Friday, November 4, 2011

Album Retrospective: Brand New - Deja Entendu

Album Rating: A-
Less of a retrospective on a personal beloved classic, and more of a first time exploration on one of the last decade's most cherished alternative records, I attempt to pen my experience with Brand New's Deja Entendu. Oh yes, I enjoyed my time with their masterpiece, The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me, and even heard a bit of the quite wonderful Daisy, but I had never once feasted my ears on their highly regarded sophomore effort.

Why yes, it occurs to me that this venture should have happened years ago. Maybe I had it built up so high in my head after The Devil and God..., or perhaps just laziness, but regardless, I couldn't pass up this album any longer. It wasn't the hopes of an instant classic that drew me, but rather, how it brought so many people together. With the rise of the internet, blogging, and mass music journalism, the over and under-interpretation has shadowed the actual 'magic' of music. Music has the power to over come barriers and bring people together for a common purpose, but that fact has become lost by our culture of quick downloading and quick juding. In an attmept to curb such nonsense, I got my hands on Deja Entendu.

While the above may seem a bit heavy-handed, it must be said that it's difficult to appreciate the over-produced, un-stimulating packages of music fed to the masses. And although Deja Entendu wasn't quite the game changing release I had anticipated, I can see why it has garnered the love it has. It's a fantastically well put together album, full of heart and passion, anger and beauty. Yes I've enjoyed quite a lot more than this, but it's so rare to come across a work so organic feeling. The emotions are palpable, and the band seems genuine in their execution. It's less a modern alternative rock record, and more of an album with the spirit of music when it was honest.

Deja Entendu is filled with catchy-hooks and gruff, poppy goodness. It truly is a wonderful record overall, despite not having the excellence Brand New would later achieve. Despite this, even after turning it off hours ago, I still have "Guernica," "Sic Transit Gloria...," and hell, even "Tautou" running through my head. It may lack the poise and perfect of many records in its class, but unlike a lot of those, it sticks with you long after it's finished.

Brand New created a classic in 2006, and that is probably how they will be remembered. But Deja Entendu was the first album to achieve a sort of enchantment that most records can't do today. I've been converted. I love Brand New, and once more, I believe in the possibilities of music.


Track List:

1. Tautou
2. Sic Transit Gloria ... Glory Fades
3. I Will Play My Game Beneath the Spin Light
4. Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't
5. The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows
6. The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot
7. Jaws Theme Swimming
8. Me vs. Maradona vs. Elvis
9. Guernica
10. Good to Know That If I Ever Need Attention All I Have to Do Is Die
11. Play Crack the Sky


  1. Seeing them in February, slightly excited.

  2. i got nervous when i saw that you wrote this and had only recently heard the record, but you're not too far off i don't think. this is a pretty solid characterization of deja. it may seem a bit less game changing in 2011, but 8 years ago was a different story. it really stands out compared to its peers.