Review Summary: I can never lose it.
October 6, 2003.
The single "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows" is released. It was pretty much an instant smash hit, receiving massive air time. My first exposure to BN was seeing the music video for the song on FUSE (a station that actually played music videos, unlike MTV, although it's since become another incarnation of MTV). I remember liking the song, but not really being all that impressed (although I did grow to really like the song later on)
February 2, 2004.
Brand New releases the video for "Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades". It was only a few months prior to this that I had just started learning the Bass Guitar. For those of you that know the song, it has an insanely groovy, simple, catchy bassline. I first heard the song and was utterly floored. I learned the bassline and spent countless hours in my room playing along to this song. I eventually went out and picked up the album (I'm on my second or third copy of Deja at this point) and I became slightly more than casual, but not crazy Brand New fan.
November 20, 2006.
The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me is released in the United States. At this point, I was not an avid music collecter yet, and I wasn't really staying on top of things, so the album released under my radar. A few weeks into release, my best friend from high school's girlfriend at the time is sitting with us at lunch and is absolutely raving about Devil and God (henceforth shortened to DaG). Completely remembering songs like Sic Transit and TBWBHOS, I am immediately intrigued and I went home and pirated DaG. I listened to it, probably not even all the way through, and probably not even paying close attention. I remember liking it, but not really thinking anything of it.
April 30, 2007.
"Jesus Christ" is released as a single onto the airwaves. I heard the song, and was completely shocked to realize that it was Brand New, and that it was off the album that I had so callously forgotten about. This inspired me to listen to DaG a few more times, appreciating it a little more each time. At this point in time, I like the album enough to go out and buy it, but I still do not really "get it" like I will as few years down the road.
September 30, 2007.
I start dating my girlfriend at the time. She is my first "real" girlfriend, my first true kiss, and my first (and only) true love. We met at the library that we both worked at, and we had a lot in common. Perhaps the most noticeable thing is our similar interests in music, and while she is not really a Brand New fan, its definitely important to note her in this timeline. Her birthday is April 18. One of her favorite bands is Yellowcard. I am moderately interested in them. As fate would have it, Brand New is playing a headlining show at a college about 40 minutes away. Who is opening? Yellowcard? What day is this show?
April 18, 2008.
I buy tickets for us to see the Brand New / Yellowcard show on her birthday. A few of her friends come with us. We arrive at the venue, and I am excited because I have found out that Yellowcard will be playing an all acoustic set, and that Brand New will get a little extra time during their set. I am a sucker for anything acoustic, so I thoroughly enjoy the show that Yellowcard puts on, and the excitement builds as BN is about to hit the stage. The lights go out, it gets quiet. The curtains open to reveal two drum sets, each kit has a person at it. They begin to play "Welcome to Bangkok" while the tape loops play over and over, "Space cadet, pull out. Space cadet, pull out. Space cadet.. pull out." The rest of the band walks on the stage and one of the best concert experience of my life begins.
Welcome to Bangkok
Sic Transit Gloria... Glory Fades
Jaws Theme Swimming
The Archers Bows Have Broken
Soco Amaretto Lime (Jesse solo)
Moshi Moshi (Jesse solo)
Play Crack the Sky
Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't
The Shower Scene
The No Seatbelt Song
You Won't Know
Out of my entire group of friends that were present, I am the only one still standing in the crowd by the time Handcuffs is on. They were all too tired to stand there and everyone left the auditorium and were waiting in the lobby for the show to end. In short, it was the best show I had seen since my very first concert ever (Peter Gabriel in 2006) and the best show I was at until seeing Porcupine Tree in 2010 at Radio City. I leave the venue with a new appreciation for Brand New, live shows, and music in general.
By this time I am getting more and more into DaG, but its still not anything mindblowingly spectacular to me. However, it does not last.
As with everything in my life, nothing is 100% consistant, and as I grow older, I get into bands like Dream Theater and by extention, older prog. Yes. Genesis. etc. Before long, Brand New, and DaG is a distant memory for me.
March 17, 2010.
Probably one of the worst days of my life. Me and Her break up as result of a lot of different issues that had been building up and it all comes to a head on this day. She leaves my room after we split up and I am left completely unable to do anything with myself. In the aftermath of this event (whether it was days or weeks after our breakup I can't recall, but it was soon after) I happen upon my DaG CD. I don't know what compells me to, but I put it on. I listen to it all the way through, and in that moment I feel like I am aware of everything that has happened in my life until that moment. Every emotion I have ever felt suddenly makes sense. The lyrics feel like they are being written to me, with all my twisted, pent up feelings inside. I cry probably more than I ever have in my life as Handcuffs ends and the last lines of the album repeat a few times.
"It’s hard to be the better man when you forget you’re trying. It’s hard to be the better man when you’re still lying."
If there was ever a time I knew that an album had truly "clicked", it was right here in this moment.
I still can't really pinpoint exactly why The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me connects with me the most. It could be the overwhelming emotional lyrics that are present in every single song. Being from the same area as the band, I can relate to a lot of the things that Jesse writes about (be it the high drunk driving accident rates we have, the typical Long Island "scene" of people that just make his music seem so familiar to me, or what have you). Perhaps its the musicality of this album that is so subtle, but so blatantly apparant throughout. Whether it be the soft, entrancing feel of Jesus, or the brooding and angry feeling of "You Won't Know", or the more upbeat, angsty feel of Archers, there is not a single moment on this album that feels at all foreign to me. The body, mind and soul of this record is something that has become a permanent part of my own essence, and for all I know, I wouldn't even be alive today if it weren't for this record.
Like all music with me, I go through phases. There are times, spans of months even, where I might not listen to this album. There are memories that I have that are so ingrained into my psyche, however, and failure to revist them and confront them results in a darkness that eats away at me like nothing else. This melancholia, sadness, despair that lives deep within me is typically only satisfied by this album.
I have no idea how I am going to come to and end with this review. I guess the only thing I can say is that, deep down, I know that this album will always be with me. All other bands can come and go, and in ten years, I might be into a completely different genre of music and not even care about rock music. But DaG will always be there. It will always be that 50 minutes of brutal honesty that allows me to see clearly through all the other bull *** in life. It will always be there.
I can never lose it.