Sound — 8
Deja Entendu was interesting soundwise. Not much in the way of innovation but still artfully done. There were some quirky riffs such as "Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't" and some beautiful acoustic work on "Play Crack The Sky" and "I Will Play My Game Beneath The Spin Light" but the sound of "Sic Transit Gloria... Glory Fades" was by far the highlight of the album. The chord progressions and anthemic sound made it a great listen. Brand New was not so quick to abandon their pop-punk sound from their debut album, "Your Favorite Weapon", weapon though. Probably most notably seen in "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows" which has been called Deja Entendu's answer to Jude Law and a Semester Abroad. Overall the sound was well done and although there was nothing to innovative, there's nothing wrong with old as long as it's well done, after all, Deja Entendu does mean "already heard".
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics of Jesse Lacey are incredible. The insight he puts into each line is moving at times and he manages the incredible feat of making each line mean something very personal to the band, but at the same time making it incredibly relateable to the listener. For this album I have chosen to do a song by song analysis: 01. Tautou - a short piece but skillfully done and with powerful lyrics such as "I'm sinking like a stone in the sea, I'm burning like a bridge for your body". It's about Jesse's overwhelming desire for a girl. Probably my least favorite song on the album for the lack of lyrical variation and length, but still a good song. 02. Sic Transit Gloria... Glory Fades - one of the top songs on the record. The songs appears to be about an older woman taking advantage of a young man and even though the man doesn't want it he fails to stop it. The instrumental work meshes greatly with the lyrics and the anthemic feel to it is wonderful. The resounding, screamed chorus "Die young and save yourself!" is absolutely ace and possibly my favorite one liner from the whole album. Overall a great song. 03. I Will Play My Game Beneath The Spin Light - an absolute gem lyrically. This may be my favorite song off the album just for it showcasing Jesse's ability to write these downright cool one-liners and mix them all together and even better yet, have them make sense. The song is about the band's touring and homesickness and includes great lyrics such as "I won't see home this spring, Oh, I would kill for the Atlantic, but I am paid to make girls panic while I sing". One of the top 3 songs on the album. 04. Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't - this and "I Will Play My Game Beneath the Spin Light" are the two front runners lyrically in my opinion. It appears to be about Jesse having a falling out with a girl and him tell her what she was missing out on. He at times appears arrogant with well thought out lines such as "I am, all you've ever wanted, what all the other boys all promised" and even comes off as bitter in lines like "Hope you come down with something they can't diagnose, don't have the cure for." Overally an excellent song definitely one of my favorites. 05. The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows - some of the most lacking lyrics on the entire album, and I still love them. This song is about a relationship in which Jesse is trying to take things slow and keep himself calm. The lyrics aren't as good as some of the other songs but definitely would hold their own against most other bands and I love this song if only for it's incredibly catchy chorus. 06. The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot - very pretty acoustic song which goes excellent with the lyrics. The song is about a girl breaking up with Jesse and him still loving her but trying to do his best to ease her pain. The title has drawn comparisons to The Smiths' "The Boy With A Thorn In His Side". The lyrics sound truly heartfelt and Jesse does a wonderful job singing them and "Call me a safe bet, I'm betting I'm not" has become widely known for it's excellence at expressing self-doubt and depression, but the most wonderful lyrics in the whole song and quite possibly the whole album are Jesse saying how much she means to him "You are so fragile and thin, standing trial for your sins, holding onto yourself the best you can, you are the smell before your rain, you are the blood in my veins." Overall a masterpiece as far as breakup songs go. 07. Jaws Theme Swimming - a very oddball song but is very fun to listen to. The lyrics at first appear to be about a private eye type character following a girl but then the character is proclaiming her love for he so it could possibly be a stalker type love in which the character is madly in love with a girl he doesn't know. The lyrics are good and the mesh beautifully with the music and the bassline that plays out the song is amazing. Overall a very quirky song and a definite good listen. 08. Me Vs. Maradona Vs. Elvis - very powerful and eerie song. It's Jesse's persepective on date rape and it's so artfully done and vivid that I could actually see it happening as he sung about it. The lyrics are also well thought out and haunting like "You're using all your looks, that you've thrown from the start, if you let me have my way I swear I'll tear you apart", "Bring you back to the bar, get you out of the cold, a sober, straight face gets you out of your clothes", and, my personal favorite, "And your hair, smells of smoke, who will cast, the first stone, you can sin, or spend the night all alone". Overall an excellent song. 09. Guernica - this song symbolizes everything Brand New is about; it's powerful, heartfelt, and sad. It describes the death of Jesse's grandfather. It describes Jesse's desire to distance himself from the real world and his helplessness in not being able to save his grandfather with lines like "These lungs are fresh and yours to keep, kept clean and they will let you breathe" and "If I could, I would shrink myself, seep through your skin to your blood cells, remove whatever makes you hurt, but I am to weak to be your cure". Overall a work of art worth many listens. 10. Good To Know That If I Ever Need Attention, All I Have To Do Is Die - this song is a good song overall but sub-par for the album which makes it hard to look at it objectively but I'll try my best. It describes the band's frustration with their label and how they try to keep them in line. The song lacks in lyrical variation but the lyrics it has are skillfully written. The song also contains some excellent one-liners such as "I will hold the past over your head, I'll speak my mind whenever I feel slighted, I am hellbent on extracting all of my revenge, Take heart, sweetheart, or I will take it from you" and "We prey as wolves among the sheep and slit the necks of soliders while they sleep". However, the chorus is quite catchy which is good because it is repeated many times. Overall a good song although not quite as good as the other songs on the album. 11. Play Crack The Sky - maybe the most artfully done lyrics on the whole album as Jesse describes his smooth sailing ship that is suddenly overcome by a storm and compares it with a relationship. A good example of this is "They call them rogues, they travel fast and alone, 100 foot faces of God's good ocean gone wrong, and they say love is a risk, to always get hit out of nowhere, by some wave and end up on your own". The song ends with a crash and the deaths of the crew which appears to be a description of the end of Jesse's relationship as shown here "They say that the captain stays fast with the ship, through still and storm, but this ain't the Dakota, the water's cold, we won't have to fight for long" and finally the powerful last lines which fittingly end the album "I know that this is what you want, a funeral keeps both of us apart, you know that you are not alone, I need you like water in my lungs". Overall a great song and a good way to end the album.
Overall Impression — 10
Brand New's powerful lyrics and well done instrumentals make them easily one of the best, if not the best band on the scene today and every song is worth listening to. Their ability to change my mood just by listening to them is incredible and the emotion that emanates in every song makes them unique in every way. There's little to dislike about this CD except that it makes most other CDs just seem mediocre. If this CD were stolen or lost, I would buy 3 more copies just to be safe.