When I was a sophomore in high school I took a writing course. I specifically remember two juniors that I thought were cool, because they had long hair and a semblance of facial hair, coming up to me and saying “We think you have the potential to be cool, you should listen to this album.” The album was Brand New’s first, Your Favourite Weapon. I have no idea what inspired them to randomly tell me about this album, to the chunky boy with the weird t-shirts and oversized glasses. However, I’ve all been thankful to them for that. Blaine and Frankie, I have no idea where you two are now in life nor do I entirely care but I’m glad you could do your part to introduce me to a band that would shape me over the next decade. When it comes to music, if left to my own devices, I think I would have some of the lamest tastes of all time. My early life was spent with boy bands (Backstreet Boys > N’SYNC) evolving into “cool”, “edgy rock” like Linkin’ Park in my middle school days, and by the time I was in high school I was probably back into thinking Disney songs were super cool. Not quite sure yet if I had entered the era of musical theatre and Broadway show tunes but it would soon be coming. I don’t mean to cast disdain on any of those genres of music, they all have their place in the world, except they wouldn’t help constitute you as a cool kid in the high school world. Granted, this isn’t some teenage oriented feel good film about the nerdy kid overcoming the popular kids and ruling as the King of the student body. This is just a story of a boy who went home and most likely pirated a Brand New album through KaZaA, Limewire, or BitTorrent or whatever was popular at the time. Putting on the music for the first time…well, to be truly honest I have no idea how I felt listening it for the first time. I probably thought why are they all yelling? Why don’t they have beautiful harmonies like Nick Carter and AJ on the Millennium album? I was a stupid boy. I want to reminiscence and think that as soon as the first lyrics of The Shower Scene started that I instantly hated it and thought it was the worst song Brand New has ever recorded and then I listened to the second song and I thought “Wow, another real crap song, was this a mistake?” and then listened to the third and realized “Yes. This is it. This is what I’ve been waiting for.” This isn’t about what fifteen year old thought anyways, this is about how Brand New has affected me over the last eleven years or so. I’m writing this because this Monday night was the first ever time that I saw Brand New perform a concert. I’ve had opportunities before but something always seemed to come up and conflict with my desires to go. The first album of Brand New doesn’t even really matter, nor does the second, hell, not even the fourth. It all comes down to the third. I love Brand New and for the most part I love all of their music and all that they’ve done. It just wasn’t until I got into the album, The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me would I realize how special they were to me. That’s another album that when it came out I would have no idea how much it would impact me. I was a sixteen year old boy when the album came out with my main problems concerning if I would pass the AP exams at the end of the year or not. I’ve referenced my own battles and experiences with depression countless times throughout this blog and I’ve probably made it clear that it leads you to a place where you think nothing matters, where you don’t feel for anything, where nothing can help you, etc. etc. Brand New was able to help me. It was like someone offering me a warm embrace and me just nestling up into their arms and thinking that things weren’t so bad after all. That I could listen to their lyrics, I could listen to their melodies and I could finally at least feel something. I would imagine that countless artists release their own music to deal with their own pains and to help others deal with theirs. The band itself wasn’t coming into my life and telling me it would all get better and they didn’t have to. I did not care one iota that none of them would even have any idea I ever existed, I just cared that they put enough care into their albums that I could take much needed comfort from them. You’re right though, I have focused on depression in tons of these posts so let’s focus on some good aspects of Brand New as well. I remember in high school I was taking a crush to the airport for her to fly to the Dakotas only for a Brand New song to mention said Dakota which broke the total silence of our drive by initiating the crying sequence that would begin as we reached the airport and even more so as I drove home alone. Okay, that wasn’t the most fun one. I remember as a college freshman meeting an RA and writing on her Facebook wall my top 10 Brand New songs and planting the seeds for an amazing friendship that I still carry onto this day. Just like I remember riding around in college with someone just listening to Brand New on shuffle as we drove around for no specific reason just entranced by the music and to just enjoy the sounds instead of worrying about all the shit that we as humans contend with. I remember driving around on nice days with the windows down and the radio turned up blaring Brand New songs from their first album when they were at their most pop punky and just jamming out and enjoying life. I remember how one of their shirts led to my most popular MySpace photo of all time. I just really think that Brand New has always been there for me like a best friend has. Through thick and through thin, I’ve known I could count on their music and their words to help me through whatever I needed to do so. That there are countless friends and family that everyone has that are their to do those exact same things, but sometimes it just feels good to bond with something, a group of people that as I mentioned will never know who you are, will never judge you, will never disagree, they’ll just be there for you when you need them most. I’ve said before that a world without music wouldn’t even be that bad as I tend to find myself listening to podcasts more and more or just not being as into tunes as others I see except I’m wrong. Music is a wonderful thing, music is an irreplaceable thing. Maybe I like to think I’m above such things, that I could handle myself without other things impacting me and maybe I just want to take pride in myself and think it’ll all be okay on my own. Minus the fact that my entire life has proved that wrong to me time and time again. As I said, music is a wonderful thing, music is a powerful thing and I’m thankful that Brand New has had such a profound impact on me as they have. I’m also glad that no matter how many newer tracks that they release that I don’t even care for that there will still be all the old classics that will take me to a better place. Thanks Brand New, I love you. So it goes.