Review Summary: There is only ever so much a guitar solo can achieve. Only ever so much a drum beat can make you feel. The true power in music is and will always be the words. The lyrics. This album is a perfect example of this.
Deja Entendu is an album no one expected. A curve ball. Streaming from the minor succes of their first album, "Your Favourite Weapon" , Brand New could of gone many ways. They could of simply polished off a more mature version of their first effort. They could of continued along the pop-punky guitar lines, they could of even focused on becoming a made for radio band. Instead they did this.
They not only matured, as most bands do on the second outing, they completely evolved. The album title says it best... "Deja Entendu" French for...Already Heard. A Rub on the music industry and a backlash to the cricts that had complaints that their first album was too similar to the scene around them. Think of the first album as a simple caterpillar, a animal finding its feat in the world. Well this album would have to be the Butterfly. Graceful and aware of its self. Brand New knew what they were doing, and by god they did it well.
Track By Track -
Track 1) Tautou - Without wishing to continue to compare this to the first album, you have to look at the two openers. 'The Shower Scene' Opened "Your Favorite Weapon". It was a typical fast, punk-pop teenagers with guitars outing. So the what did fans get when they turned on the second album:
Tautou. A slow building song with lyrics repeating, slowly getting louder and more distant. Its obvious this song is meant to set the tone: experimental,deep and strong lyrics. Putting a fast song as a opeaner would totaly ruin the feeling of the album so as a song its placed well and does what it needs to do. 6 / 10
Track 2) Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades. Basically a song about a young couple having sex and the boy making it into a big deal and the girl not particualry caring. You'd be right to skip the track on this short sum up, it doesn't sound that good. But you'd be wrong. This song takes the topic and makes a great little 3 minute song out of it. Complete with a break-down sing-a-long. This song again shows the growth in the lyrics, but fails to show off much improvement in music quality. 9 / 10
Track 3) I Will Play My Game Beneath the Spin Light. Now a note about the song titles, lead singer Jesse Lacey stated that he didn't want to simplify his song titles just so a DJ could say it quicker. He claims most of the song names comes from there favourite movies. Even so, this song name is strange.
As for the song itself...if you were ever going to accuse Brand New of filler, perhaps this would be your best example. Its not that its a bad song, taken out of the album and played on its on it can sound great. But listening to this album as a whole your most probably come off Sic Transit Gloria and quickly forget this song. It just isn't very strong. Listeing to the song more i think its probaly about missing home and that preformer is starting to grow on him:
Watch me as I cut myself wide open
on this stage. Yes, I am paid to spill my guts
I won't see home till spring
Oh, I would kill for the Atlantic,
but I am paid to make girls panic while I sing
Its put nicely but this song may just be the weakest on the album. Not that means its terribly bad. 6 / 10
Track 4) Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't. My friend went to a Brand New concert about 1 year ago (When i hadn't discovered them). I asked him what song went down the best, he told me this one. And its not hard to see why. This song screams sing-a-long. Its screaming out to be sung along to. The song itself is 'apparently' (and i use that loosely as there is no official meaning) a chapter in the 'feud' between Taking Back Sunday and Brand New. As far as lyrical attacks go, this one as some balls. Some very clever hooks and rhymes, and for one once the music comes shinning through. With a nice guitar going at it in the background keeping up with the singing. Mixing together nicely for the first time on the album. The song is a monster and probaly the one that you should use to convince others to get into Brand New. 9 / 10
Track 5) The Quiet Things that No One Ever Knows . The short guitar intro is very nice and again for a album first, the drums come into effect. Now drums were never going to be the shinning point for the Brand New. But for a short time they come into effect at the start of the song and its sounds nice. The song is a good one. The lyrics deal with a bigger issue then many pop-punk bands care to pick up on - divorce. At least thats my impression. Very cool bass-line at the opening of this song as well. One of the few times the bass is put at the front of things, its a strong display as well. The bridge of the song supplies the line "I lie for only you" and lines such as "Your veil is ruined in the rain " and " We paint a lover's tryst " All seem to me its pointing to the hiding of a secret and the ruin of a marriage.
Maybe its personal, maybe Jesse's parents did get divorced, i simply don't know. I dont care to look into singers life's, it doesn't make a song any better. If you can relate to it then good for you, its all about what you get from the music. The song is placed well on album, filling a gap between 2 darker songs ( Okay I Believe You.., and the next song "The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot" ). Its strange beacuse the lyrics to this are darker then Okay I Believe You..But this song is easily played in a more up-beat style. Something Brand New understand very well. 8.5 / 10
Track 6) The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot The ending to The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows is quite fast tempo, and as soon as the acoustic comes in at the start of this song you can tell how the mood is about to change. This song is truely the over-looked jem of the album. The one you know that many others over-look. The main reason is that the opening can be skip-able if your not in the mood to really pay attention to a song, but if you pay attention it should hook you in and have you singing a-long every time. The emotion coming out of the lyrics in this song is un-real. To keep the lyrics strong over 6 tracks without having to snoop to clichés or pointless teenage topics, is quite impressive and something that shouldn't be overlooked for a Punk-Pop Band.
"You are calm and reposed
Let your beauty unfold
How I like the skin stretched over your bones
Spring keeps you ever close
You are second hand smoke
You are so fragile and thin
Standing trial for your sins
Holding on to yourself the best you can
You are the smell before rain
You are the blood in my veins"
Now That Is Good Lyric Writing. And the way the song is put together just makes the lyrics stand out even more, which is perfect for this song. The strummin along on this song is perfect for what it does. Carrying along with the words, never trying to over-take and show off, its not about that. Its about listening toe words. This song may be as close to perfect Brand New, will ever come. 9.5 / 10
Track 7) Jaws Theme Swimming. Pretty cool instrumental introduction. Nice way to start off this slightly ...different...song. Its a nice break from the heavy emotional songs before it. I don't think this song holds a lot of importance on this album. It aint filler, it fits in very nicely with the feel of the album, it just doesn't stand out. Which sometimes, like this time, is a good thing. Its nice to have a song like this on a album that has a lot of 'big' songs. There is a great line in this song :
And I've seen what happens to the wicked and proud when they
decide to try to take on the throne for the crown . That maybe they could of made stand out more, but its a great little line. Anyway the song gets a 7 / 10 Its still good though.
Track 8) Me Vs. Maradona Vs. Elvis Getting a girl drunk and taking advanatge of her. Has all the makings of a comedy bloodhound gang song. But the way Brand New take this subject, some-how, you can almost feel sorry for the boy. Which is an amazing thing to do. With the line
You can sin or spend the night all alone Is perfect in that it shows that although the character feels bad about it, he decides anything is better then being alone, which as we know isnt always true. I also like how this song progresses into quite a rocking feel towards the end from a song you think will be acoustic through-out its a nice switch. Track 8 into the album and the ideas and lyrics are still fresh and brilliantly put together. The emotion in this song is as strong as any, perhaps the strongest, thats up to you though. 9 / 10
Track 9) Guernica . This song takes the best bits from the first album, some good bits from this album and makes a pretty awesome song. Its a refreshing upbeat change. A song about cancer done in this way makes almost no sense. But they did it. They did it well. Its done well musicaly and lyrical yet again. Its a solid solid song. 8 / 10
Track 10) Good to know if i ever need attention all i have to do is die Smart song. Well written, musically well played, well placed on the album. All points i have made for the other songs but it really shines through on every song. Its a great song, but it feels ... like it could easily be taken out. It doesnt hold the album together and play crack the sky could of easily be broughten up one track to end the album and it wouldn't have matterd. But out of the album context its a fine Brand New song 7 / 10
Track 11) Play Crack The Sky . An amazing song. Really well sung, and thats the first time i have touched on his voice. I thought i would save it for this song because it shows so well. It really is sung in perfect note form and it servers the song so well. Fanastic writing. And this is what a album ender should be. Calm, collected, slow, steady ending everything off in a great way. Great end to a great album. 9.5 / 10 .