New England rock band Four Year Strong have announced a special deluxe edition of their latest album Brain Pain. The release features 2 new songs, 3 new acoustic versions of key singles from the record, a couple of remixes and a cover. It will be released on December 10th, 2021 via Pure Noise Records.
States vocalist/guitarist Dan O’Connor:
Brain Pain is an important record for us so we thought it deserved something more. We threw on some other songs that were recorded during the BP sessions and also put together acoustic versions of some of our favourite songs. We wanted to make the BP deluxe into something people who love Brain Pain would be stoked on.
The original Brain Pain was released early in 2020 and while it didn’t necessarily reflect the trials and tribulations the world was to face over the next year and then some, it did see Four Year Strong acknowledging their own personal changes.
Like many pop-punk and hardcore crossover bands that started young, time marches on and Four Year Strong chose to focus on issues that may not have been that important to them years before. It’s called Brain Pain and themes surrounding uncertainty, depression, anxiety, and more are ever present.
It was a much more ‘grown up’ record for the most part, although there are some of those classic sunny disposition efforts here and there. It was one of the more authentic sounding Four Year Strong records and almost 2 years later, that still sticks.
Chances are, if you love this band, you loved this record. Especially when you hear tracks like It’s Cool, Crazy Pills, the title track, Be Good When I’m Gone and The Worst Part About Me. These are tracks that showcase Four Year Strong at their absolute best.
However, you already know this. The reason why you’re back is because you want to hear the extra stuff you get on this deluxe edition.
9 extra songs, 2 new, 3 acoustic and 3 remix versions of tracks that appear on the original release. Capped off with a cover of The Verve’s beloved Bittersweet Symphony.
First up, the two new tracks; Myvek and Pipe Dream. The former is the less interesting of the two. Nice rhythm and an anthemic chorus but par for the course when it comes to Four Year Strong’s pop-punk sound. The latter is class though, frantic and quite heavy (by their standards) and to the point.
The acoustic tracks are nice variations on tracks that Four Year Strong fans should be very familiar with by now. Get Out of My Head, Talking Myself in Circles and Learn to Love. Acoustic does fit Four Year Strong quite nicely and they give off a bit more of a Weezer vibe with these relaxed and chilled out tempos.
There’s more bang for your buck though as we then get remixed versions of another handful of tracks. Seventeen, a track that was one of the more lacking tracks on the original release, is given a bit more punch and bite even if lyrically it comes across disingenuous. Talking Myself in Circles is a bit of a waste of electronica-infused time, just go listen to the original or acoustic version. Whereas Worst Part of Me proves to be the best of the 3, thanks to the off-kilter rhythm and catchy beat.
Which brings us to the last track on this deluxe album and the cover of The Verve’s beloved Bittersweet Symphony. Now, chances are that you are like many others and you hate this song now, simply because it has been so overplayed. There was a time when you couldn’t turn on a radio without hearing this track and even if it totally makes the ending of Cruel Intentions so much better, many grew to hate it.
So, Four Year Strong are really going to have do something special here to make it likeable again.
So what do they do? They heavy it up and that’s about it. Interesting but absolutely nothing to get excited about.
So is it worth picking up this deluxe version if you’ve been playing the original album since its release? Absolutely. The two new songs compliment the original album, in particular Pipe Dream. The acoustic tracks are nice, and the remix tracks at least offer something obviously different.
Four Year Strong – Brain Pain (Deluxe) Full Track Listing:
1. It’s Cool
2. Get Out of My Head
3. Crazy Pills
4. Talking Myself in Circles
5. Learn to Love the Lie
6. Brain Pain
7. Mouth Full of Dirt
9. Be Good When I’m Gone
10. The Worst Part About Me
11. Usefully Useless
12. Young at Heart
14. Pipe Dream
15. Get Out of My Head (Acoustic)
16. Talking Myself in Circles (Acoustic)
17. Learn to Love (Acoustic)
18. Seventeen (Remix)
19. Talking Myself in Circles (Remix)
20. Worst Part of Me (Remix)
21. Bitter Sweet Symphony (The Verve Cover)
Four Year Strong - Brain Pain (Deluxe) (Pure Noise Records)
The Final Score - 7.5/10