Deja Entendu? Au Contraire.
I realized that Brand New’s sophomore album, Deja Entendu, is well over a decade old now. I remember when it came out; I was in middle school, angsty, and thought I related to it then. Oddly enough, I still relate to it. It’s an interesting album, with really no bad song. Every lyric, smart; every beat meaningful. Less than an hour long, I still find myself listening to it, finding new meaning, a new breakthrough on how those songs are poignantly applicable to my life. It’s among my favorite albums of all times; pretty crazy considering I was but a fresh faced teenager the first time I listened to it.
You ever have an album, or even a song, like that? That no matter when you listen to it in your life, no matter what the lyricist what thinking when they wrote it, it’s like it was written to describe your life at that moment in time? Sic Transit Gloria, reminding me constantly of relationships where things felt unfulfilled, rushed, one sided (with me on both sides of that story). Lines from I Will Play My Game Beneath the Spin Light describing my homesick thoughts throughout college. Okay I Believe you but My Tommy Gun Don’t, a scathing note to everyone who doubted me, wronged me, hurt me, and ultimately how much better I am without them.
An album, short, sweet, and filled with bits I would find myself humming for the better part of my life thus far. “This is war/Every line is about/Who I don’t wanna write about anymore” perfectly nailing my half scrambled thoughts and letters to former lovers, former friends. Verses that wouldn’t reveal themselves completely until various life experiences jostled my so called everyday. Like The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot summing up a particularly bad break up. Bits of Guernica reminding me of my helplessness and distance when I was at school and found out about my younger brother’s death. Jaws Theme Swimming… The warnings I’d ignore from parents, friends, only to learn the hard way they were probably right.
There are so few albums I feel this way about. So few things that feel almost as if they’ve grown up along me. Maybe I finally grew up to appreciate them properly. There isn’t a single bad song on Deja Entendu. There hasn’t been a single instance in my life since it was released that I couldn’t relate to Jesse Lacey’s words in some fashion. Sure, some of those times were shallow, oh-woe-is-me teenager “problems”, but still applicable. Deja Entendu, French for ‘already heard’, a commentary on the state of modern rock at the time. Yet every time I listen to it, it feels new, different. The experiences constantly changing, the words staying the same. Already heard? I think not.