Sunday, November 13, 2011

School of Rock: Brand New

Any self respecting emo kid such as myself would list Brand New high on their list of Top 5 favorite bands. The band is the epitome of 2000s pop punk/emo music, and have been a staple in my music favorites for years. They're my go-to angry music, to take me back to a time when my biggest problem in life was that some dude didn't ask me to Homecoming when I was 16-years-old. Simpler times. It's not that listening to Brand New takes all of my problems away or anything. It's more like they give me perspective and make me feel like someone else has felt exactly how I'm feeling at some point in time. Illogical as it may be, it makes sense to any true emo kid. Explaining my connection to Brand New to anyone who doesn't listen to them would be tantamount to explaining astrophysics to Courtney Stodden. But I'm just stupid enough to try... (not the Courtney Stodden thing. I think that's a lost cause.)

Brand New formed on Long Island in 2000 with singer/guitarist Jesse Lacey (emo God), bassist Garrett Tierney, drummer Brian Lane, and guitarist Vincent and released Your Favorite Weapon just a year later. That debut record is pretty much my gold standard for pop punk music. It might be one of my 5 CDs I would take on a desert island in that hypothetical situation, if it weren't for Deja Entendu, released in 2003. I don't want to over hype it and say it's a perfect record, but I could listen to it on repeat for years and never get tired of it. Oh wait, I've already done that. It just never gets old. It isn't nearly as straight up pop punk as YFW is- it's much more emo based, but really defies genres. (In case you're wondering, the album title is french for "already heard." Get it? It's impossible to be 100% original and totally underivative of anything. It preemptively acknowledges that. Smart kid points!) Three years later, in 2006, Brand New released The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me aka the album title that describes every teenagers emotions at any given time. To me, it is a logical progression from Deja, and shows the bands continued growth and maturation. Gorgeous from start to finish. Then... there was Daisy. Released in 2009 (I can't believe it's already been two years. It feels like yesterday.) it is a complete departure form their previous three records. I still absolutely love it, but it's just different. I will probably be singing the words to songs off of The Devil And God on my death bed, but I can't say the same for Daisy. It's a much more musical record. There is way less lyrical emphasis. Some of the instrumentation is just out there. Not in a bad way, more like an unexpected way. I still love the record, but there's just a noticeable shift in the sound. A lot of that is probably due to the fact that Jesse gave up a lot of the songwriting for this record to Vinnie. It's a different sound, for sure. I can't help it, I would probably defend anything the released just because they're Brand New. But honestly, I can say that at this point, Brand New has yet to disappoint me in the slightest. I love every single one of their records so far.

Well, now that we've gone over an exhaustive history of the band- let's get to the fun part. The live show. Each time I've seen them, I leave the show feeling completely inspired, hopeful and passionate about music & life in general. It's certainly not because of anything Jesse says on stage (usually he doesn't have much to say) but more about the connection with the music and the band. I cry at a lot of shows, that's for sure. I've cried at every Brand New show I've ever been to. It's for a lot of reasons. Part of it is how much the music means to me. Part of it is the energy in the room. And part of it is because I know the show will be over eventually and I'll have to go home. Yes, like a 5-year-old who has to leave the playground, I get upset because I don't want it to be over. Maturity isn't my strong-suit. But it truly is a really beautiful experience. Mosh pit and all. Life is complicated and messy. But as long as I can still go to a Brand New show, it sort of feels like it will all be okay.

As I said on Friday night, I'm going to see Brand New on New Years Eve in Jersey City, and I absolutely cannot contain my excitement. I want to fast forward to the show right now. Then rewind for Christmas, obviously. I just feel like it's exactly what I need in my life right now. A little Brand New, a little beer, and a lot of mosh pit action. It's going to be rowdy.

I'm a big, big fan girl for Brand New. I wouldn't dream of recommending them to everyone who reads this blog, mainly because their target demo is a very specific group of people. Most of whom probably have loved them since they (we) were 16-years-old. But I will say that some of their songs make for great workout music. And a lot of them make for really good I'm sad and I want to have a pity party music. See: break-up music. Brand New is essential listening for the Long Island music scene and 2000s pop punk music. Or more precisely, they're essential listening for being friends with me.

Click through if you want to hear some of my all time favorite Brand New songs & watch some of my favorite live videos (those are the ones that kill me.)

Watching these videos is getting me so pumped up for New Years Eve! I don't know if I'm going to make it back alive... I know I'm definitely not making it back with any semblance of a voice. This might be the show I finally crowd surf at- I'm not making any promises though. I'm not getting any younger, though...

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