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What to Do With Brand New on End of the Year Lists

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    Matt Melis, writing at Consequence of Sound:

    There’s a glaring, Brand New-size hole in our year-end coverage. Many of you have noticed it. Indeed, anyone who has followed our take on the musical narrative of 2017 can tell a significant plot point has been torn out. Over the past several months, we’ve delved into the Long Island rock band’s legacy, celebrated their return on the suddenly dropped Science Fiction, and praised the band for their commitment to going out on their own terms. Hell, until allegations of sexual misconduct were brought by multiple women against frontman Jesse Lacey in early November, Brand New were set to place high on both our year-end albums and songs lists and even appeared on our shortlist for Band of the Year. None of which, given our coverage of the band, should surprise you, and all of which, despite allegations against Lacey, might disappoint, if not outright anger, some of you.

    I thought this article, and the conversation within, does a good job of distilling where I’m at right now as well. The band won’t be on my end of the year list and a statement about why will be. The main reason is that I want two things at this point: To not use my platform and voice to promote this kind of behavior (the accusations themselves and the subsequent silence while women were harassed), and to make sure that this history is part of the band’s legacy as well. It can’t just be swept away and forgotten.

    This passage in particular left me with a lot to think about as well:

    Geffen believes it’s a personal choice to stop listening to a band’s music, but she doubts the legitimacy and value of separating music from its creators. “I don’t think artists and music are necessarily separate; it’s on a continuum. A huge part of the music economy in this country comes from live shows. It’s the physical presence of these artists,” explains Geffen. “If they can’t be given a stage or platform without abusing that power, they shouldn’t get to play. It seems pretty simple to me. Playing shows is part of the art, part of the story of the artist, so I don’t see what’s useful about drawing a line.”

  2. bmir14

    Trusted Supporter

    After having chewed on all this for a while, I will say this: it means something to me that he sought out treatment prior to this blowing up, instead of after. I'm not defending his actions and it certainly doesn't absolve him of them. But clearly he's dealing with (and has dealt with) some kind of mental illness... I just wish he accompanied that treatment with some type of acknowledgment and apology prior to his hand being forced.

    I'm also in the small % of people who thought his statement came across as sincere, especially as someone who isn't particularly forthright.

    For me, Brand New will be my AOTY. But i respect and understand those that are in a more public facing view having to make the decision of listing/not-listing.
  3. thirtydollarsleft


    He's been cheating on his wife over the past year.
    Brent likes this.
  4. Shrek

    Prestigious Prestigious

    it's important to make the distinction between a negative compulsion and a mental illness. having a desire for nudes from fans does not constitute a mental illness.
  5. bmir14

    Trusted Supporter

    Agreed. And while it's not excusable, I think having the desire for nudes from minors means something is psychologically wrong with you.
  6. Shrek

    Prestigious Prestigious

    I would imagine it was less of a desire for nudes from minors specifically and more of a continuation of a habit formed as a young, aspired to band member. I think he got used to abusing his power and didn’t have enough conviction or character to break his own cycle.
  7. Phil507

    Resident NYC snob Supporter

    And where was this ever confirmed?

    Moving on, I see it both ways. Science Fiction is my album of the year and, I could go on this whole long ramble about how we'd need to be discrediting a LOT of art from the past based on awful behavior from human beings but choice is up to each individual. I fully understand and can support not including them because you don't want to support that kind of behavior.
  8. Shrek

    Prestigious Prestigious

    No we would not. Moving forward with appropriate action in modern instances does not require a retroactive blanketing of past examples.
    BirdPerson and Aaron Mook like this.
  9. Stevangelion

    We Can (Not) Make It Alone.

    Science Fiction will be on my list. If I lived on an island and albums were dropped to me LOST style and then I had to rate those album just based on the music then Brand New makes that best of list. It was a scincerly good album. I don’t like the fact that I have to explain why I think Jesse is a scumbag in order to “justify” why I would put an album I like on a best of the year list but my girlfriend in highschool could have been one of those girls. She worshiped him as a god, so I understand he is a manipulative douche. Science Fiction is still a great album.
  10. Phil507

    Resident NYC snob Supporter

    Of course it doesn't which is why I don't really want to go down that road. Either way, fully can understand both decisions.
  11. kielhauck @kielhauck

    There was so much incredible music this year and so many important voices worth elevating. I can't imagine not being able to comfortably remove Brand New from the discussion.
  12. personalmaps

    citrus & cinnamon Prestigious

    Every Brand New comments section for the rest of time:

  13. SamLevi11

    Trusted Prestigious

    They will be on mine, but not as highly as they would have been before.
    dotKev likes this.
  14. KyleK

    Let's get these people moving faster! Supporter

    I also think it isn't reasonable to compare the decision of a music magazine or website (like Chorus) rightfully wanting to avoid promoting Brand New, and random person's personal end of year list. Now of course everyone can make their own decisions, and I'm not saying people shouldn't (or should) leave their off their own lists, but I do think a publication with lots of readers and exposure has a different sort of responsibility on them as it relates to promotion.
  15. St. Nate

    من النهر إلى البحر Prestigious

    I have an idea.
  16. Zilla

    Trusted Supporter

    Going through my collection of Brand New stuff, I'm selling all of it, minus some things from the "Devil and God" era because that album meant so much to me coming to grips with my anxiety dealing with mortality and losing friends. It means so much to me. And there's nothing on it that particularly creeps me out like stuff on "Deja" and "Daisy."

    SF means nothing to me. I didn't like it when it came out and haven't listened to it since the allegations came out. As someone else said, there's been so much great music this year, even with bands close to Brand New like Manchester Orchestra and Sorority Noise, it can be ignored.
    DarkHotline likes this.
  17. mercury

    modern-day offspring fanatic Supporter

    ooooh this part articulates a thought that i've had and haven't been able to put in words so well:
    SuNDaYSTaR and Aaron Mook like this.
  18. OhTheWater

    Let it run Supporter

    I absolutely have an emotional attachment to their back catalog, with that being said I can't really listen to even my favorite songs by the band without having a horrible taste in my mouth.

    They should be left off all year end lists. I posted this before, but if you choose to continue to listen to the band because you're attached to them or they help you get through your own issues, do you. EOTY lists are arbitrary and mainly a way to draw attention to some of your favorite acts that others might enjoy. They don't deserve the press.
  19. inagreendase


    Including any sort of section on why the album isn't in the list is a tacit acknowledgment it *should* be in there. It keeps the band in the "best of" conversation.

    Any publication doing this may as well include the album, immediately mention that it's by no means condoning Lacey's actions if they feel necessary, and include links to RAINN and other similar organizations.

    Or just don't bother mentioning the band at all and dismiss them entirely from the "best of" conversation if it feels deserved. Anything else feels like a strange workaround.
    BirdPerson, Saephon and dotKev like this.
  20. I disagree, I think pointing to the news articles, accusations, and donation pages, and calling attention to that is far better. It not only raises awareness, it explicitly doesn't ignore what happened and can serve as a reminder for all time that this happened and is part of the band's legacy now.
  21. youwontknow

    If I smile with my teeth, bet you'd believe me

    Science Fiction is definitely AOTY for me and Jesse’s actions win DOTY (disappointment of the year).
  22. waking season

    Trusted Prestigious

    This is a really good, well-thought out article. I just wish I hadn't read the comments.
    dylan, fenway89, dotKev and 1 other person like this.
  23. Mike


    So? Yeah, that’s a terrible thing to do and that’s not how I would conduct myself in a relationship but I don’t expect people to adhere to my own set of morals. But I’m not Jesse Lacey and I’m not his wife. We are not moral police sent down from heaven to lambaste married people into following our own moral codes.

    I guess I just don’t understand this bizarro hero worship and I don’t look at band members as beacons of upstanding moral character. They’re not role models, they’re people, flaws and all. It’s as if fans who are shocked and appalled by this behaviour have no critical thinking ability. This shouldn’t come as a surprise if one pays any attention to his lyrical content. In many Brand New songs, the lyrics are very much about struggling with demons and being an antagonist. Infidelity is a very common theme in music (and it’s likely much more common that anyone would care to admit). At the very least, Jesse seems remorseful when he writes about it. I can only imagine how his wife be processes his actions. If she were to release a statement and/or leave him, I fully support that action, and I would support her if she stayed. What goes on between two people is none of my business as long as they are consenting adults. She has the agency to make her own life choices and I don’t need to concern myself with how someone conducts themselves in their relationship.

    I am sure I’m going to get hell for an opposing viewpoint that doesn’t completely vilify all morally questionable actions. This site (and the commentariat) have a tendency to become a echo chamber. And I’ll just point out that this statement is completely separate from the sexual harassment allegations. Those should definitely be called out and atoned for.

    As for the topic at hand: I’ve done my best to separate the artist from the art and the enjoyment I have for Brand New’s albums are not tarnished by Lacey’s actions, though I understand the difficulty in dissociating the two. Science Fiction is still very high on my personal AOTY list, but I respect others for not being able to enjoy it in the same way post-allegations. The only positive that I can see from this situation is that hopefully the victim can begin to heal. And through this (and related allegations), I’m hopeful society can usher in a safer environment based around consent. I’m glad the conversations are being had, I just wish it wasn’t as a result of so much pain.
  24. Nap


    I totally agree with you Mike.
    Science Fiction = AOTY
  25. thirtydollarsleft


    So that means the person I was responding to saying "it was in the past/he dealt with it" is wrong. It also shows that he has continued his pattern of abuse — yes chronic infidelity is emotional abuse — and lied in his statement.

    Good for you.
    Jacob Davidson, BirdPerson and dylan like this.