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Say Anything: In Defense Of The Genre

B+

Say Anything

Album: In Defense Of The Genre
Label: J

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"Baby Girl, I'm A Blur," the first single from Say Anything's new In Defense Of The Genre, is a lousy song—worse than that, it's misleading, considering that the album as a whole is far more intriguing. The two-disc set is an eclectic eruption of Max Bemis' teeming brain, a roiling stew of bile and hemorrhaged hearts that pits loops, scratches, metal riffs, and even showtune pop against nü-punk songcraft. The flashpoint is the title track: Although the word "emo" is absent, it's obvious which genre Bemis is referencing. But—as in the controversy-baiting "Died A Jew" and its incendiary line, "My people were slaves before yours invented hip-hop"—his stance is so wrapped in sarcasm, it's tough to pinpoint whether he's being straight, satirical, or both. Regardless, Bemis has concocted a deliciously confounding album that transcends emo more than defends it.