Hey, you guys wanna hear a secret? Too bad, I’m gonna tell you anyway.
On the whole, I don’t like pop punk. I only ever bought one pop punk CD (Blink-182’s Dude Ranch from the same program as my Ben Folds Five CD). I stopped listening to it after a while because even then I grew tired of three chords.
Sorry to disappoint. You can tune out now.
I mention that because I do not own a copy of Your Favorite Weapon. I do not acknowledge it as a release because I don’t care for pop punk. There are certain sects of Brand New’s fanbase that consider YFW to be their best work, but I think those people are foolish. Similarly, there are people who rag hard on Daisy. This outpouring of vehement negativity toward that album is totally unfounded. Daisy rules. Anybody who doesn’t like it needs to look at the discography from Deja Entendu on and see the logical progression.
Deja is good. Very good. Once again, thanks to this project, I was able to rekindle my appreciation for it. I even managed to overlook the melodramatic song titles this time! Looking at you, “Good To Know That If I Ever Need Attention All I Have To Do Is Die” and “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot.”
And while the album does have definite pop punk influences (most notable on a track like “I Will Play My Game Beneath The Spin Light”), I’m thankful the band stepped away from their previous sound. I attribute the band’s success to the musical direction Jesse Lacey and co. took, combined with what was popular in “the scene” during the releases of Deja and The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me.
Any band could have been the right one at the right time – but it took a group like Brand New to create such a rabid fanbase. That said, I’m not of the persuasion that this record is their best release, like so many are. I would put TDAG – and yes, even Daisy – ahead of their sophomore release.
Deja is stocked with jams. At the risk of angering the BN community, I will keep my comments about the lyrical content to this: ya know, we all grow up sometime. It has been fun, however, to watch the lyrical progression from the immature, high school poetry from “Jude Law” and “Seventy Times 7” on YFW to the ‘getting there’ approach on “Guernica” and the ‘finally made it’ ecstasy of a deep, moving track like “Limousine” from TDAG. For the sake of this argument, I’ll ignore Daisy because I’m still confused as to its thematic content.
Brand New’s transforming musicality is evident on Deja only once a listener has also experienced TDAG. It’s characterized by angular guitars and heavy reliance on vocals as the focal point. I don’t mind that so much because I’m the worst at listening to lyrics. I don’t mean to harp, but while I do love Lacey’s voice, some of the stuff he writes about isn’t exactly prose. But who am I to judge, considering the embarrassing words I’ve put together. We all grow old together.
From the album that paved the way to indie superstardom, this is Brand New’s “Jaws Theme Swimming” –
Standout tracks: Well, the obvious choice is “Sic Transit Gloria” and “Quiet Things” – but I can never get enough of “Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t” and “Guernica”
Weakest track: I didn’t initially like “I Will Play My Game Beneath The Spin Light” for whatever reason, but it’s grown on me. If I’m in a good mood and don’t want to be brought down, I’ll skip “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot” but there isn’t really a weak track on here, per se.
RIYL: Former pop-punk bands who have seen the light and decided to make better music.