On Daisy, Brand New is still providing soundtrack material for countless unwritten bildungsromans, the kind set in suburban high schools, dorm rooms, and first apartments, and which feature protagonists who didn’t have it rough growing up, and don’t have it all that rough now, but who, deep down, would rather feel pissed off for no reason, than feel, you know, just so so.
Incidentally, Brand New front man Jesse Lacey has implied this might be it. If true, Daisy‘s glumness and cacophony are both a touching coda to the group’s own confused youth (fighting with other bands, bitching about neurotic fans, living on Long Island) and a melancholy disclaimer that adulthood does not guarantee equilibrium. (Lacey still lives on Long Island.)
To that end, Daisy is loud, simple, and—with 11 tracks clocking in at 40 minutes—short. Thematically, it contains the same cathartic accusations and dense but intuitively satisfying metaphors as 2006’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, which I listened to obsessively while recovering from one friend’s suicide and another friend’s attempted suicide, all the while feeling that Lacey’s melodramatic lyrics were about characters whose experiences were somehow worse than my own.
Mega-suffering takes a slightly different form on Daisy. For instance, the line, “I’m a preacher without a pulpit,” from the title track, doesn’t make sense at first. Brand New has the 16-24 demographic pinned down like a bull walrus during mating season, and it’s difficult to imagine why, or in what way, they feel like no one’s listening to them. But plenty of their fans, especially the ones who are maturing into the music (as opposed to growing too old for it) probably feel this way once or twice a day, even though their parents and friends/significant others are likely listening to them more than they realize.
Such melodrama probably gave rise the term “emo” being used as a pejorative, but for my money, blowing psychological speed bumps into trenches beats happy-go-lucky any day of the week.
If you’ve never dug Brand New, or if you’ve never listened to them based solely on their reputation, this album is a great place to start. It’s punkish and sonically mature. Especially good music for night drives, overtime at the office, or whenever something bad has happened to you and you need a little help emoting to your full potential.