Brand New – Daisy
September 22, 2009 —> September 22, 2019
Out of Brand New’s lauded canon, it’s easy to forget about the red-headed stepson that is Daisy. Everything about the album is just a tad off. It begins and ends with a very out-of-place hymn; the album cover features a demonic looking fox in the middle of a beautiful forest; the band shifts rather abruptly from the broodingly existential emo-rock of The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me to frantically screamed mantras that clash against fiery, grunge-inspired guitars like dueling swords. Even for a band that developed a penchant for reinventing itself with each release, Daisy was…out there. At the time, fans who were spoiled by greatness hailed the album as disappointingly good; a take that has not necessarily aged well. Over the next decade, Daisy‘s legacy would grow considerably as fans began to recognize its unique atmosphere and appreciate the fact that it was going to be – until the unexpected release of Science Fiction in 2017 – Brand New’s final recording.
Ten years later, the whole album still feels crucial. “Vices” is the ideal opener, with the opera-like curve ball of an opening verse serving as a perfect snapshot of Daisy‘s wiry unpredictability, while “Sink” and “Gasoline” prove how grainy and visceral Lacey’s shouts/screams could become in a hopeless emotional vacuum. “You Stole” and “Noro” are still spine-tingling creepers, painting illusions of deception, mystical forests, and hellfire. The whole thing is rife with paranoia, which culminates in the end-times harbinger of the title track. Daisy is the only kind of emotional burnout that makes sense after a magnum opus like The Devil and God – where the band went from caring way too much about everything to no longer caring at all. It’s a complete abandonment of virtues, opting instead to look evil in the face and roar back, knowing full well that damnation is, for all of us, inevitable.
What’s amazing about Daisy – and not necessarily true of the band’s other efforts – is that gold nuggets continue to turn up year after year. It took me at least one year to know for sure that Lacey was screaming I’m on my way to hell at the end of “Noro”, and not “I’m on my way out.” It wasn’t until a couple years later that I realized “In a Jar” actually contains a backwards verse about the end of the world, taken – almost verbatim – from one of the final chapters of the Bible. It was probably around the same time that I discerned the cryptic lyrics of “Be Gone”, a brief track initially discarded by many as hands-down “the worst song the band ever made” – a notion I wholeheartedly disagree with. There’s an awful lot of seemingly random allusions to beds, trees, and flames – and it wasn’t until around 2015-2016 – when I’d finally given up hope of there ever being a Daisy follow-up – that I finally sat down to dissect the lyrics on a deeper level, connecting the thematic dots only to realize that Daisy just might go even deeper than TDAG. As time wore on, Daisy went from being the weird step down from Brand New’s masterpiece to rivaling said masterpiece. For as good as Deja Entendu was, or Science Fiction still is, neither of those albums made me work so hard to learn them, nor did they unfurl as many musical and lyrical layers. For those reasons, it’s pretty clear that Daisy at least resides upon the #2 perch within the group’s discography, which is something many of us might have deemed impossible when it first hit shelves in the Fall of 2009.
A decade now stands between the college senior who drove to four different record stores in one day just to purchase Daisy on its release date, and the thirty-two year old who now needs to make up an excuse in between his newborn’s screams and bowel movements just to write about an important anniversary for one of his all-time favorite records. Time changes everything, from you and I to how we perceive music. I can’t really think of a better example – a bigger grower – than Daisy. When I think of Brand New the band – not just their songs, but their overall image and how we perceive them – I think that it was shaped by Daisy more than any other record. It’s the album that took them from “alt/indie-rockers” (whatever that means) to true experimentalists who were unafraid of burning their brand to the ground in order to grow a new image out of its ashes. There’s no other album out there quite like Daisy. And that’s something worth celebrating a decade later.
We need ten years on rewind so we can return.
She said goodbye to the ground
She said goodbye to the ground