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Say Anything Writer Doubles Up For New Album

Of the Oakland Press

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Say Anything’s Max Bemis worried a bit about writer’s block after the release of the Los Angeles band’s first album, “... Is a Real Boy,” in 2004.

It proved to be a moot concern, however. On Tuesday, Bemis and company will release “In Defense of the Genre,” a sprawling, two-CD set featuring 27 new songs, several of which were road-tested during Say Anything’s lengthy touring to promote “... Is a Real Boy.”

“Right after the first record, I really didn’t write anything for a period of six months,” notes Bemis, 23. “Then it all started to come out really quickly. But, yeah, you always get that feeling of, ‘I’m never going to write anything ever again.’ ”

Like its critically acclaimed predecessor, which has sold more than 200,000 copies, “In Defense of the Genre” is an explicitly autobiographical exercise in which Bemis sings about the ups and downs of a relationship he was in at the time (which has since ended) as well as his battle with bipolar disorder, religious issues and the band’s experiences with the first album. It’s impressively unsparing, and unapologetic, and Bemis says he simply doesn’t know how to make music any differently.

“That’s sort of how I’ve always written songs,” he explains, “and after my whole bipolar thing was widely publicized, I sort of learned to be extremely shameless, especially in the venue of writing songs.

“What’s funny is that this album, even though it seems a little more autobiographical than the last one ... it’s really about the same.

“I just think the stuff I’m writing about — a relationship, being an adult — I think people can relate to those themes a little bit more. They’re like, ‘Whoa, he’s really saying that?,’ ’cause they’ve felt the same way, too.”

The MySpace Music Tour, featuring Say Anything, hellogoodbye and Polysics, plays at 7 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 25) at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $20. Call (313) 961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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