. Its strange not hearing Max on lead but the song is really good. Its the most un-Say Anything sounding song on the album but doesn't sound out of place if that makes sense. Nice poppy chorus. Great lyrics to keep the story going. Also less than 2 minutes again. 9/10
10: Send You Off: Back to the main acoustic-aggressive SA sound with this song. The opening guitar riff sounds like something out of early Modest Mouse territory. The chorus is nice and slick as the lyrics mention. Also noteworthy is the lyrics hinting at bisexualism which Max came out as recently. Really emotional the best way SA can do. 9/10
11: Fired: This is the shortest song at just over a minute long. Its a sad and silly song about, you guessed it, getting fired. Not one of my favorites but at a short length how can anyone hit the skip button? 8/10
12: Its A Process: The most upbeat and electric guitar-centric song on the album. Its sound is akin to "Baby Girl Im a Blur" and maybe "A Look" from Hebrews. I think this was a single and rightfully so. It could've been their biggest hit if it was released years back. The chorus will make any man who has been left for another man relate. Also workout playlist worthy during a treadmill jog. 9.5/10
13. The Hardest: Back to the main sound again. But this one is more of a Fleetwood Mac-esque duet with Max and I'm assuming his wife again. The lyrics are violent and tragic with a somewhat upbeat and sad sound to the song right to the end. This one might leave you feeling empty, in a good way. Like you just lost something or someone dear. Just proof of what music can do to you. 9.5/10
14. Sediment: The finale of the album is the longest song at over 5 minutes. The lyrics continue the gruesomeness of the previous track. Like most of the album especially "Pink Snot" this one takes on the style of their song "Spores" especially the buildup to then explosive finale of the musical section of the song. The final 2 minutes is a spoken word from Max that sadly ends the story that started with IARB and is possibly the goodbye of Say Anythings career. 9.5/10
So I may have somewhat brought it up but this album is full of songs mostly under 3 minutes each. The entire experience is only 35 minutes long and easy to have on repeat. Every time the finale of the album ends I always feel this feeling of sadness I would compare to every time I finish watching the movies Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Sweeney Todd. I listened to each song again as I typed this review and now I cant resist, this is now my favorite album from the band. Fitting that it would be their final album and the sequel to their most cherished work by most fans. Its a depressing album, and I'm not depressed, but I love the sad experience and emotions it invokes. This is already the best rock album of 2019 for me by a longshot and one of the best modern rock operas. Its sad most rock bands nowadays couldn't even attempt a rock opera. Also its a shame this band still hasn't gained even 1/10 of the popularity it deserves after a 20 year career. No albums even went Gold. I'm quite confident this band will gain even more notoriety years and years later when people realize what they've overlooked. Thank You Max for the best finale to one of the best bands.
P.S. This album is worth OWNING whether its the CD or Vinyl. The album booklet contains lyrics and at the end is a nice little playwright style dialogue connecting to the albums story. Cool stuff even if its old school.