Generally speaking, it’s hard to recall any portion of adolescence that makes one cringe quite as instinctively as when the words “middle school” are mentioned. Post-cringe, a plethora of mental images usually appear when reflecting on those awkward years. For me and many of my peers, 2004-2007 was the era of MySpace, mall-hangs, and the curse of raccoon eyes that only gaudy amounts of black eyeliner could produce. Thankfully, bands such as Say Anything were there to create music that would become anthems for these tumultuous teenage years.
Needless to say, I was instantly teleported back in time to the emergence of the emo-rock era circa 2004 when I heard Say Anything would be coming to the The Blue Note. Reflecting on the many middle school crushes I endured with “Alive With the Glory of Love” playing from my chunky, iPod Classic (remember those?), I decided there was absolutely no way I’m going to miss this show.
However, just as much as changed since the early 2000s, so have the components of Say Anything. Since the band was first formed by front-man Max Bemis and his four friends in Los Angeles in 2000, ten past members have come and gone over the course of six albums. Their most recent album, Hebrews, which was just released this June, conveys the trials and tribulations Bemis has faced over the past 15 years as a front-man, including become a father.
The precision with which Hebrews captures the entirety of the rollercoaster ride Say Anything has ridden since their early days is remarkable, but the composition of the album is perhaps the most profoundly shocking element of the record. Bemis, who produced the album, decided to replace traditional guitar riffs with orchestral string arrangements, taking the pop punk DNA of the band to an entirely new dimension.
Wondering what in the hell the combination of pop-punk and orchestral arrangements could possibly sound like? Here’s your answer:
If the combination of nostalgia and curiosity fueling the anticipation for the show isn’t enough to convince you it’s not one to be missed, the opportunity to see me reliving my middle school “glory” (notice the quotation marks) days is reason enough to get your ticket now.
This post was written by Elise Kuhnmuench, contributing writer for The Blue Note.