An estimated 92% of us experience earworms. Despite the annoying times we can’t get a chorus or a hook of an overplayed pop song out of our heads, getting a really good earworm stuck can be one of the best things, ever. We here at Nerdist are dead set on bringing you those types of songs—even if only for the weekend. So shove this into your grey matter!
I was a bit wary when it was announced that Brand New would be putting out a new album and participating in another tour after so many years. When our music editor Matt Grosinger published their tour dates and new song “I Am a Nightmare,” I have to admit that I was a bit apprehensive to press the play button, worried that the song’s title very well could have been a description of the song itself as I’d not heard much from the band in years. It’s a shaky thing when a band you loved in a formative time of your life releases new stuff. Not necessarily that the music could be bad, just for the expectations that unintentionally come along with it. Will it make me feel young again? Will it make me feel old? Does the band still have “it” in the way I remember? Was my music taste even all that good back then?
Thankfully this column has proven time and time again that I have absolutely no taste in music and simply luck out from time to time with some good stuff, so I needn’t worry about that. And hearing the new stuff makes me feel nebulously old and young at the same time, which I suppose is a good thing. The only question that has a definitive answer, in my opinion, is that Brand New is still making awesome music akin to what they did over 10 years ago. And while I anxiously await their new album, “I Am a Nightmare” forced me to brush off whatever the digital equivalent of dust is from their old albums.
“The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows”
As always, I realize some die-hard fans will likely disagree with my choices this week because the internet. However, the songs in today’s article serve as part of, let’s call it, a musical fingerprint of a younger me. Out of high school in 2001, I never fully bought into the emo scene, but Brand New helped to bridge that gap for me with friends who had. At the time, their pop punk (slightly emo) music seemed to be the perfectly shaped puzzle piece to fit in with any young person’s ill-defined frustration about hardships you face at that point in your life (read: dating, growing up, love) without having to shop exclusively at Hot Topic. Listening to them now, they still hold their place as anthems to melancholy relationships of the past and are laden with ambiguously (lets say) dark lyrics that seem to fit in with the more anxious sides of the late teens/early 20s malaise.
“Seventy Times 7”
Now, I don’t mean to disparage their music by any means as I truly do love this band. It’s just that I feel they can serve a very specific purpose in one’s life and growth as a person. In my experience, Brand New’s music acted as an emotional divining rod to identify the feelings that every teenager or 20-something feels and helped to see those same things in others. When the ability to express your thoughts or feelings about relationships just isn’t there yet, songs like “Seventy Times 7” spell out everything you’re feeling all wrapped up in a catchy pop tune. The song is a harsh and angst-ridden anti-love song to a heart-breaker and their new love interest with severely jarring lyrics that we, if we think back to some of our first break-ups, can all probably sympathize with to some degree. At the very least, I doubt there’s a person out there who wouldn’t agree with the song’s first line “Back in school they never taught us what we needed to know/ like how to deal with despair, or someone breaking your heart.”
If I’m way off base, I’m sure the internet will tell me, but Brand New can be a musical touchstone of growing up and becoming an adult. Dealing with some of the harder things in life we experience for the first time, their music helped to shepherd young minds into facing adult things in a time where the world expects them to be adults but rarely treats them as such. I’m extremely interested to see what sort outlook and stories their new album brings. Perhaps they’ve got some insight on dealing with your 30s that isn’t expressly about the end of relationships. I mean, it’s not like all their songs were about bad break-ups and the ill-will wished upon the ex.
“Jude Law and a Semester Abroad”
Oh boy… forget what I just said.
What are your favorite Brand New tracks? Are you excited about the brand new Brand New or will you always love the not so brand new Brand New more? Let’s discuss in the comments below.
Image: Brand New
Blake Rodgers writes for Nerdist from Chicago, IL where he lives happily with his Guinness World Record for High Fives. Be his pal by following him on Twitter (@TheBlakeRodgers)