Holy Crap There’s a New Brand New Song, It’s Real, and You Can Hear Some of It
It's called "I Am a Nightmare" and it's reportedly available on May 20.
It’s been a little over a year since Long Island’s Brand New dropped the now-typically nihilistic “Mene,” the first piece of new studio material to surface since the Daisy LP in 2009. Since then, the band have confirmed that they’ve been working on a full-length studio album and hinted that it may be their last, but other than that it’s pretty much been radio silence. It’s not that their fans aren’t accustomed to it already—they’re used to piecing together morsels of information from wherever they can get it—but even by Brand New’s standards it’s been an excruciatingly long wait.
Today there’s another flicker of activity. A link to a new track called “I Am a Nightmare” appeared on Amazon this morning along with a 30-second clip of the song, some new artwork, and the words “Expected May 20” next to it. That’s this Friday.
The clip itself hints at an about turn for the band. After plunging head-first into despair with 2006’s The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me and sticking on that path ever since, a track called “I Am a Nightmare” could logically be an extension of the darkness that consumed their music for the better part of a decade. But it’s the poppiest thirty seconds that the band have indulged in since Your Favorite Weapon. It’s still self-flagellating because c’mon it’s Brand New, but the major-key chorus is as much a measure of adoration as it is of self-loathing: “I am a nightmare/ and you are a miracle.” It’s less Roky Erickson and more Kevin Devine.
If this is to be the band’s last album, maybe some of it’s going to involve picking up all the loose ends from a decade and a half that’s seen them grow from emo-pop mainstays to a reclusive, creative and gloriously left-of-center rock band. They tried as much when they finally got around to officially releasing The Devil and God’s leaked demos last year. Beneath all the mystery and awkwardness has always a band that genuinely cares about its legacy and bowing out with a collection of tracks to round out each of their forms would make some sense.
Then again, “I Am a Nightmare” might never appear on the album, the album might never come out, Brand New might live forever, they might already have broken up, this might be a reworking of a demo from 2004, it could all be about Morrissey for some reason.
UPDATE: Listen to the song in full now.