ARTIST: SAY ANYTHING
TITLE: OLIVER APPROPRIATE
LABEL: DINE ALONE RECORDS
WORDS: CHRIS PRENATT
Throughout the band’s 18 years, Say Anything have always tried to one-up themselves with every single release. 2004’s ‘…Is A Real Boy’ is considered a modern emo classic, and their 2007 follow-up ‘In Defense Of The Genre’ is an emo/pop-punk masterpiece, stretching across two CDs and featuring support from people like Hayley Williams of Paramore, Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, and Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio. From then on, the group would always improve, whether it be changing up their style on certain songs or Max Bemis, the brain behind Say Anything, improving his songwriting abilities, creating such fascinating stories from his life and putting it into music.
Four months ago, Bemis made a nine page paper explaining the future of the band, even saying that their next record, ‘Oliver Appropriate’, would be Say Anything’s final album for the time being. In the paper he wrote, Bemis said that “I created Oliver in 2004, though he wasn’t named.” Bemis also mentioned that this album would be a sequel to ‘…Is A Real Boy’, based on the character from that album, Oliver Appropriate.
‘Oliver Appropriate’ is a 14 song musical based on the sad, miserable life of the titular character. We see Oliver’s life come crumbling down throughout the album, and all we can do is watch the poor bastard crash and burn.
The opening track is ‘The Band Fuel’, starting off with Oliver waking up to a brand new day. We hear that Oliver’s life is already a mess, holding an Evian bottle filled with urine in his hand. He complains about being woken by Amazon drones and croons, “I wake up in the flies and filth/ That used to hold some truth in this town they built/ Oh I wake up from a champagne dream/ Where I can blow my mind and forget about what’s tearing me.” The track starts off with just the strumming of an acoustic guitar before it gets built up by the addition of a snare drum, reflecting the mood Oliver has for the day at hand.
“an incredibly short masterpiece, blending in the past elements found in every single SA album into one incredible magnum opus”
Oliver’s life quickly starts to crumble throughout the rest of the album, such as him realizing that his lifestyle of sex, drugs, and booze isn’t healthy (“Daze”), what his sexuality is (“Send You Off”), getting fired (“Fired)”, with all of this finally taking its toll on Oliver on the album’s closing number “Sediment”, a nearly six minute tale that shows the sad ending to Oliver’s day and sees what a mess of a human being he truly is.
Heavy hitters off of the album include “Daze”, a high energy track that has Oliver realizing how much of a wreck he is. In it, we hear Oliver come to terms with his sex life, drug problem, and alcoholism, saying to himself, “I’m a stereotype.” “Pink Snot” uses its handclaps to help keep the energy going while being backed by a sweet electric guitar riff. The piano/electronic fueled “Captive Audience” has Bemis screaming into the mic before going all soft again, while an acoustic guitar helps calm everything down. The Front Bottoms-esque “Your Father” has Bemis pulling out all the things we’ve come to know and love from Say Anything in under two minutes. “It’s A Process” has this In Defense Of The Genrevibe that can be heard throughout the track, feeling like a mashup of “Spores” and “Baby Girl, I’m A Blur”.
Overall, ‘Oliver Appropriate’ is an incredibly short masterpiece, blending in the past elements found in every single SA album into one incredible magnum opus. Bemis closes the casket on this project with an album that makes you feel pity for Oliver, and you wish that everything works out for him in the end. If Bemis ever decides to bring Say Anything back from the dead in the future, he’s going to have a tough time trying to top this album.
Thank you Max, for everything.