Limousine by Brand New

Limousine is the 5th track off of the 3rd studio album of the alternative rock band Brand New. The album is called, “The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me” and was released in November of 2006.  I first stumbled upon Brand New in the passenger seat of a friends car during high school, long after any of their albums had been released. Devil and God was my friend’s favorite album at the time and he decided to show me Limousine to show the solemn intensity that the album contained and then told me an extremely abridge version of the song’s history. Unlike the band’s first two albums which were relatively simple and pop punk/rock inspired, Devil and God took a decidedly more somber tone replete with layering of voices and interspersed with moments of freneticly distorted vocals and instrumentation.

Image

The cover art is called “Untitled #44,” by Nicholas Prior. To me, it evokes images of winter despite the masks being generally associated with Halloween and Autumn. It seems to demonstrate the idea of facing one’s fears. Which resonates with other songs on the album such as “Jesus Christ” and “Luca.” 

Limousine however, is about a very moment in time. The song was written as dirge for the death of 7 year old Katie Flynn and a condemnation of the romanticizing of alcohol abuse in music.

“The abuse of alcohol is something that’s taken pretty lightly in our country, especially by younger people. But the big thing to me is the way it’s romanticized in music, especially in this scene, in like this indie scene, where uh, I don’t know, like if you get a guitar and you’re some kind of of kid who can write a lyric and you have a bottle of wine, and you know suddenly you have like some kind of cred, you know, because you can turn a phrase and you can drink. I know that sounds kind of like weird, you know or maybe you don’t know what I’m talking but it’s true. There’s like this, like this stigma attached to it that never made any kind of sense to me.”

 – Jesse Lacey, Lead singer and songwriter of Brand New.
Image
 
(Im so sorry for where this link leads. I just like the picture but the origin is special to me on a-whole-nother level.)
Here is an interview in which Jesse describes the story and his reasoning behind writing the song Limousine. 
The lyrics and tone of the song change many times throughout the piece. The first 1:55 of the song serve as a dirge for the late Katie Flynn and explain to her the cause of her untimely death from the perspective of he mother.
K, it’s your ride.
Get your petals out and lay them in the aisle
Pretend your garden grows and it’s your day to wed.
We found your man, he’s drinking up, he’s all-American.
And he’ll drive.
He’s volunteered with grace to end your life,
From there the vocals and instrumentals become quite shrill perhaps to represent the chaos of grief.  In here lies the lyric, “Remain in my hands and smile,” which is a reference to Katie’s decapitation and her mother refusal to let her daughter’s smiling face go. 
Image
 
And after that the narration seems to change. most likely to the voice of Martin Heidgen, the drunk driver tat instigated the crash. The tone relatively light but the lyrics are more remorseful.
A beauty supreme, yeah you were right about me,
But can I get myself out from underneath this guilt that will crush me,
And in the choir I saw a sad messiah,
He was bored and tired of my laments,
Said, “I died for you one time but never again.”
Now, in the end of the song the voice returns to that of the mother, repeating the same words over and over
Well I love you so much, but do me a favor baby, don’t reply.
Because I can dish it out, but I can’t take it.
However, with every repetition the begin of the verse is replace with a number starting at one and climaxing at seven. The number seven has much significance in our culture. In this case the most obvious one might be the Seven Deadly Sins but perhaps the Seven Works of Mercy may be a better fit. The last being the burial of the dead and the mother of Katie can’t take the idea of burying her daughter.
The song Limousine by Brand new is a solemn record of a terrible accident with infinitely more horrible details and a strong message against the abuse of alcohol and the dangers of drunk driving.
I will end with one more video of the song containing some clips from the news of the crash.
Advertisements

2 comments

  1. I love Brand New as well even though I have not heard this song yet. I definitely think this was an interesting transition for them as I was used to hearing more punk-ish/rock songs such as “Jude Law and a Semester Abroad” on their Your Favorite Weapon album. I think the topic here is much deeper and talks about more serious, depressing issues. Brand New’s tone reflects their feelings on substance abuse which is what makes it different from other artists that talk about these topics too but keep the upbeat/rock ring to it, but Brand New slows it way down.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s