Unless you’re Weezer, the self-titled album is usually reserved for a band’s debut. It says, “Here we are, this is everything we represent as a group.” There are some exceptions, of course, but that’s been the general rule for most of rock history. However, Say Anything‘s new self-titled collection (which hits stores today) is actually their fourth full-length, and it follows their epic double-disc In Defense of the Genre. So why the reset?
“It was originally called This Is Forever,” Bemis told MTV News. “But we realized that with the new album, we were really re-establishing ourselves as a band. [In Defense of the Genre] really represents my later adolescence. People do really smart and cool things when they’re 19 or 20 years old. I tried so hard, and it was really an ambitious record. Our new record is more of a grown-up record. In a way, it’s poppier and it skews younger. I don’t think it’s a step down or a dumbed down version of the last record. If anything, it’s smarter.”
Though the new album opened with a single called “Hate Everyone,” Say Anything really does represent growth and progress for one of rock music’s most notorious malcontents. What changed? He recently got married (to Sherri DuPree of Eisley). But domestic life hasn’t softened him. If anything, he explains, it’s made him sharper. “The things I write about now are actually bigger. Now I can step back and say ‘What is actually wrong?’ Because there’s less ego involved, and less pride,” he explained. “I walk around sort of pissed even more at things in society or things I recognize in myself. I don’t live an illusion now — if anything, I’m more awake.”