I sometimes lie and pretend that I was always on top of my shit when it comes to pop punk. But the fact of the matter is between the years of 1997-2003 I was basically a jesus freak who listened to almost exclusively christian punk (with a few exceptions). This meant that I missed out on a lot of the cool stuff all my friends had gotten into. So the first time I ever heard of Brand New was in 2003 when the song Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows came out. I dug the song but never bothered to pick up the album it appeared on.
The following year a girl in my film class who was listening to Brand New: Your Favorite Weapon while editing a video. This girl was always sort of a hippie so I was shocked that she was listening to something so completely punkish. I dug what I heard but still didn’t purchase the album until a year later when I found it on sale at a local record shop. What I discovered was an album that may arguably the best debut in pop punk.
The songs are all about heartbreak with a strong vindictive sound. Fall Out Boy’s Take This To Your Grave had a very similar lyrical approach. The poison filled hate in both albums lyrics sting and while Pete Weintz was a little more poetic in his hate, Jesse Lacey’s intense hate pours out of every angrily line.
The album starts off with it’s heaviest song The Shower Scene’, which is in reference to the infamous murder in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. The song begins our terrible tale of a friendship lost in the middle of a love triangle starting with a line like ‘It’s funny how your worst enemies always seem to turn out to be all of your best friends’ best friends’. And that’s one of the cheerier lyrics.
The following track Jude Law and A Semester Abroad dives into even darker territory with lines like ‘Even if her plane crashes tonight she’ll find some way to disappoint me by not burning in the wreckage or drowning at the bottom of the sea’. The lyrics just go darker and darker from there.
The most infamous lyrics come from the albums most popular song Seventy times Seven. The story behind the song (and possibly most of the album) is around an argument between Jesse Lacey and Taking Back Sunday’s John Nolan. In this song Lacey basically tells Nolan that he hopes he dies in a car crash. Nolan then tells his side of the story in Taking Back Sunday’s There’s No I In Team. Throughout that particular song he uses phrases and references to multiple songs on Your Favorite Weapon further leading to the speculation that most of the album is about their falling out.
The album ends on a slightly hopeful and nostalgic note with it’s closing track Soco Amaretto Lime. With the repetitive line ‘I’m going to stay 18 forever’, it’s hard not to have nostalgia for your high school days even if they were far from great. Brand New has become a band who has receive plenty of praise for a band that never experience massive and long-lasting mainstream success. Despite this they’ve built themselves an extremely dedicated fanbase. Punk site absolutepunk.net frequently ranks their sophmore album Deja Entendu as one of the greatest albums in pop punk history. While Deja Entendu is a great album with incredible instrumentation and melodies, Your Favorite Weapon will always be my favorite of Brand New’s albums.
I tweet. I Write for Geekscape (Guilty Pleasures: Piranha 2 the Spawning). I podcast... two times The Saint Mort Show (episode 30 with Robert Angelo Masciantonio & Roots in Stereo) as well as a horror movie review podcast (Episode 1: The Fog)