Say Anything Deliver New Album ‘Is Committed’

Max Bemis and his band Say Anything release their first album since 2019, the aptly-titled …Is Committed, on Dine Alone Records. The LP features a brash collection of deeply personal songs, and is to emo band reunion records what Gremlins 2: The New Batch is to film sequels: a self-conscious parody, simultaneously upending and exceeding expectations. This is a band that has rediscovered the initial spark that lit the flame of inspiration over twenty years ago, when Bemis formed the outfit with drummer Coby Linder at Camp Ramah in Ojai, CA.

Previously released singles include the band’s urgent reintroduction “PSYCHE!,” the heartbreaking “ARE YOU (IN) THERE?,” “CARRIE & LOWELL & CODY (PENDENT),” a song about codependency, alienation, and resolving conflict with the ones closest to you, “I, VIBRATOR,” in which Bemis lampoons the traditional “for the ladies” song by writing about his desire to be a disembodied vibrator used as a tool of female sexual empowerment, and most recently “ON CUM,” a textbook ripper, packed with allusions to the bands that formed the soundtrack to Emo Nite and the When We Were Young Festival, which the band is set to perform at in October.

Speaking on today’s focus track, “AUTO-HARMONIC ASS FIXATION,” Bemis said in a statement “Do you like Smashing Pumpkins’ woefully underrated Adore? Do you like Weezer’s Almost-But-Not-Overrated Pinkerton? Do you like any Say Anything song pre-2006 but possibly not given a sh*t to anything I’ve done since? You may find yourself surprised to be rocking out to this song.”

In the same way that Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares (Intro)” serves as an adrenaline shot to help shake off self-doubt and depression, the songs on …Is Committed are meant to be played at pulverizing volume. These are sing-a-longs for listeners to shred their larynxes. Raw power tapping into atavistic rage, and offering catharsis for anyone who has ever felt like the world was conspiring against them.

The album represents both a return to form and a mid-career left turn. Bemis still traffics in exaggeration and Jewish humor, but the hyperbole has been tempered by the blows of reality. This is no longer the angst of post-adolescence, but the grim phantasms of adulthood. Coming full circle in a sense, Bemis says these are the most autobiographical songs that he’s written since high school.

…Is Committed is as much an album as a labyrinth, a therapy session kvetch, a conflagration of obscene horror, familial distress, and humanistic lament. A defining capstone to a period of blinding trauma that has only now begun to heal. You probably already knew that anesthetized bliss was never in the cards. After all, the closest thing to a happy ending in real life is one that is bittersweet.




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