Out of the wintry, proverbial blue on Wednesday night, Say Anything frontman/epicenter Max Bemis threw a new album online. Start streaming I Don't Think It Is above, then click to YouTube for a playlist that will take you through the whole thing.
This is the act's seventh full-length and the follow-up to 2014's Hebrews, where every song was supported by a known quantity in the punk/hardcore/emo scene, including Tom DeLonge, Chris Conley and Mrs. Sherri DuPree-Bemis.
"All I knew coming from Hebrews was that I wanted to try to create the Twisted Fantasy of Say Anything records (just shut up and let me say stuff like that)," Bemis says in a long note accompanying the album stream, referencing Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. There's more to it, too: An interview with Noisey reveals that Bemis actually got into the studio with Kanye, where they played music for each other and talked production advice. Bemis goes on:
"I’m still in touch, who knows what’ll come of [the studio meet-up]. It had such a huge impact on making me feel like the world is such a small place. ... It seems so lofty of a goal to be as creative as people like him or Kendrick. We can try to. I can try to. It’s not unachievable because these are just dudes.
I Don't Think It Is will get an official digital release on Friday, Feb. 6 and arrive in physical formats on April 15. Explaining the surprise release, Bemis writes that he's "become a bit weary of doing the same song and dance leading up to the actual endgame, people actually listening to something."
Mutemath drummer Darren King entered Bemis' writing process early on, collaborating "fully on [the LP's] production and creation," a move Bemis has "never done in 15 years of Say Anything" and now says is "the closest I could be to being in a traditional 'band.'" The approach, inspired by hip-hop's frequently collaborative nature, involved "samplers and analog weirdness, improvisational playing and, most importantly, relinquishing my dictatorial control over the band's output." Founding bassist Alex Kent also returned.
Bemis is pretty clear about where his band stands now, in 2016, 12 years after breaking out with ...Is a Real Boy:
"As weirdly me as our work will always be, Say Anything has truly become a collective. I can now go on with the rest of my life knowing there is an infinite amount of things left to do with this not‐really‐a‐band. I Don't Think It Is has cemented in my mind that it's going to be a fun few decades before I'm too old to parade my ever‐expanding ass in front of a crowd of sweaty kids. And despite Say Anything being a oneman band, it's nice to know that I don't have to do it alone."
Say Anything is on tour from April 20 to May 28; get the dates here and check out the I Don't Think It Is tracklist below:
1. "Give a Damn"
2. "17 Coked Up Speeding"
4. "So Numb"
8. "The Bret Easton Ellis School of Witchcraft and Wizardry"
10. "Wire mom
12. "Varicose Visage"