I’ve always found you can not only tell much about a person from the music they like, you can probably tell how and when they grew up as well.
My mother and father were children of the ’60s and ’70s, and they will defend the Rolling Stones over the Beatles until they die. And I agree, because that’s the way I was brought up.
But I think one of the most amazing parts of a kid’s life is when they themselves get to explore and decide what their favorite band is. They’re the bands you’ll stand up for when you’re arguing with friends at a bar.
“The Smashing Pumpkins are better than Nirvana in almost every facet.”
“The Smiths could never compare to REM.”
“Kanye West will always be more important to me than Jay-Z or Eminem.”
These are my opinions because these artists were such a crucial part of my adolescence.
Which is why it’s tough to think of the emo-rock band Brand New in the same realm of the bands I just mentioned, but I do.
In fact, I may hold them in a higher regard because I got to grow up with them.
I first learned about their albums “Your Favorite Weapon” and “Deja Entedu” late in elementary school. Their third (and most acclaimed) album, “The Devil and God Are Raging Inside of Me,” came out a month after I started high school. And their fourth record, “Daisy,” came out my senior year before I went to college.
They were a band I listened to and felt like I had hung out with as much as I did my actual friends. They sang about falling in and out of love, about the fear of death and about religion. These guys matured with me. Together, we were one kid growing up.
And then it stopped.
“Daisy,” released in 2009, was their last studio album of original material. That was eight years ago. Think about who you were eight years ago.
I’m not the same guy I was when that album came out, but listening to tracks from all four of those records can still let me pretend.
Sure, there’s a nostalgia factor, but what do you do when the band you grew up with leaves you to grow up on your own?
The band still tours, and I try to make it to any show they play around the area. In 2015, they mailed lyric booklets for “The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me” to fans who paid a dollar for them nine years prior in 2006.
Sometimes it feels like a sick game with these guys.
I check message boards and follow Facebook pages called “A Group For Talking Only in Brand New lyrics,” where fans will post memes, live videos and pictures, followed by a song lyric from the band.
Every once in a while, someone will stir the pot and bring up the “fifth album,” which will usually cause people to joke and, sometimes, get angry at the band all over again.
Since 2009, Brand New has released a couple of singles and remastered tracks, but no one knows if and when a new album will come. But we’ll wait. I’ve never seen a cult following for a band quite like this.
Whenever I wear my “Devil and God” T-shirt to bars or shows, kids will come up and compliment it, and we’ll talk shop.
The fans are out there, and we’re waiting for new material. We’d wait forever, honestly.
It’s tough to think about why the band hasn’t put out a new record. They released a single called “I Am A Nightmare” last May that was supposed to be part of a 2016 record. The record never came.
The band stays clear of social media for the most part, and they almost never do interviews. When I saw them last summer in Philadelphia, a cryptic sign was shown behind them that read “Brand New: 2000-2018.” Once again, it always feels like a game with this band.
But it’s alright. This is the furthest from a breakup (though they were there when those happened.) It’s a love letter. A friendship bracelet.
Driving home from work, I can throw any of their albums on in the car and listen to lead singer Jesse Lacey scream at me.
“And I wish that I could tell you right now (I love you), but it looks like I won’t be around. And you won’t know.”
I’ll scream with him. And in my head I’ll sometimes scream at him. But that’s what friends do, right?