After 18 years, Say Anything is saying goodbye. The nihilistic and self-indulgent image that Max Bemis has cultivated over the years has come to an end. Just like Say Anything, we have matured, made mistakes and done some real self-reflection. As a final farewell, Bemis sends us off with Oliver Appropriate, a fitting wrap up to who Say Anything has been and who they may become. Bemis does not leave his fans with a thrown together finale. Instead, he takes the best elements of Say Anything and puts in into Oliver Appropriate.
The album tackles the main character’s struggles with sexuality and his own masculinity, something that Bemis has been very vocal about himself. Bemis has always been able to take a deep look at who he is and call attention to his inner demons. Oliver is a reflection of Bemis and his fight to be a better man.
Oliver Appropriate is a grown up version of Say Anything. The overall sound is much more toned down than previous albums. The lyrics parallel cult favorite, Is A Real Boy… by taking jabs at himself and those around him. Bemis has received mixed reviews from albums following Is A Real Boy… and rightly so. It’s a tough album to follow. The difference between Oliver Appropriate and IARB is the happiness that Bemis has found in his family. Although Oliver Appropriate reflects on his inner conflict with his sexuality, Bemis is no longer a bitter shell of a man scorned by others. Say Anything’s musical growth over the years is apparent, especially with this new album. The mess of emotions that the character feels is presented properly by Bemis. The topic is complex and the lyrics follow. Songs like “Send You Off” and “Mouthbreather” explore the complications of undeclared bisexuality. The maturation that Say Anything takes with Oliver Appropriate is evident.
Creating a sequel to a strongly defended album can be tricky. Over the years, Max Bemis has lived up to his fan favorite, Is a Real Boy… . Eight albums later, Bemis has left a legacy he has so desperately hoped for. From a cynical teenager to a family-oriented adult, Bemis shows that we can all achieve happiness despite what our youthful angst has told us. Oliver Appropriate says goodbye to these emotions once felt in Is A Real Boy… . Say Anything leaves fans on a proper note, ready to grow up and say peace out (for now).