Say Anything …Is a Real Boy

The hubris of youth is both a blessing and a curse. Take Say Anything, which is ostensibly 21-year-old Max Bemis, who has found himself in the enviable position of being young, angry, and arguably talented, along with the advantage of being signed to the same label as Alicia Keys and Jamie Foxx. Okay, we’ll try not to hold that last one against him, but, dammit, sometimes the sheer fucking gusto and energy that infects this album gets the best of even the most jaded person. Opener "Belt” is kinda ho-hum until the last minute, when Bemis just rips through a jumpy melody and accompanying angry man choir. Indeed, it seems Bemis has to get through the usual poppy hardcore rock pose to get to the original stuff, and this is best borne out in closer "Admit It!!!,” where with only a minute or two left, the song just crackles with youth and attitude. Despite the critique, at least Bemis has a sense of humour about the situation, as in "The Futile,” where he sings: "What do old people teach us but how to die/and what do your hissy fits teach you except how to cry; pussy cry?” Damn sass-mouthed whippersnappers! (J)