After Brand New released some merch branded with “Brand New 2000-2018” I decided to have a sit down and write about why they are so great.
Over their four albums Brand New have amassed a large following of sadboys/girls/people who would drop everything in a heartbeat to see them live. Most people grew to love them during their angsty teenage years where hearts were broken and puberty peaked.
To outsiders, Brand New are just another band from the early emo era who whine about love and heartbreak. However, what is special about Brand New is that each album coincides with the aging of the band as well as fans. Yes, they may have started off as your textbook emo band but each album progresses further into darker themes.
Fans who have been with Brand New from 2001’s Your Favorite Weapon have lived through every adolescent stage. YFW is all whiny and about young love – the “GET OUT OF MY ROOM, MOM” phase – but it’s what most people go through. Also you can’t help but shout “OR ME” out loud while listening to ‘Mixtape’. Deja Entendu, as Pitchfork put it, “hints at something more substantial than YFW.” Although still skirting around the lost love topic, Deja is a step up in regards to lyrical themes and content.
The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Of Me on the other hand is just the best: unequivocally brilliant and emotionally draining, just what you want from a Brand New record. Personally, I’m a sucker for anything beautiful and sad and TDAG is exactly that. It has the emo anthem ‘Jesus Christ’ and the heart-wrenching ‘Limousine’, which is about the death of seven-year-old Katie Flynn. The theme of an ever-present evil and the disillusion of innocence is what makes this album resonate most with fans and seen as arguably their best.
Moving on to their most recent (if eight years can be deemed “recent”) album, Daisy, and things are a little less emotional. Daisy shows how Brand New don’t always have to churn out sad songs to make a solid, intense album. Jesse Lacey subs soft whispers for frantic screams, which gives the band a whole new dynamic.
If we’re taking the “2000-2018” merch to heart we only have two more years with the band. Lacey had already hinted before that the band was coming to an end but it’s still a bit of a shock. Brand New are something more than every other rock band. I’m totally being biased right now but I think it’s important to note that I am still biased even after being a fan for seven years. With other bands you can love them intensely for a year or two but then it goes away. However for myself and many others there is still a strong emotional connection. I’m not saying this feeling is exclusive to Brand New as there are other artists/bands that can have the same effect on others, but on a personal level there is always one band or album that will stick with you forever and for me that band is Brand New.
Originally published in New Roots issue #14