...Is a Real Boy

...Is a Real Boy
Say Anything Is a Real Boy.png
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 3, 2004 (2004-08-03)
ProducerMax Bemis, Tim O'Heir, Stephen Trask
Say Anything chronology
For Sale...
...Is a Real Boy
In Defense of the Genre
Singles from ...Is a Real Boy
  1. "Alive with the Glory of Love"
    Released: September 11, 2006
  2. "Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too"
    Released: January 30, 2007

...Is a Real Boy is the second full-length release by Say Anything.


On January 27, 2003, the band announced they had signed to Doghouse Records; shortly after, they recorded demos for their next album, which was expected to be released later in the year.[5] The following month, vocalist Max Bemis and drummer Coby Linder were in the process of recruiting members to help them tour.[6] With tremendous self-created pressure, Bemis threw himself into pushing the sonic boundaries of the band and maturing their sound, incorporating elements of math-rock, indie-pop and theatrical pomp. He and Linder also started the search for a producer. The two met several producers but eventually decided on Tim O'Heir and Stephen Trask. Bemis struggled with different ideas for the record and decided the album should focus on "the artistic struggle, the fact that every creative person has this sick ambition to affect some sort of change in society with their art, to be more than just a guy in a band or a poet or a sculptor." According to the album's liner notes, ...Is a Real Boy was originally intended to be a rock opera, complete with a full narrative, cast of characters and spoken word interludes between each song. One tentative title for the album was Zona! Zona![7] However, Bemis became overwhelmed by the entire process of writing and playing most of the instruments and had a breakdown.[8]

"I literally lost my mind while we were recording," stated Bemis regarding the breakdown. The breakdown was precipitated by a mockumentary discussed by Bemis and O'Heir. Bemis' condition led him to believe he was being secretly filmed for the mockumentary; the situation culminated in him walking the streets of Brooklyn thinking he was being filmed while encountering friends (who were actually strangers).[9] After recovering, Bemis decided to focus solely on the music and dropped the idea of a script.[10] Around July 2003, the band began recording ...Is a Real Boy, their first album with Doghouse Records. Bemis said the two people he wanted to "outdo with ...Is a Real Boy were Andy Warhol and Jesus."[9] In addition to working with O'Heir and Trask, Say Anything worked with Forrest Kline (of power pop band Hellogoodbye) to record the For Sale... EP, released in 2004.[11] The band also worked with ECA Records to record a promotional album that was never released.[8]


On April 13, 2004, ...Is a Real Boy was announced for release in four months' time. Alongside this, "Belt", "Woe", "Alive with the Glory of Love", and "Admit It!!!" were made available for streaming through the band's website.[12] The following month, the band appeared on a handful of dates on the Honda Civic Tour.[13] In June and July 2004, the band toured with Audio Karate, Lances Hero, and MC Lars.[14] ...Is a Real Boy was released on August 3, 2004, through Doghouse Records.[12] In October and November 2004, the band went on tour with Hot Rod Circuit, Northstar and Straylight Run.[15] In February 2005, the group toured with Recover, Armor for Sleep, and Case Pagan.[16] Between October and December, the band toured alongside Senses Fail, The Early November and Saves the Day.[17]

"Alive with the Glory of Love" and "Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too" were the album's singles, released on September 11, 2006 and January 30, 2007,[18] respectively. Several songs from ...Is a Real Boy and their corresponding demos—including "Belt," "Every Man Has a Molly," "Spidersong," and "Alive with the Glory of Love"—have been released on compilations.

A promotional 7" vinyl to be released via ECA Records (originally on July 15, 2003) and a split EP were planned.[7] However, the promotional vinyl and split were never released, although both tracks from the vinyl, an acoustic version of "Belt" (complete with alternate lyrics and a tirade about indie labels by Bemis at the end of the song) along with "You Help Them" (from Menorah/Majora) can be downloaded from Anything's online forum.[19]

"Alive with the Glory of Love" was released to radio on June 20, 2006.[20] In October and November 2006, the band went on tour with MewithoutYou and Piebald.[21] "Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too" was released to radio on January 30, 2007.[20]


During the initial release of the album, ...Is a Real Boy managed to sell 20,000 copies independently, attracting major label attention.[1] J Records, then owned and operated by Sony Music Entertainment and distributed by the RCA Music Group signed the band and reissued the album on February 28, 2006. The bonus disc included with the reissue, ...Was a Real Boy, features seven tracks that were originally from an eight-track EP known unofficially as the Say Anything vs. AIDS demos. As noted in the reissue's liner notes, the EP, which was recorded in Kevin Seaton's garage, was scrapped by Bemis as he did not feel the band was popular enough to sufficiently support such a cause.

A second reissue came in the form of a "double gatefold 12-inch LP" released by Doghouse Records on October 23, 2007, which included all tracks from the original reissue plus an extra track, "Walk Through Hell," originally from the Menorah/Majora EP. This release included a green record and a black record. Only 1,000 copies of the album were printed.[22][23] Doghouse Records released the third re-issue of the album on October 7, 2008. Like the previous release, the version was on vinyl only and was limited to 1,000 copies.[22]

A fourth re-issue was made available for pre-order on February 22, 2012 through Doghouse Records in the form of a "gatefold double LP on opaque white and olive green splattered vinyl." Only 250 copies were made for preorder, 10 of them coming with the test pressings used in production of the LP. Both versions were sold out within two hours of being made available for preorder.

Critical reception[]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[3]
Blender3.5/5 stars
Entertainment WeeklyB+[1]
Melodic3/5 stars[25]
Punknews.org4.5/5 stars (2004)[26]
3.5/5 stars (2006)[27]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[28]
Sputnikmusic5/5 stars[4]
Yahoo! MusicFavorable[29]

...Is a Real Boy has received almost universally positive reviews from music critics. AbsolutePunk.net reviewer Jason Tate awarded the album a 99% rating and praised the band's writing, saying "By the second song it is perceptible that the band has a grasp on crafting songs that do not follow a formula, or insult the listener by maintaining a hold on one particular style or sound."[24] Allmusic's Corey Apar also gave the album a glowing review, writing "...Is a Real Boy comes off as an impressively well-done, multifaceted effort that deserves multiple spins and makes Say Anything truly a band to watch."[3] Punk News noted that the album seems to be commenting in the over-use of irony in the emo scene, writing "Yes, this album is highly ironic in that it's critical of the scene it's categorized in and it's an album about a band and there are songs in here that are about songs. But, Bemis's overall quirkiness makes it work."[26] Entertainment Weekly wrote that, "Say Anything, an emo act based in L.A., has a new disc that proves that the genre can be artful and intriguing."[1] BuzzFeed included the album at number 19 on their "36 Pop Punk Albums You Need To Hear Before You F——ing Die" list.[30] "Alive with the Glory of Love" appeared on a best-of emo songs list by Vulture.[31] Spartanburg Herald-Journal include the album on their list of the best albums of the year.[32] Rolling Stone ranked the album among the 40 greatest emo albums of all-time.[2]

Track listing[]

Original release: ...Is a Real Boy[]

All tracks are written by Max Bemis with the exception of "Metal Now," which was written and composed by Bemis and Kevin Sachs (Casper Adams), according to the album's liner notes.

3."The Writhing South"4:46
4."Alive with the Glory of Love"4:15
5."Yellow Cat (Slash) Red Cat"5:18
6."The Futile"2:45
8."An Orgy of Critics"3:55
9."Every Man Has a Molly"3:05
10."Slowly, Through a Vector"4:40
11."Chia-Like, I Shall Grow"4:56
12."I Want to Know Your Plans"5:12
13."Admit It!!!"6:12

Re-issue bonus disc: ...Was a Real Boy[]

1."Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too"3:00
2."Little Girls"3:53
3."Most Beautiful Plague"4:53
4."It's a Metaphor, Fool"2:51
5."Total Revenge"3:27
6."Metal Now"2:44
7."I Will Never Write an Obligatory Song About Being on the Road and Missing Someone"3:49

Vinyl bonus track[]

1."Walk Through Hell"3:30

Vinyl release[]

...Is A Real Boy has four vinyl pressings, the first being released October 23, 2007. The second pressing was released October 7, 2008 and a third pressing in 2008. The fourth pressing was released May 29, 2012.

Record Label Color(s) Pressed Notes
Doghouse Records Black (A/B) Green (C/D) 1000 1st Pressing
White 1000 2nd Pressing
Orange 1000 3rd Pressing
Red 1000 4th Pressing
Black 300
Blue+ 250
White w/ Olive Splatter 250
White w/ Ox Blood Splatter 250

+United Kingdom release on Doghouse Records\Banquet Records

Chart performance[]


Year Chart Position
2007 Top Heatseekers 8


Year Single Chart Position
2006 Alive with the Glory of Love Hot Modern Rock Tracks 28


According to the liner notes:

Additional crs, also from the liner notes:



  1. ^ a b c d Endelman, Michael (February 27, 2006). "...Is a Real Boy Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 9, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Spanos, Brittany (March 1, 2016). "40 Greatest Emo Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Apar, Corey. "...Is a Real Boy Review". AllMusic. Retrieved May 9, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Knott, Adam (October 16, 2009). "...Is a Real Boy Review". Sputnikmusic.
  5. ^ Heisel, Scott (January 29, 2003). "Doghouse signs Say Anything". Punknews.org. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  6. ^ Heisel, Scott (February 26, 2003). "Say Anything seeks touring band". Punknews.org. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  7. ^ a b "Say Anything's web site from April 2003". Archived from the original on April 2003. Retrieved May 9, 2011 – via the Internet Archive.
  8. ^ a b Bemis, Max (April 24, 2003). "Archive.org: SayAnythingMusic.com". Say Anything. Archived from the original on April 24, 2003. Retrieved August 2, 2008.
  9. ^ a b Kelley, Trevor (September 2004). "Crazy Days". Alternative Press (194): 104.
  10. ^ Bemis, Max. "Say Anything biography – by Max Bemis". The Official Say Anything Site. Archived from the original on September 22, 2008. Retrieved August 2, 2008.
  11. ^ For Sale... (Media notes). Say Anything. Doghouse Records. 2004.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  12. ^ a b Heisel, Scott (April 13, 2004). "Stream four Say Anything songs". Punknews.org. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  13. ^ Heisel, Scott (April 18, 2004). "Civic Tour lineup confirmed". Punknews.org. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  14. ^ Heisel, Scott (May 6, 2004). "Audio Karate/Say Anything/Lances Hero/MC Lars". Punknews.org. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  15. ^ Paul, Aubin (August 25, 2004). "Straylight Run announces Debut, Tour". Punknews.org. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  16. ^ Adams, Chip (February 1, 2005). "Armor For Sleep Launch US Tour". Fader. Archived from the original on November 30, 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  17. ^ Paul, Aubin (August 12, 2005). "Saves the Day touring with Senses Fail, the Early November, Say Anything". Punknews.org. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  18. ^ "Max Makes Me Touch Myself". Absolutepunk.net. Archived from the original on November 16, 2007. Retrieved May 9, 2011.
  19. ^ conversation with artist of album artwork Archived September 26, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ a b "FMQB Airplay Archive: Modern Rock". Friday Morning Quarterback Album Report, Incorporated. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  21. ^ "New Piebald album out in January 2007". Alternative Press. September 5, 2006. Archived from the original on August 22, 2016. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  22. ^ a b "Vinyl Release Information". Doghouse Records. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved May 9, 2011.
  23. ^ Beres, Corey (August 28, 2008). "...Is a Real Boy vinyl". Say Anything docs @ icorey.com. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved May 9, 2011.
  24. ^ a b Tate, Jason (November 20, 2005). "...Is a Real Boy Review". Absolutepunk.net. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved May 9, 2011.
  25. ^ Roth, Kaj (December 15, 2006). "Say Anything – Is a Real Boy". Melodic. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  26. ^ a b "Is a Real Boy Review". Punknews.org. August 16, 2004.
  27. ^ "Say Anything – ...Is a Real Boy (reissue)". Punknews.org. February 28, 2006.
  28. ^ "...Is a Real Boy Review". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on May 3, 2009.
  29. ^ O'Connor, Rob (February 10, 2006). "...Is A Real Boy". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on March 3, 2006. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  30. ^ Sherman, Maria; Broderick, Ryan (July 2, 2013). "36 Pop Punk Albums You Need To Hear Before You F----ing Die". BuzzFeed. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  31. ^ Cohen, Ian (February 13, 2020). "The 100 Greatest Emo Songs of All Time". Vulture. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  32. ^ Griffin 2004, p. D12