Brand New
The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me


3.0
good

Review

by KTLL USER (1 Reviews)
April 15th, 2010 | 89 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With the exception of a few songs, you will know a track's progression by its opening chords. The lyrics impress, but don't supplement.

*Note that this review is written in retrospect, and is intended for those who are familiar with the album, and not as a buying guide.*

When DGARIM dropped in 2006, I was astounded by the lyrical depth and punching power of the album. However, I now find myself only listening to certain tracks, and skipping the majority of the album. I pondered why this was, and summed up my thoughts in two points:

1. It lacks a “full band” sound:

Similar to a band drawn around one extremely talented guitarist, Brand New never really displays that anyone is in the band besides Jesse Lacey. His lyrics take the forefront, and his voice garners the rest of your attention. After his contributions, "Brand New" becomes transparent.

The guitarist, drummer, and bassist display a basic level of skill. Unfortunately, basic skill belongs to Youtube cover-kids and the bands that back pop acts. I comprehend that Brand New’s sound isn’t meant to establish a blazing pace. However, the song structure never changes!

1. Sowing Season: Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus
2. Millstone: Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus
8. Not the Sun: Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus
11. Archers: Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus

I guarantee you that the tracks I did not list share a familiar progression.

I am always discouraged when instrumentalism is supplemented by vocal or lyrical work. Ask yourself this: Are the opening notes to Sowing Season good enough to merit their inclusion through the entire song (verse and chorus)? Did the embarrassingly simple drum beat in Deguasser really grab your attention? Can you recall any mindblowing instrumental moment on this album? I'm not asking for exemplary technique or speed...but something that grabs you and shakes you with the ferocity that Lacey's lyrics provide.

I should elaborate that I couldn’t imagine Jesus being structured in any manner different than it exists. For displaying only two chords, and an isolated melody, it is shockingly on target. But come on guys, SOMEWHERE in the album you have to break out of the pop-rock monotony! I find myself listening to this album strictly to hear Jesse Lacey, and as the other members of Brand New, I would be embarrassed of my self-marginalization. The guitarist briefly sticks his head out in the climax of “Limousine”…but, surely enough, that only fills fifteen seconds in a seven-minute song. The musicians hit the mark on certain poignant moments (the opening of Limousine, Jesus Christ, Sowing Season)...and then say "good enough" and write little else.

In summation, the members of this band besides Lacey could be any other person, and it wouldn't matter.

2. They blew "Limousine"

Oh yes, Brand New’s pride and glory. If I were to poll Brand New fans, I feel they would elect Limousine as this album’s lyrical masterpiece, since it is based off the emotionally wrenching tale of a young girl's tragic death in an accident. At the albums release, I was floored by the song. However, after several listens and critical analysis, I came to a startling revelation: the song doesn’t make sense.

The song is literally packed full of quotable lines, but they aren’t completely useful in context. I liked its background story so much that I WANTED it to work…but tragically, I am left reaching for explanation and meaning in a topic that should be easily relatable. If you are objecting to this point, I inquire: What perspective is the song written in? The mother’s? Definitely in the beginning, and I suppose you can substantiate some of the metaphors. But what about the middle of the song? The driver? Who is stating the most famous line in this song?

“One’ll love you so much, but do me a favor, baby, don’t reply…cause I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.”

How anticlimatic. What should be the most emotion-ridden segment of the song is weighed down with vagueness. Who is speaking and what can they dish out? Every Brand New fan spouts their response, but in actuality, there is no good answer. This isn’t a “analyzed by critical discussion” lyric…it is a lyric that leaves you reaching for explanation. Some may find this vagueness enlightening, but when the song is grounded is tragic fact, I would prefer prose that is logical, articulate, profound, and expresses the pain of loss and the idiocy of drunk driving.

This line IS the climax of the song. This is where they can develop an emotional outburst that is a kick to the stomach of anyone who can feel. Instead, they write a line that requires REACHING (while the strongest segment "I'll never know..." goes on nearly silent in the background).

This section is normally explained by fans through numerology (he counts to seven because that was the girl's age, etc.) Obviously, I have a huge problem with this approach because its a damn cop-out. I could make any Taylor Swift song deep if I searched for ridiculous explanations and used numerology. In this instance, I could suppose that they repeated the chant twelve times because that's the number of letters in "manslaughter". Maybe they count to the number seven because that's the amount of letters in "alcohol". The lyric plays out like a cheap "love is woe" line, and then has to be explained by fans of the band. I'm not illiterate and I'm not missing the point. They could have capitalized, and they didn't.

This song could have been something more, something that was emotionally destructive and musically invigorating. It could have been an example of a perfect piece of music. Instead, it rides its assumed success, and we pay the price for it.

Most of the songs do lyrically succeed though. If I were analyzing poetry, this album would receive an a definite 4. Unfortunately, this is a music review, and most of Brand New's music leaves me flat.


user ratings (4475)
Chart.
4.5
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
HighandDriving
April 15th 2010


3288 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Neg

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2010


28645 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

NEG

GROW UP UR SO NOT METAL

I skip many of the songs on this album, mostly because I become bored with the repetition that
is presented in my first point. I didn’t spin this album


i didnt spin this review.

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

Brylawski
April 15th 2010


709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The rating is correct. Review is pretty lacking, to say the least. The site is full of Brand New
fanboys so you're just going to get insulted by 15 year olds who worship Jesse Lacey for the next
couple of hours

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2010


28645 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

go suck a fuck brand new sucks

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2010


28645 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

YOU NEW USERS ARE TOTALLY NOT METAL GTFO

TheSpirit
April 15th 2010


17930 Comments


This should be interesting

ninjuice
April 15th 2010


6760 Comments


After several listens and critical analysis though, I came to a startling revelation: the song doesn’t make sense.

Since when does that really mean the lyrics aren't good?

KTLL
April 15th 2010


87 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Something is "good" to me when it is articulate, profound, and logical. I can fill a song with a thousand insightful sayings, but when I'm trying to relay the pain of the loss of a child and the idiocy of drunk driving as related to an actual case, I would like you to line up your metaphors and really make a point.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2010


16429 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

There's nothing wrong with having an opinion that is different from everyone else, but you need to argue it to a fuller extent. The fact that you give up on half your arguments before they develop doesn't help your cause:

"I comprehend that Brand New’s sound isn’t meant to establish a blazing pace. However, the song structure never changes!

1. Sowing Season: Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus
2. Millstone: Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus
3. Jesus: Verse, Verse B (the end)

I could continue this list, but it would be redundant."

You only listed 3 of the songs. At the very least, pick songs from various points in the album, not the first 3 (whose similarity creates a good flow, btw)

You also can't really use parts of limousine as an example of unrelatable lyrics. Of course they will be unrelatable unless you understand what he is singing about, which in this case is the death of 7 year old Katie Flynn, who died due to a drunk driver. Even if you didn't understand the history behind the lyrics, they are still good enough to be considered abstract or at the very least interesting.

I'm not going to neg because it is structurally and gramatically fine, but the reasons behind your rating are only half-developed, if not completely ill-concieved.

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

KTLL
April 15th 2010


87 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@ Sowing: Note taken, on illustrating further. I should have used different examples.

However, I disagree with your comment on Limousine. I know the source material. In fact, I'm more angry because I went into the song knowing the source material, and came out thinking that they blew a chance at what could have been an all time classic.

PuddlesPuddles
April 15th 2010


4784 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pos'd

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2010


16429 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

@ KTLL: you could have a point there, but if you are going to go against a huge sputnik album like this or jane doe or something, you pretty much need to make your arguments flawless. even then people will still neg you, but the majority will respect your well-developed ideas. you have good ideas at times here, but they usually end with a statement about how "you" didn't like it or "you" didn't get it, which when going against the grain doesn't fly with most people.

like i said though, review isn't poorly written. it could be the negative review this album needs if you expanded, elaborated, and dropped some of the references to how you liked or didnt like it.

Romulus
April 15th 2010


8441 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pos'd. For a first review this is fine. Really though, there's a lot of room for further improvement. Basically listen to the angry people yelling at you and you should be fine.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2010


16429 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

i didn't even notice that this was your first review...i kind of feel like a dick now.

actually quite good for a first, just work on it a bit

Zizzer
April 15th 2010


915 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm not going to neg, but I'm not a fan of the introduction. There's not really a need to mention that you expect to get neg'd and it's better not to reference other reviews in yours.

KTLL
April 15th 2010


87 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Zizzer: Note taken.

@Sowing and Romulus: Haha, thanks. Hopefully I get negged with feedback and not just by trolls like theacademy.

Jips
April 15th 2010


1131 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

GTFO...review is lame... if your gona write an iconoclastic review... make damn sure it works well... critiquing the songs structure on this album is totally missing the point...

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2010


28645 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i dont care about any of that. you can't possibly have a well-written review of an album you didn't listen to in its entirety. review is a neg.

KTLL
April 15th 2010


87 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@ academy: When did I imply that I didn't listen to the whole album? I've owned for over a year...

@Jips: Then tell me the point. I find that the structures lead to monotony. I don't think some grandiose theme eluded me.

Kubrick
April 15th 2010


749 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I got this CD a few weeks ago because of all the praise it gets here and I've listened to it a good deal of times now and I have to say that I kind of agree with elements in this review. Not so much the lyrical criticisms, but the fact that you can tell where the song is going to go from the opening 15 seconds. Don't get me wrong, this is quite an enjoyable CD and there are a ton of memorable melodies and lyrical moments. That said, it still gets a bit tiring as it progresses because nearly every song uses the same dynamic shifts between soft verses and loud choruses. It's a bit monotonous to listen to at times because I always know what to expect on every song and that never really changes for the most part. It's a good CD... hell it's even a great CD due to some really good melodies and lyrics. I honestly don't think its worth all of the praise it gets here though.



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