Monday, April 24, 2006 a real review

Say Anything
"...Is a Real Boy/...Was a Real Boy"

It's taken me a while to kick the review out for this album; I mean, the reissue has been out since March and the album itself has been on shelves since 2004, so I've had plenty of time. Oh well.

If you've ever read any random post where I go off about reissues, you know that I hate reissues in the same way I hate jelly donuts. Unless the album has been out-of-print for years (see: Rocket From the Crypt, Smoking Popes), reissuing shit is completely unnecessary. Take a look at Victory and Tooth and Nail's current release schedule. Many of those titles (Norma Jean, Underoath, Mae, Aiden, Hawthorne Heights) have been sitting out on shelves for quite some time and many members of their niche audience already own them; the only reason why those labels would rerelease them is to clearly milk the proverbial cow dry. But of course, kids still buy them, so the labels keep pumping out reissues.

Say Anything's reissue of "...Is a Real Boy" is really about media hype. To anybody who's been following the band since the original release of their debut (or sophomore depending on who you ask) back in the summer of 2004, it's obvious that J Records is putting a lot of money behind the tormented world of prinicipal songwriter/singer Max Bemis. From articles in "Entertainment Weekly" and "Spin" to video premieres on Yahoo/, you're hard pressed to find an outlet of mainstream media that doesn't talk about Bemis' bout with bi-polar disorder. In a lot of ways, it mimics 50 Cent's rise to popularity where all anyone could talk or write about was the incident that left him with nine bullet wounds.

Unlike Fiddy, however, Bemis' is full of emotional substance and his album, chock full of anti-hipster anthems and songs about smoking weed, left many kids wanting more. For those kids, J Records offers a bonus disc ("Was a Real Boy") on the reissue; seven tracks of rough mixes for a planned/unreleased benefit recording called "Say Anything Vs. AIDS." The songs are hit-and-miss at best, though the promising tracks like "Total Revenge," "Metal Now," and "It's a Metaphor, Fool," recall the energy and cynical songwriting of Bemis' earlier material. The other songs are good by pop-punk standards, but mediocre by Say Anything's.

The original record remains untouched, save the explicit lyrics sticker that looms in the corner of the artwork, and it's probably for the best. While "...Is a Real Boy" is being pimped to a broader audience, it's still as fresh-sounding as it was two years ago; as far as the bonus disc goes, you might be better off downloading select tracks from iTunes, or finding it in a used bin somewhere.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home