Wednesday, September 09, 2009

First Listen: Brand New - "Daisy"

Track One: Vices
This album did not get off to a good start for me. Any time the album opener makes you go "what the fuck?" and say something along the lines of "this band has never made me want to kill myself before but I think I'll make an exception today" is not a good sign. In fact, I kind of feel like it set the tone for how I felt about most of the rest of the album. This song went from the terrible choir solo to unrepentant screaming, and the guitar riff sounded like he lifted it straight from Taking Back Sunday's "Bike Scene," which he very well may have done, because that's how we roll in the Long Island scene. I'm not digging the full-on hardcore feel of this song. Too much screaming, can't understand the lyrics. - Julieann

I want to ditto the above. I'm not sure how you review what you completely don't understand. I don't think this would get better with time. - Lanie

Track Two: Bed
I spent most of this track actually watching my cat be very confused by the steam coming from a pot on the stove. Like, seriously. But at least this was the Brand New we all know and love. Except for they're apparently taking their lyrical cues from The Spill Canvas, because these lyrics are some weird shit. This song sounds pretty much like the latter half of The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, which is where the stuff I skip lives. - Julieann

This track is vastly better than the one before it, not that it would take much. - Lanie

lanie: I don't hate this. I mean, as far as repetition goes, this is how you do it. We've listened to a lot of bands do it worse lately, I feel like.
julieann: brand new are really good at the repetition thing. see example: limousine
lanie: mmm yes
lanie: I wish the drums were a little heavier
lanie: It's the kind of thing I could lose my shit to, live.
julieann: i feel like they're putting enough words into it to make the repetition worthwhile. it's not like at the end of the young veins' "change" where they're just yelling a word over and over.
julieann: yeah, i could dig this live. in fact, that track that's more hardcore would probably be good live, but only by virtue of getting to watch jesse lacey be crazy

Track Three: At The Bottom
This is the lead single for this album, so I've already heard it a couple of times and it's had a little bit of time to grow on me. And admittedly, it has done so, but it wasn't an off-the-bat "holy shit I love this song," like I felt about (still feel about!) "Sowing Season (Yeah)" from The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me. Alternative Press's review of Daisy mentions that this song is like "Jesus Christ"'s (from TDAG) evil twin. They're not wrong. - Julieann

There is something about Jesse Lacey's voice or tone in this song that's vaguely reminiscent of Michael Stipe. It was seriously weird but that didn't make for a bad song, altogether. Other than that, it's typical Brand New. - Lanie

Track Four: Gasoline
I hated everything about this track right from the start. Like, seriously, there was nothing good about the strangely off-beat percussion, because the bass was not landing at the same time as the kick, and so it was just murdering my soul. Once there was some guitar to cover that up, it got a little better. Then there were 45 seconds of what kind of sounded like EVP. It sucked. - Julieann

There is so much religious imagery in all of these lyrics, I don't even know what to do with it. - Lanie

Track Five: You Stole
I kind of like this song in the way where I appreciate Brand New for being as boring as they are sometimes. But I listened to this song on my headphones after the initial listen for this review, and I actually like it less now. This was actually my favorite part of doing the review, because at some point it devolved into Lanie serenading me with Glassjaw, and then the both of us making crass jokes about Brand New and Taking Back Sunday. Whatever, we make our own fun, because clearly Brand New are not going to make it for us. - Julieann

The title is kind of apropos, considering that the chord progression was really close to that of Ape Dos Mil by Glassjaw. I would rather be listening to that than Brand New but I'll come back to that later. - Lanie

Track Six: Be Gone

The first thing I said about this track was literally "OH MY GOD THEY'RE BON JOVI." Lawlz. I think that's all I really have to say about that. This track was absolute shit. I honestly reached a point where I probably would bottle Jesse Lacey if I was ever subjected to this bullshit in person. Sing or get out of the studio, asshole, this shit isn't cute. - Julieann

You know how when you're little and you realize that speaking into a fan will produce a mechanical wah-wah sound to everything that you say? Would you like to hear this sound musically rendered by Brand New? Well do I have the track for you! - Lanie

Track Seven: Sink
This track starts out with screaming! YAY! Except not, and the startle I received from this nearly made me wet myself. I hate you right now, Jesse Lacey. I can't understand a single lyric in this song, and that is the reason I do not like hardcore. I also realized at this point that I'd unchecked (in iTunes) all but two songs on this album so far. Not a good sign. - Julieann

This is honestly where I gave up on my First Listen experience for this album. It was so chaotic, I wondered if I was going deaf or had suddenly turned 90 years old or something. It was all just a bunch of noise, children. I am over here, still shaking my cane, just in case you were curious. - Lanie

Track Eight: Bought A Bride
Before we even started reviewing this song, we had to take a moment to make some jokes at the Dupree sisters' expense. That usually happens anytime women are mentioned in conjunction with Brand New/Taking Back Sunday/Say Anything/New Found Glory. You see where this is going, I'm sure. Crass jokes aside, I could actually see rocking out to this song in a live way. I actualfax like this track. Genuinely! (Shocking, I know, considering my feelings toward the rest of the album.) However, I won't be rocking out to it live, at least on this next tour, because they're playing Sonar, AKA the Worst Venue In Baltimore*. - Julieann
* I don't know that it's actually the worst venue in Baltimore. It is, however, the worst venue I've been to anywhere ever, and that encompasses a lot of venues and some pretty bad experiences.

lanie: I can see enjoying several of these songs later, probably more live than any other way but on first listen, it's so...cacophonous.
julieann: i feel like brand new has always been a little cacophonous, but this is just... taking it to a level where it becomes less enjoyable.
julieann: but i definitely like this track best of what we've heard so far.
julieann: and i will admit that at the bottom did grow on me, so maybe i do just need to give the rest of this time. but i don't want to, is the problem
lanie: which makes me feel really old to say but at first, it's all just noise until you work for the melody. why should I have to work for it? why's there so much craziness, guys? we've heard feedback before, we've heard loud guitars before. it's not new and it's not exciting.
julieann: it's like going to a show at sonar, and we all know that's no fun.
julieann: i'm pretty seriously into pop punk, man. i'm not working to make your music good. you're supposed to do that for me.

Track Nine: Daisy
Woo, hymnal references! I know I needed to be taken back to my childhood days in the country Baptist church in which I was raised/most of my dead family has had their funerals. Awesomesauce. I am unimpressed, Jesse Lacey. I got really into this, and all of a sudden there were bird noises. I hate bird noises. And then there were little kids singing! It was like a sudden mashup of HORRIBLE THINGS. They do, however, do the one thing that I really enjoy from Brand New: plopping the melody over some really killer percussion. I like this song. Well, most of it. But I feel like I like it in the way where I like 3OH!3's "Don't Trust Me," where it'd be a great song if only it didn't have that stupid Hellen Keller part. - Julieann

Track Ten: In A Jar
I hate it. I hate the lyrics. Lanie mentions she feels like we're in the 90s, and I realize that listening to this song is a little bit like listening to Live's "Lightning Crashes," where it'd be a good song if only it made sense. Only less pleasant and with more screaming - Julieann

Track Eleven: Noro
The beginning of this track reminds me of Final Fantasy. Which is cool, I guess, because I really dig Final Fantasy. One thing I hate about Jesse Lacey is that sometimes he does this thing where he sounds like he's about to burst into tears. And man, I'm pretty emo, but you need to find your balls, Mr. Lacey. I enjoyed the percussion in this track, though. But just when I thought it was over and there'd just be an outro of static... the woman from the first track started to sing again. I howled with pain as she went sharp. - Julieann

Four keepers out of 11 (and only 3 after I gave "You Stole" another listen). Poor showing, Brand New. Considering how much I loved The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, this is disappointing indeed. - Julieann

Brand New is not an easy band to love, but they grow on you, not unlike mildew in your shower. And you hate cleaning. You want to keep them in your arsenal, you know? Bands you loved that refuse to pump out pop-punk song one after another. You admire them for that. What you have to grapple with is that evolution. Just like Lacey ENDLESSLY grapples with the concepts of marriage and religion, maybe you're dealing with different things. Maybe you don't want to hear children mid-song (Daisy) or endless distortion (see...most of the above). The thing is, they've been growing all along, and you were stuck with whatever they put out last. Live, it's so much less disturbing. I'd even venture to say that they're a great live band. Something gets lost under so many musical layers and the production. Lyrically, I'm not sure. It was hard to make out a lot of the lyrics because there was so much else going on. This album might be a grower but on first listen, it's just overwhelming...and not in a good way. - Lanie

julieann: and now we listen to sic transit gloria because it's the next song in the listing and... have a moment of silence for how great brand new used to be?

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