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

Brand New

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.”