The year was 2008. I was thirteen years old, had a terrible taste in fashion, an obsession with coffee, a strange passion for the comedy show Scrubs and an even stranger passion for Sarah Chalke (she was/ is fine).
Anyway, it was a Sunday morning and I was nearing the end of my Scrubs marathon, I had almost polished off all 8 series, I got to the last episode, the one in which holds one of my favourite scenes in modern television.
After about two series of will they won’t they JD (Zach Braff) and Elliot (Sarah Chalke) finally kiss. None of this holds any real relevance, but in the background of this scene, I heard a song.
This song was beautiful, powerful, lyrically poignant, and just brilliant.
The song turned out to be Alive With The Glory of Love by the band Say Anything.
Now, strictly speaking, there aren’t many albums that spring to mind when I think of brilliance. Especially in terms of studio debuts.
However, …Is a Real Boy, was an album I instantly fell in love with.
From the punk-rock demeanour in the opening song, Belt, to the heartfelt charm in, I Want To Know Your Plans, the album is pretty fucking unreal.
The lyrical mastermind of Max Bemis gained the band many plaudits; he was even considered the next Bob Dylan at one point.
But for me this debut album is more than just lyrically sophisticated, the guitars in every track are just amazing.
They say once you’ve listened to an album once, every other time you listen to it you’ll hear new things. I haven’t found this to be apparent until this album.
For example, in the song Yellow Cat (Slash) Red Cat, there are so many things going on that you’re almost sucked in to the mind-set of which Max Bemis was in at the time of recording.
It’s been well documented that Max Bemis almost drove himself to clinical insanity whilst recording the album.
So it’s no surprise that in songs like Woe, he shares his insecurities in one-liners such as; she took pity on me horizontally/ oh most likely because of my band, or after working his fingers to the bone for the album at the end of Admit It!!! He is literally screaming; when I’m dead/ I’ll rest.
There are very few albums that still mean as much to me at the age of 18 that they did when I was 14.
But every time I play …Is a Real Boy, I find myself getting excited about the next song again.
…Is a Real Boy, introduced Max Bemis and Say Anything to the world and began what has been an illustrious career. After all, he has about four side projects and his own collection of comic books.
Well done to the pioneer of American indie-rock, and happy birthday to the album that changed my life.