“The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me” is the third studio album by the American alternative rock band Brand New. It was released on November 20, 2006, through Interscope Records. The album’s name came from a conversation that Jesse Lacey, the lead singer of Brand New, had with a friend regarding the musician Daniel Johnston, who suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The album cover was discovered by the band at Nicholas Prior’s “Age of Man” art show.
The photograph is titled “Untitled #44. Brand New consists of Jesse Lacey (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Vincent Accardi (lead guitar, backing vocals), Brian Lane (drums), Garrett Tierney (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Derrick Sherman (keyboards, guitars, backing vocals). The band’s influences range from pop and classic rock bands such as The Beach Boys, Squeeze, and The Cars; to more contemporary acts such as Weezer, Foo Fighters, and Radiohead. Frontman Jesse Lacey is also known for his fondness of The Smiths and Morrissey. Though Brand New cannot be put into any one genre, they are most often described as alternative rock, indie, and emo.Order now
Brand New has evolved their sound since their first album, Your Favorite Weapon. Their sound went from teenage-angst with a slight twist of maturity, to extremely mature and dark, to unrefined and deep. The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me (The Devil And God) was a different approach to music than Brand New had taken with either of their previous two albums. Instead of recording a normal album, they used their album to bridge the gap between personal grief and public entertainment. Although it’s often attempted, it’s rare to see such a personal album be so well received by a mass audience.
The majority of Brand New fans agree that this album is lyrically the best even if they do not consider it their favorite. The Devil And God seems like and excuse for Jesse Lacey to channel his inner demons, rather than to produce an album just to make the fans happy. The Devil And God includes a new level of passion and aggression that would be almost impossible to duplicate because of how personal it is. The emotion in The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me is tangible from the very start. In the first track, “Sowing Season,” Lacey is heard despairing over the loss of his friends.
What starts out as a calm, soothing rhythm turns into an explosion of guitars and aggressive drumming. The instruments help to create the feelings of loss and helplessness that Lacey is trying to convey through his lyrics. “Millstone,” while still demonstrating the sound of this album, will appeal to older fans with its classic ear-catching chorus. This song contains a reference to Matthew 18:6 (“A milestone around my neck Be my breath, there’s nothing I wouldn’t give”), continuing the theme of religion which is obviously hinted at in the name of the album.
In “Jesus Christ,” which is the biggest look into the mind of Jesse Lacey, we hear him question death and his faith. “Degausser” is probably my favorite song of the whole album just because of its sound and the overall meaning. It is the only song on the The Devil And God that more than two band members had a hand in writing. A “degaussing tool” is used to de-magnetize a tape-head in order to avoid problems of background noise in analog recording devices. In the song, it is used as a metaphor for de-magnetization of a relationship.
Limousine (MS Redbridge)” is probably the most interesting and gruesome song of the The Devil And God. It tells the true story of the death of 7-year-old Katie Flynn. Each verse of the song is from a different perspective. The first verse is from Katie’s mother’s perspective. She refers to Martin Heidgen, the drunk driver responsible for Katie’s death, as the man who has “volunteered with grace” to end Katie’s life. The second verse was written from the guilt-ridden perspective of Heidgen (“Can I get myself out from underneath this guilt that will crush me”).
Towards the end of the song, is Katie’s perspective, which Lacey portrays as trying to be thankful that she will not ever have to deal with the loss of anyone that she loves (“We’ll never have to buy adjacent plots of earth We’ll never have to rot together under the dirt I’ll never have to lose my baby in the crowd Well I should be laughing right now”). The lyrical meaning in this track is easily the most powerful of all the songs. “You Won’t Know” has been interpreted in many different ways. Some say that it is a continuation of Heidgen’s perspective; others say it is about an abortion or a past relationship of Lacey’s.
All of those interpretations make sense, though I believe it was a continuation of Hiedgen’s perspective. “Welcome to Bangkok” and “Untitled” are the two purely instrumental songs on The Devil And God. They act as transition pieces and help you be able to really think about what you have heard. “Not the Sun” is supposedly about a man proposing to a woman. She says “no” because and tells the man repeatedly that he is “not the sun,” which hints at the fact that he thinks that world revolves around him (the sun). Luca” is a reference to Luca Brasi from the novel The Godfather, who is drowned with a pair of cement boots to ensure that he’ll sink and never float up and be discovered (“So we’ve fixed you with cement galoshes And no one can save you now”).
“The Archer’s Bows have Broken” is the only constantly fast-paced track on The Devil And God. It is the adrenaline rush that you needed at this point. The transition from “The Archer’s Bows have Broken” to the last and slowest song of the album, “Handcuffs,” is a surprisingly easy transition. Handcuffs” is honest and does its job of summing up The Devil And God beautifully because of its theme of trying to be “the better man”, and having the realization of how hard it is to be one. “The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me” ’s meaning gets deeper with each listen, and I am taken into a dark but incredibly moving place. This album will forever be one of my favorite albums of all time simply because it has the same profound effect on me, if not more, since the very first time I heard it. I could listen to it a thousand times and the meaning would never be lost.