Review Summary: A group of young, immature musicians begin to ascend musically and personally.
Not very many people talk about Your Favorite Weapon
anymore. Brand New’s career has launched them into bigger and better things as all of their follow-ups have caught the eye of critics over the past decade. Deja Entendu
was a huge leap in progression concerning the band’s sound, The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me
saw them reach new artistic heights, and Daisy
was full of rage, as it combined elements of grunge with dark alt-rock and furious punk. It is little wonder, then, that this album has become a relative afterthought. The heavily pop-punk influenced Your Favorite Weapon
is the least innovative and least mature of Brand New’s four releases but, just like with their later works, it is also a master of its craft.
Brand New doesn’t redefine
pop-punk, but they certainly give listeners the best it has to offer. Further helping the cause is that inherent sense of anger that seems to exist in all of the band’s efforts, whether it is suppressed or at the forefront. “Seventy Times 7” is a bitter verbal assault on ex-band mate John Nolan, who allegedly stole Jesse Lacey’s girlfriend and subsequently ruined their friendship. Lacey’s bone chilling death wish of “Have another drink and drive yourself home / I hope there’s ice on all the roads / And you can think of me when you forget your seatbelt / And again when your head goes through the windshield
", combined with a simple but fast bass line, adds a sense of unsuppressed fury to Your Favorite Weapon
. The similar “Mix Tape” is also a biting indictment, but it accomplishes its goal via contrary methods. The song starts slow (like a ballad) and works its way into a sarcastic frenzy of static-heavy electric guitars and screams of “I know that you’re a sucker for anything acoustic / When I say let’s keep in touch, I hope you know I mean I wish that you’d grow up
.” Obviously, the anger that Jesse Lacey let out in little bursts on Deja Entendu
is still present in Brand New’s debut LP, and in certain songs (such as the aforementioned), he really allows his emotions to run rampant.
Another reason that Your Favorite Weapon
is so enjoyable is because amidst all of its teen-like angst and immaturity, it still manages to sound very intelligent. “The No Seatbelt Song” is easily the best illustration of Brand New's maturity within a comparatively immature album. The song begins with low-pitched feedback and gentle acoustic guitar picking. Here, Lacey sounds as sober and resolute as ever, providing foresight into some of his later masterpieces like “Play Crack the Sky” and “Jesus.” This is another thoughtful crooner, featuring heartbreakingly vulnerable lyrics and proverbial lines like, “Even new wine served in old skins cheapens the taste
” and “I shot the pilot, I’m begging you to fly this for me / I’m here for you to use, broken and bruised…do you understand?
” “Soco Amaretto Lime”, on the other hand, is a moving tribute to young adulthood. The careful, deliberate strums of Lacey’s acoustic guitar and the carefree attitude expressed in the lines, “I’m gonna stay eighteen forever
” and “You’re just jealous cause we’re young and in love
” serve as an anthem to youth everywhere or to those of us who are feeling a little reminiscent of the “good old days.” The depth expressed in these types of songs show us a glimpse of the magic to come throughout Brand New’s long and successful career. In essence, this raises the question of who the real
Brand New is…are they the reckless, angry pop-punkers who played and screamed their hearts out on “Seventy Times 7?” Or are they the disturbed, emotional thinkers who crafted the song’s calmer but equally tumultuous ballads? The band’s sophomore album Deja Entendu
seems to point in the latter direction, while their other efforts allude to the prior. If one to were to approximate however, he or she might suggest that there is a little of both raging inside them
As a whole, Your Favorite Weapon
is the perfect companion to accompany anyone who is entering adulthood, or for anyone who wants to get lost in all the memories, love, and drama that made being eighteen such a wondrous experience. The album has its share of clichés, and the topics do dwell on the typical classics (friendships, girls, getting drunk), but it also brings an unprecedented level of maturity at times. Just like anyone who is emerging into adulthood, they had their share of both angst and personal growth. Your Favorite Weapon
may not be much of a progression in music, but it captures the band members’ development as they take a step into their own futures and show us that it is okay to bring our immaturities and imperfections with us. Your Favorite Weapon
is a flawed but honest work, and Brand New wouldn’t have it any other way.