Sayanything’s Baseball is the definition of growing pains. It’s the stem pushing through the dirt, hinting at the beginning of something special. It’s angsty-teen pop punk, but there’s definitely something more happening here. At just 17, Max Bemis was not yet the universally praised songwriter who penned 2004’s …Is a Real Boy. But he was getting there.
Writing a 16 song album is something probably too ambitious for even seasoned vets of the trade. But for kids who at the time couldn’t even get into a bar? Crazy. While this album does have its flaws, which is to be expected from an album which sounds like it was recorded live in a bathroom with a single microphone, there isn’t really one filler track on this. Nor are there any tracks who necessarily sound similar. Yes, there are the classic pop punk jams like “All My Friends” and “Colorblind”, but those songs are leagues away from “Ants In My Pants”, which almost sounds like it should be played in a smokey basement jazz hole.
And really, the mix of pissed off pop punk and weirdo, quirk-rock (which is also pissed off, actually) is what defines Baseball. Bemis hasn’t quite found his groove and style as a songwriter, and as a result, these songs span the genre spectrum. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and in Baseball‘s case, it’s a very good thing. One of the most solid, and unfortunately most forgotten song on the album is “Showdown In P-Town”. This song sums up the general mood of Baseball, starting off with a quirky, jumpy riff before building into grinding pop punk powerchords. And of course, Bemis’ signature pissed off lyrics tie the whole thing together. This writer’s favourite line on this album: “All that you can do is call me gay/Sorry, I don’t swing that way/even if I did, I’d still take a crowbar to your brand new car”. There isn’t many awkward kids who went through high school without getting called gay by a cool kid who’s definitely more attractive, suave, and probably smarter than them. Oh, and with more girlfriends. You silly gay.
There is not one bad track on this quite underrated, pop punk/rock/indie/jazz/whatevercore/acoustic? album. It’s a breath of fresh air. It’s something new. It’s something creative. But most of all, it’s the start of something really great. And it would only get better.