Today’s Song: The Thrills and Pills of Say Anything’s “Pink Snot”

Say Anything 2019
“Pink Snot,” the second single from Oliver Appropriate, details some of Max Bemis’ struggles with addiction in the most Say Anything manner.

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On what may be their final album, Say Anything grapple with frontman and lone member Max Bemis’ drug abuse, sexuality, and reckoning with being in a successful band.  In a manifesto published last year, Bemis described some of the struggles with addiction that he faced over the period that Oliver Appropriate (out 1/25 via Dine Alone Records) was being written and recorded.  No song on the record emphasizes this theme better than “Pink Snot,” a rousing, folk-punk single with a call-and-response chorus.

Stream: “Pink Snot” – Say Anything


Centered around Bemis’ signature snarl, “Pink Snot” embraces pill addiction, as much as it tiptoes around it.  As much of Oliver Appropriate is, the song is built around a simple acoustic guitar that makes it sound like a barroom sing-along complete with claps and stomping chorus.  When Bemis brings in electric guitars, it’s hastily slapped on top, bringing more of a DIY charm to the song.

Oliver Appropriate - Say Anything

Oliver Appropriate – Say Anything

From the very start of the song, Bemis is justifying his pill-usage, referring to himself in the third-person as “My friend.”  The justification is loaded with an uplifting chorus so when he’s “Making up excuses just to buy tin foil,” the downward spiral is more fulfilling than a wallowing addict in the gutter.  The excuses come in the sort of way we all justify bad behavior to ourselves:

I know a lot of men in hardcore bands
Collectively funding the Colombians.
Straight-edge guys who turn to weed and beer
Now, they all got divorced, and they all grow beards.

Being self-aware of his scene is just as much a standard of Bemis’ lyrics as the awkward introspection.  Using hardcore bands breaking edge as a reason to allow his own drug abuse is about as Say Anything as the song could get.

Even though a lot of this may sound bleak and dire, there is a sense of amusement that comes with the crash.  In the chorus, Bemis does declare, “It’s a thrill, man.” The thrill of it all offsets hangovers like:

So ya like to have a drink knowing you might drown
In the Friday’s bar where the dead go down
Take opoids or your homespun meth
Or claim that tripping helps you write the best.

The guest vocals from Brianna Collins give another level of darkness to Bemis’ catchy chorus.  She sings, “The pills, not me/You made your choice.”  It shows that sometimes something may feel or look fun, but other people can watch you collapsing.

“Pink Snot” is the cycle of anxiety and addiction that Oliver Appropriate grapples with in one song.  It has all the joy and excitement that comes with using, but it also has all the fear and crash that soon follows.  Say Anything is leaving on as unapologetically honest and self-aware as they entered.

:: pre-order Oliver Appropriate here ::

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Oliver - Say Anything

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James is a writer, currently in Human Resources at The New York Times. Besides Atwood, he's contributed to SensationsPress.com and his own blog BurgerADay.com. In his free time, James also writes poetry, performs stand-up comedy, listens to more podcasts than he can keep up with, and can be found floating around shows in New York City's punk scene.