Best Buy Theater
Friday, April 13
Better than: So what say you/ and all your friends/ step up to my friends/ in the alley tonight/ yeah.
On Friday night, Say Anything ended their encore with two songs of the same name: "Admit It." The first, from Say Anything's 2004 record ... is a Real Boy, and the second, from their 2012 record Anarchy, My Dear, both contain the sort of wild, mean rhetoric that seeks to character-assassinate the "hipster," or the idea of a hipster, or just someone whose outward projections seem calculated in the cynical. It's practically spoken-word: "Despite your pseudo-bohemian appearance and vaguely leftist doctrine of beliefs/ you know nothing about art or sex that you couldn't read in any trendy New York underground fashion magazine." All of the details and signifiers singer Max Bemis gibbers through ultimately form a kind of cipher, a thing that only reflexively defines Bemis. It doesn't matter if there's a demonstrable person at the end of the song. It's more an ethos than total enmity. The final verse, where Bemis turns the mirror on himself, locks the song into perspective, newly full of a kind of twisted pathos: "Well, let me tell you this/ I am shamelessly self-involved/ I spend hours in front of the mirror making my hair elegantly disheveled."
The new "Admit It," which is actually titled "Admit it Again," seems curiously oriented toward critics, and there is no reflective verse, no object in a mirror, just mean facelessness. Here Bemis is the cipher, yelling needlessly at people who will probably never listen to the song. (One line seems transparently aimed toward, um, a music-reviewing website: "Defining your own self-worth by the opinion of a stupid website with Satan as its figurehead.") It plods musically; where the first "Admit It" nearly rushes by you, the new one dully paces around. Arranged together, in concert, you could witness a band's slow decline in a kind of hyperspeed, time unfurling. Besides, early in the newer song, Bemis sings, "Don't want to hear about how the latest Rihanna single is a postmodern masterpiece," which I choose to take personally.More »