Growing up with Brand New has truly been an incredible experience, from their angsty teenage years recording songs about bad friends and ex-girlfriends, to their later, more mature years singing about personal issues and things that are much deeper. Each album the band has put out has its own feel and is vastly different from the last, which is something you don’t see very often.
Brand New’s debut album, Your Favorite Weapon, was released in 2001. The album has a very pop-punk-esque sound, and you can practically feel the pent-up teenage angst coming out of Jesse Lacey’s mouth. This album is the anthem of any high schooler’s life, with songs about love, break-ups, and hating your friends. It perfectly reflects what was going on in the band’s lives at the time. One song that sums up Your Favorite Weapon is “Seventy Times 7.”
Brand New’s second album is about more than just relationships and other teenage problems, and is definitely a lot less whiny. The band really matured in the two years before the release of Deja. This album is a lot less pop-punk and more alternative rock/punk. In my opinion (and many other people’s opinions), the band’s most popular songs come from this album, and a lot of people claim that it’s their favorite album that Brand New has released. For me, “Guernica” is definitely a defining song of this album.
Before playing “Guernica” at a concert in 2013, Brand New’s frontman Jesse Lacey admitted that the song was about his grandfather dying of cancer. When you first hear the song, it’s not necessarily what you would think of. After hearing him say that, however, it all makes sense. You can hear the pain and anger in his voice, which makes “Guernica” such a hard-hitting song.
The band’s third album, released in 2006, is even more mature and hard-hitting than Deja. It’s definitely less mainstream, due to the heavier sound and deeper lyrics. It’s clear throughout the album that Jesse Lacey was extremely depressed while writing these songs. They are less about love, and more about hatred and self-loathing. This whole album evokes very strong emotions and gives me goose bumps every single time. One of the songs that shows what this album is really about is “Jesus/Jesus Christ.”
This song is one of the slower ones on the album, but it is jam packed with such strong emotions. The whole song is about what happens when you die. He repeatedly talks about how he’s alone, and how he’s going to die alone. He feels as if the world is going on and everyone is happy without him, and that he’s missing out because he doesn’t fit in. “Jesus/Jesus Christ” is so beautiful, yet so incredibly saddening.
Daisy is Brand New’s latest (and currently last) album. This album is a lot different than the ones that preceded it—Daisy is a lot heavier, and has different sounds and pieces incorporated into the songs. The most notable part of this album is that it begins and ends with a gospel hymn called “On Life’s Highway.” It plays in the beginning of the first song, “Vices,” and then on the end of the last song, “Noro.” Many Brand New fans (including myself) were frustrated with the release of this album because it was so much heavier and so different than their previous releases, but now I absolutely love it. It’s the first time we hear Jesse Lacey “scream” the vocals on a song (“Vices”), and the dark feel of the album is ultimately appealing. “At the Bottom” is a song off of Daisy that shows how dark the album truly is.
Although this album came out three years after TDAGARIM, it’s clear through this song that there is still depression influencing the songs. “At the Bottom” is very dark and solemn, and can come as a shock to some people when they first hear it. Throughout the song, he talks about how he has made his life bad for himself, and now he has to deal with the consequences, whatever they may be.
Since the release of Daisy in 2009, the band has only officially released one new song, called “Mene.” Other than that, the band is extremely secretive, so it’s impossible to know what’s going on behind the scenes, if anything even is going on. The evolution of Brand New’s music is an amazing thing to hear, because they go from a bunch of teenage punks to putting actual feeling into the songs, and conveying it in a mature way. Jesse Lacey is now married and has a child on the way, and last time I saw them live, he seemed as happy as ever. Whatever Brand New decides to do next in their career, I hope it makes them just as happy as their music has made us.