By Callum Thornhill (@cal_thornhill )
Brand New have been one of the most driving forces of alternative rock for the past twenty years. Constantly changing the face of the emo scene with every album the New York band release; their latest, Science Fiction, has already been heaped with well deserved praise from critics and purists alike. With five official full length records and a tour that could be their last ever coming up, we try to collate the ten best Brand New tracks.
10. Missing You
The only non-album track to make the top ten list on this occasion, but without doubt one of the most underrated amongst it. Once again questioning everything that has come before the protagonist in a hindsight approach, the New York rockers work around the chorus of “I’m missing you to death.” Nestled in between Brother’s Song and 1996; this is the best of the Leaked Demo 2016 rework ten years after originally surfacing.
9. Not The Sun
Blistering pace and instantly out the blocks is the best way to describe this The Devil and God are RagingI Inside Me anthem. The protagonist pleads for his desire to actually love him and continues to beg that he isn’t just another friend who will eventually find love in someone other than he. The lyric “and if you breed, just don’t tell me,” sums up the fact that if he can’t have her, he also can’t be happy for her.
A scathing review of an experience where everything that was done in order to try and help was completely pointless or made the situation worse. Using gasoline to try and put the fire out, obviously counter productive; trying to hold smoke is never going to work, and finally jumping into a train can be perceived as trying to slow it down or stop it but actually ending up killing yourself. Metaphorically, the protagonist has effectively killed themselves by trying in vain to help.
7. Seventy Times 7
“Back in school they never taught us what we needed to know, like how to deal with despair or someone breaking your heart” opens the angsty Your Favorite Weapon number and preludes the first half reflection of a failed relationship, or lack of. At the drop of a “I hope you choke and die,” mid-track statement, it becomes a bitter spray of Lacey wanting the worst to happen, for example hoping they forget their seatbelt, ice on all the roads and subsequently flying through the windshield.
6. Okay, I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Don’t
One of a whole bunch of stand outs from Deja Entendu and without a doubt one of the most iconic Brand New tracks to date; featured on the setlist of their run of UK shows with Biffy Clyro last year it has survived the test of time and Lacey’s scream joining “This is the reason you’re alone, this is the rise and the fall,” is, for me, up there with the best rock moments of the millennium.
5. Sowing Season (Yeah)
Kicking off The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, aka the album that changed the ’emo scene’ significantly after its release in 2006 is this ever-progressing story of Lacey seemingly taking a reflective look at how he has developed as a man. Is he talking to himself about the way he has come from losing friends to drink driving to grafting desperately to make amends? Is he talking to a mystery therapist about the way he feels? I don’t know, but I do know that this is one of the most impressive album openers of all time.
If you hadn’t noticed by now, this list is very The Devil and God… heavy and with good reason. Giving emo a rebirth and revitalising Brand New’s sound from angsty to a classy/dark hybrid comes Degausser. An ever-present setlist addition and a track full of everything that makes Brand New the force they are – slick riffs, ghostly vocals, bursting into life around every corner and an overall mysterious atmosphere hanging around for over five minutes.
3. The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot
Possibly the most emotionally charged piece Brand New have ever put out and one that definitely deserves more live airtime than it currently receives. Similar to Gasoline, TBWBHIS looks back at a doomed love and offers everything they possibly can in order to make amends with someone they are infatuated with. Giving up everything that ever connected them in order to move on and help them get on with their lives is the underlying point to this track; for example offering to move out of the state. The most cutting lyric from this, and Deja Entendu as a whole is “You are the smell before rain, you are the blood in my veins,” which is nothing short of beautiful.
2. Jesus Christ
The highlight of The Devil and God goes deservedly to Jesus Christ. Questioning life post-death and reflecting on the life the protagonist has lived. As the track progresses, as does the questions and anxious approach to death – the bridge especially looks into the definite return of Jesus Christ and the way that the protagonist is not sure whether they wil be ready to leave earth. “I know you’re coming for the people like me,” suggests on the surface that a good life has been lived so they are being transported to heaven, but previous lyrics of “Do I get the gold chariot, do I float through the ceiling,” give the impression that he is not sure what kind of life has been carried out.
1. Soco Amaretto Lime
Choosing just one Brand New list is near-impossible, but for me, Soco Amaretto Lime takes all the plaudits. Closing their debut record Your Favorite Weapon and being a relaxed, acoustic ballad reminiscing the good old days drinking with your friends before life got complicated is something we should all do once in a while. “We walk around this town like we own the streets and stay awake through summer like we own the heat,” is one of the most graceful lyrics to ever roll of Lacey’s tongue. The age old story of being too young to care about what anyone thinks, being naive to think it can last forever and just having a great times told in a four-and-a-half-minutes over sixteen years ago is the reason Soco Amaretto Lime tops the list.