Brand New albums ranked
By James Wetmore, Contributor
Most of us have gone through some form of an emo period in our lives, getting rid of any brightly coloured clothes and healthy outlook on life and replacing them with all black clothes and a nihilistic attitude. The early 2000s were a prime time for this, as the absolute nuclear explosion of emo and pop punk bands pretty much forced you into being one anyway. Brand New was formed in 2000, and it wouldn’t be long until they planted their boots deep into the emo scene—releasing four well-received albums before the decade’s end and an additional record in 2017 before the band’s break up in 2018. But how do their albums stack up ten years later, and which is the best of the bunch?
The first album on the list is the band’s debut record Your Favorite Weapon, released October 9, 2001. There’s nothing bad about this record, but it’s hard to find anything that wasn’t already being done by the plethora of other bands releasing albums at this time. The primary lyrical influences are high school breakups—not offering much brain food besides the occasional wittiness of frontman Jesse Lacey. The redeeming quality of the album is the clear floorplan of the Brand New sound that would be further developed on later records, which brings me to…
Their fourth album Daisy is the next on the list. When this album dropped September 22, 2009, it was almost immediately divisive among the band’s fans. It was a big departure from the sound the band had been refining for nine years, preferring to try and recreate how they performed live. It’s a lot more experimental and containing the most screaming in any of their albums; it’s not hard to see why it was either a love or hate album. The band hasn’t released any bad albums, but this is—for sure—their most hit or miss effort.
Third on the list is the band’s sophomore record Deja Entendu, released June 17, 2003. This is where the band really began to shine and show off their talent for storytelling. The lyricism became much more mature—no longer focused on high school romance and breakups—and the song writing expanded outwards from the simple pop punk formula the band had following their debut. This album further continued to develop their sound that they had set the foundation for on Your Favorite Weapon.
The second and first positions, in my mind, are easily interchangeable—mostly because of the long gap between their releases and the evolution the sound had gone through in that time. If I had to pick one, it would most likely be the band’s third release: The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, released November 21, 2006. This is where the band really exploded sonically and lyrically, light years from where they were only two albums ago. The variety in the songs keeps the album refreshing, and the wittiness and introspection provided by the lyrics make it an easy album to come back to years later.
Even then, the band’s latest, and maybe final album, Science Fiction, released August 17, 2017. An amazing record, it offers the same twists and turns the band had become well known for, additionally offering the experimental edge that was the focus of the group’s previous album. The eight year gap since their last release clearly hadn’t gone to waste, as the band matures further than they ever had in respect to lyricism and composition, emotionally draining the listener as on The Devil and God but also offering the heaviness employed on Daisy. This album has every right to be a strong contender for the first position, and I don’t think any diehard fan would argue with the decision.
Brand New was a band that tried hard in the beginning to be unique, but eventually found their footing in their emotional capabilities and in being musically interesting instead of commercially viable. A genre-defining band in every sense of the word, Brand New continued to experiment and evolve throughout it’s 18 years, with an emphasis on storytelling and artistic statements rather than trying to sell millions of records. Every album listed here can be an easy 9 / 10 (except for their debut… but shhh).