Review Summary: An interesting change up from their debut album; this album displays a deeper and more intellectual side of Brand New.
One thing that everyone seems to look for in music is the ability to relate. All genres aside, people like to know that their favourite musicians have encountered struggles in their lives similar to his/her own. We see that no matter how badly our problems have us feeling they can be surpassed and even used to create something of beauty. From this, I believe we gain a sense of unification; a sense of hope.
Released in 2003, Brand New’s second studio album, Deja Entendu, posed some serious changes compared to their debut album. The album contains deeper, slower songs than that of its predecessor and a more refined sound. Some fans of the band were put off by these changes, but generally the album was well received.
The two factors that make this album great are lyricism and passion. It has more emotional range than a drunk chick at a high school party. Sic Transit Gloria… Glory Fades deals with the psychological results of sex, I Will Play My Game Beneath The Spin Light delves into the frustrations of endless touring and Jesse Lacey’s desire to return home, and Guernica deals with Jesse’s struggle to accept his grandfather’s bout with lung cancer. Throughout all of these different topics, Lacey’s extraordinarily expressive vocals help you to feel as if his problems are your own. From the start of Tatou you are whisked away into Jesse Lacey’s own world and you’re with him through every step of the album.
Wonderful use of metaphor and other literary terms give this album a sort intellectual feel. For instance, the song Me vs. Maradona vs. Elvis seems silly on the surface, but has a deeper hidden meaning. Diego Maradona and Elvis Presley were both highly respected and popular individuals and both succumbed to the pressure of stardom and wound up addicted to drugs. Lacey voices his fears of this happening to himself through the metaphor of taking advantage of a drunk girl.
In terms of musical aspects, this album doesn’t offer nearly as much as its lyrical side. Song structure is typically kept simple, comprised of simple chords. Occasionally tasteful leads are thrown into the mix, but not often. Notable instrumental moments are the bass line in Sic Transit Gloria… Glory Fades and the lead guitar riff The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows. Aside from that the instrumentals are usually acoustic chord progressions in the verse followed by distorted power chords in the chorus. Some songs are all acoustic, but usually it’s a split between the two. However, I think the instrumental aspects of this album were done right. The main focus of this album is meant to be the vocals and lyricism and the simple (yet catchy) instrumentals allow the focus to remain on just that.
Another factor that I feel helps people relate to the lyrical messages in this album is the use of group vocals. In many songs it is only Jesse Lacey singing during the verse and then in the chorus the whole band chimes in forming one cohesive voice. To me it represents a solitary man voicing his struggles in life and then a group of people showing him he’s not alone.
The only real flaw this album suffers from is lack of diversity. Most songs are similarly structured. Some are acoustic electric and some purely acoustic, but it doesn’t really help. It would have been nice to see the band maybe through in a couple songs that sounded more like their debut album just to give the album a bit of a change up.
Overall, this is a terribly intellectual and infectious piece of art. More so than any other album I’ve ever heard, this album has formed a special bond with me. If you’ve yet to hear it, I would recommend experiencing it for yourself as soon as possible.
I’m sinking like a stone in the sea,
I’m burning like a bridge for your body