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Music / Brand New

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L to R: Vincent Accardi, Garrett Tierney, Jesse Lacey and Brian Lane

Do I divide and fall apart?
'Cause my bright is too slight to hold back all my dark
And the ship went down in sight of land
And at the gates, does Thomas ask to see my hands?

Brand New was a rock band from Long Island, New York formed in 2000. The band is recognized as one of the most popular and influential acts to emerge from the emo scene of the 2000s, distinguished for having a fanbase and legacy that have long outlasted other similar bands. Their sound has also been categorized under genres including alternative/indie rock and post-hardcore, and is often associated with their melancholic, sincere lyrics and vocalist Jesse Lacey's passionate delivery.

Following the pop punk foray of their debut Your Favorite Weapon, the band's next album Deja Entendu marked a distinct stylistic change for the band towards alternative/emo styles of rock; both this album and their next album, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me (released after the band moved labels from Triple Crown Records to Interscope Records), are considered the most popular and acclaimed of Brand New's discography.

The band started their own label in 2008, titled Procrastinate! Music Traitors, and released their fourth album Daisy the following year. Eight years of uncertainty about the band's future, staved by single releases or album re-releases, would follow, culminating in the surprise release of their fifth album Science Fiction, which would become the band's first #1-debuting album on the Billboard 200.

Lacey was accused in late 2017 of instances of sexual misconduct occurring during the band's early days. Immediate ramifications included their touring guitarist and the supporting act of a then-upcoming European tour pulling out of the show dates, and the cancellation of all upcoming dates. Lacey previously stated that the band would split up in 2018, and the band has not been publicly active since the allegations broke. While this neither confirms nor denies their disbandment, the band reportedly turned down an opportunity in 2021 to reunite for a 2023 music festival.

Principal members:

  • Jesse Lacey - vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Vincent Accardi - lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Brian Lane - drums
  • Garrett Tierney - bass
  • Derrick Sherman - keyboards (2005-2013)
  • Kevin Devine - guitar, backing vocals (touring member)
  • Benjamin Homola - drums (touring member)

Selected discography:

  • Your Favorite Weapon (2001)
  • Deja Entendu (2003)
  • The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me (2006)
  • Daisy (2009)
  • Leaked Demos 2006 (leaked in 2006, officially released in 2015)
  • Science Fiction (2017)

The Devil and God are troping inside me:

  • A Man Is Always Eager: Ruthlessly deconstructed on "Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades". See Deconstruction and Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male below for more information.
  • Author Appeal: Jesse really really likes to write about bodies of water, shorelines, drowning, or nautical disaster (usually metaphorically), to the extent that there isn't a single album by the band where these themes don't pop up multiple times in some capacity.
  • Biblical Motifs: Unsurprisingly, they are practically omnipresent on The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me.
  • Book Ends: Daisy opens and ends with the gospel hymn "On Life's Highway" by writer Bertrand Brown.
  • Boléro Effect: "Limousine" in the second half of the song. It starts quiet before it keeps layering sounds, vocals and instruments until it climaxes with a solo.
  • Break Up Song: Most of Your Favorite Weapon.
    • And the entirety of "The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot."
    • Both "Degausser" and "Not The Sun".
    • "Seventy Times 7" is a particularly spiteful "between friends" version.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Deja Entendu is French for 'already heard'. A joke about how they said they don't want to make the most original music, just good music. It's also called this because the entire album is a biting, critical Deconstruction of rock cliches both past and present.
  • BSoD Song: The brief instrumental interlude off The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me qualifies, as evidenced by the way that vocal manipulation is used to distort the singer's voice into a sound of sheer despondency.
  • Call-Back: The ending of "In the Water" off of 2017's Science Fiction uses the same sample of a pastor introducing a hymn that was used in "Daisy" from 2009's Daisy. In addition, the sample is cut off with the words "seven years", repeated seven times - the number seven being an Arc Number from "Limousine", off of Devil & God.
  • Careful with That Axe: "Luca" is a particularly alarming instance.
    • Used a little more widely through Daisy, but mostly in backing vocals, with the exception of "Vices".
    • "Nobody Moves" and "Sowing Season" also count.
    • ...and then turned up a notch on Science Fiction, most strikingly in the chorus to "Same Logic/Teeth".
    • Live performances of "Degausser", "You Won't Know", and "Jaws Theme Swimming" are particularly rife with this trope.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: "The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot" is often extended by a verse from Coldplay's "Yellow", turning the latter from an otherwise lighthearted love ballad into something a little more bittersweet.
  • Creepy Children Singing: "Degausser".
  • Darker and Edgier: A career-long shift, from the relatively upbeat-sounding relationship songs of Your Favorite Weapon to the emo-tinged Deja Entendu to The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me which was their darkest yet. Then, Daisy was released and it took this even further, albeit in a different way (The Devil and God was raw, heavy, and angry, while Daisy is lighter, but even creepier).
    • Averted with Science Fiction which, although not without it's share of really heavy tracks, has a considerably more introspective and less tortured tone to it than the two albums that preceded it.
  • Dark Reprise: Recent live performances of "You Won't Know" regularly conclude with aggressive sonic breakdowns that are preceded by Lacey singing the refrain to "Tautou" ("I'm sinking like a stone in the sea, I'm burning like a bridge for your body") overtop the instrumentation. The effect of this is that the lyrics take on a distinctly more obsessive, despairing bent.
  • Deconstruction: On almost all of its tracks, Deja Entendu deconstructs several different rock music cliches by taking all of the glamour out of them and exposing them for what they really are. This theme of applying real world logic to these age-old cliches permeates the album. A few of the biggest examples are as follows:
    • "Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades": A Sex as Rite-of-Passage song that portrays the much-heralded loss of virginity as anything but glamorous, featuring a male victim being taken advantage of by an older female.
    • "I Will Play My Game Beneath the Spin Light": A look at the less exciting parts of the life of being a rock musician and how it can take its toll on a person.
    • "Okay I Believe You, but My Tommy Gun Don't": A song in which Jesse Lacey basically outlines every single message that rock musicians sing about while both subtly tearing them down and acknowledging that he plays a part in these messages.
    • "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows": An Anti-Love Song about how storybook romances don't exist and that romances that seem like storybook romances can end in boredom and sadness.
    • "The Boy Who Blocks His Own Shot": A track that depicts the sort of self-loathing, lachrymose male narrator that stars in many breakup songs as a passive-aggressive and manipulative figure that resigns himself to harming the object of his feelings.
    • "Me vs. Maradona vs. Elvis": a skin-crawling Intercourse with You that portrays the act of picking up women that rock music so often glamorizes as empty, creepy and manipulative.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Frequent in the band's catalog, though "Noro" is probably the most notable instance.
    • "137" from Science Fiction takes it to disturbing new heights.
      Let's all go play Nagasaki
      We can all get vaporized
      Hold my hand, let's turn to ash
      I'll see you on the other side
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Deconstructed and defied on "Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades", which depicts a situation of a teenage boy being sexually assaulted by an older woman, with it played as the horrific act that it is instead of a salicious sexual escapade.
  • Double Entendre: Each verse of "Jesus" starts with "Jesus Christ," making it sound either like the singer is addressing the actual Jesus Christ or it's an exclamation.
  • Epic Rocking: Each of their albums, with the exception of Your Favorite Weapon, contains at least one track that passes the 6 minute mark.
    • Deja Entendu has "Good to Know That If I Ever Need Attention All I Have to Do Is Die" clocking in at 7 minutes.
    • The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me: "Limousine", 6:58 seconds.
    • The closing track on Daisy is "Noro", which has a duration of 6:27. "You Stole" clocks at exactly six minutes.
    • Leaked Demos 2006 has "Nobody Moves", lasting 6:59.
    • Live performances of the untitled track off The Devil And God, as well as most recent performances of "You Won't Know" regularly exceed the 10 minute mark.
    • Science Fiction goes big on the epic rockers, with THREE songs passing the 6:00 mark - opener "Lit Me Up" at 6:16, "In the Water" at 6:52 and closing track "Batter Up" clocking in as the band's longest studio recording at a whopping 8:27.
  • Fading into the Next Song: "Sowing Season" into "Millstone" on The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Applies to certain lines rather than to the band's discography as a whole, but frequent disputes among the band's fanbase have emerged concerning the exact words being sung on certain songs (the chorus of "Degausser" or even the entirety of the "Untitled" track are particular instances of this). Not helping matters is the fact that Jesse Lacey seems to arbitrarily substitute and alter these sorts of lines during performances.
  • Last Note Nightmare: Employed at several different points on The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me.
  • Murder Ballad: "Luca", which describes a mafia execution and is a Shout-Out to The Godfather.
  • Mood Whiplash: Jesus Christ, Luca.
    YouTube commenter: "this song put me to sleep - then it woke me up."
  • New Sound Album: The band's sound tends to shift from album to album. To recap.
    • Your Favorite Weapon is a pretty straightforward pop-punk album, dominated by power chords.
    • Their follow up Deja Entendu was much closer to post-hardcore emo, and the lyrics are more derivative of bands like The Smiths. Additionally, acoustic guitars are much more prominent.
    • The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me went a much harsher and angrier route sonically, featuring an abrasive mix of emo, post-hardcore, screamo, indie folk, and art rock.
    • Daisy distills its predecessor's screamo and art rock aspects, and its songs feature a lot of abrupt dynamic shifts.
    • Science Fiction is mostly a mix of Devil & God... and Daisy, but still manages to carve out its own sound to stand out from its predecessors, interweaving harsh and heavy distortion and noise with calm, bluesy, Nick Drake-esque acoustic guitars.
  • Ode to Youth: "Soco Amaretto Lime".
  • One-Woman Song: "Tautou".
  • Purple Prose: Jesse's preferred lyrical style.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The refrain of "Limousine" is sung several times, with each successive instance featuring a count upward until it reaches the number 7, representing both the age at which the song's subject died at, as well as the seven deadly sins.
    • The seven symbolism returns at the end of "In the Water", with the words "seven years" repeated seven times.
  • Sex as Rite-of-Passage: "Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades" is a darker take on this.
  • Singer Namedrop: Twice with their band name:
    • In "Mixtape"...
      And I'm sick of your tattoos, and the way you don't appreciate Brand New or me
    • ...and in "Same Logic/Teeth".
      And you’ve got your kind of Brand New face on
  • Studio Chatter:
    • "Soco Amaretto Lime" and "Handcuffs" have a count of "one, two, three, four," in the beginning, albeit very, very faintly.
    • Jesse can be heard saying "yeah, that's right" and starting the countdown at the beginning of "Play Crack the Sky". You can also clearly hear him put down his guitar and walk away hummming at the end of the song.
  • Take That!: Your Favorite Weapon is full of shots against John Nolan of Taking Back Sunday, Jesse's former band. The most notable instances of this trope come from "Seventy Times 7" and "Mixtape".
    • "Okay I Believe You, but My Tommy Gun Don't" is also one against said band's frontman Adam Lazzara.
  • Vocal Evolution: The vocal style that Jesse has employed has evolved pretty noticeably over the years. First he sung in a higher-pitched shout (Your Favorite Weapon), then adopted a delivery clearly inspired by Morrissey (Deja Entendu), and from The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me onward, he begun singing in a much harsher, more strained manner not all that dissimilar to Issac Brock.