Your Favorite Weapon – Brand New

YFW

Teens are a complicated lot. And while 2001’s Your Favorite Weapon was released when Brand New’s songwriter extraordinaire Jesse Lacey was in his early 20s, no album better encapsulates the raging emotions of that youthful time. Lacey’s lyrics read like an elaborately detailed diary (probably because it is) and his intense vocal delivery gets the points home authentically. Some may say Lacey get a bit melodramatic, but isn’t that perfect? Aren’t the teenage year one long melodrama?

Your Favorite Weapon is composed primarily of songs dealing with the anguish of love; mostly of the lost variety. From the shot- out-of-a-cannon burst of a drum roll that begins “The Shower Scene,” Brand New begins riffling through melodies and emotions.

“Jude Law and a Semester Abroad” deals with the fracturing of very long distance relationships with Lacey opining, “I hope the next boy that you kiss has something terribly contagious on his lips…,” and, “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 continued sense of bitterness is evident on “Mix Tape.” With lyrics spearheaded by the line, “I got a twenty-dollar bill that says no one’s ever seen you without makeup. You’re always made up,” the feeling behind the words is direct and impactful. The song builds up from a basic arpeggio to full on distorted and noise by the end.

“Magazines” is probably the most hopeful song of the lot, with lyrics expressing a desperate grasping for the love of a girl named Laetitia. Which stands at contrast to the chorus of “Last Chance to Lose Your Keys” which proclaims

“It’s girls like you that make me think I’m better off…
Home on a Saturday night,
With all my doors locked up tight.
I won’t be thinking about you, baby.

All the lyrical discussion is not to suggest that Your Favorite Weapon only is strong in one area. The musicianship and variety on display are tremendous, and not simply for the genre, especially considering this is a debut album.

Only one song sticks out like a sore thumb on Your Favorite Weapon, that being “The No Seatbelt Song.” The track sounds more like something that belongs on the band’s follow-up Deja Entendu. And while Deja is actually a superior album, Brand New was not yet at the point where they could pull-off that type of tune.

A track that is executed masterfully is “Seventy Times 7.” The guitar solo in the intro is about as face melting as anything in the genre of pop punk/emo gets. The lyrics allegedly address a feud between Lacey and his best friend, (former Taking Back Sunday guitarist and current Straylight Run frontman) John Nolan. Nolan is said to have hooked up with Lacey’s girlfriend and, not surprisingly, this leads to some wonderfully hateful lyrics sung as if through gritted teeth. And when the feverish pace gives way to a down-tempo bridge, furious poetry ensues:

“So, is that what you call a getaway?
Tell me what you got away with.
Cause I’ve seen more spine in jellyfish.
I’ve seen more guts in eleven-year-old kids.
Have another drink and drive yourself home.
I hope there’s ice on all the roads.
And you can think of me when you forget your seatbelt,
and again when your head goes through the windshield.”

The acoustic closer “Soco Amaretto Lime” is one last anthem for the perceived purity and simplicity of the teen years. The chorus sums up this spirit:

“I’m gonna stay eighteen forever,
So we can stay like this forever,
And we’ll never miss a party,
Cause we keep them going constantly.
And we’ll never have to listen,
To anyone about anything,
Cause it’s all been done and it’s all been said,
We’re the coolest kids and we take what we can get…”

The song gently begins to go out with Lacey crooning, “You’re just jealous ’cause we’re young and in love, ” only to suddenly end with a sudden, and literal, screeching halt.

Just like adolescence, Your Favorite Weapon ends before anyone wants it to.

Review Score: 9.6

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2 Comments

  1. This album is simply amazing, and I like the insight about the song “Seventy Times 7” which makes the title a little more relevant since that ‘s how many time Jesus told us to forgive someone who’s wronged us. Looks like he hasn’t quite done that yet, and I like it. That kind of emotion that drives the lyrics is what makes this album so great and easy to relate with, as you said, the teen years. Great album, great review.

  2. […] (Full review here.) […]


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