Paramore - brand new eyes
Release Date: Sept. 29, 2009
Record Label: Fueled By Ramen
She’s an enchanting little creature with hair colors most often in the fire hues, and she’s the frontlady for an underground-grown pop-rock band that’s got a major-league teen kingdom. I know, I know - there are other dudes in Paramore too (Josh and Zac Farro, Jeremy Davis and Taylor York, say hello). Yet, what we’ve grown to understand about the band after 2007’s Riot! is that Hayley Williams has the moxie to lead an infantry on her propelled trills alone. Love to hate or not, her snowcapped power vocals are designed to seduce and then score, and that’s what she’s giving another go on brand new eyes.
When the match strikes on the third album by the teenbeat wonder group, the room goes ablaze with more of what Paramore does well. This record is most importantly about momentum. “Careful”, the album opener starts quickly with streamlining from clean guitar lines and accelerated percussion, the sounds of a band that is hot to trot. Williams rings in clear with springboard lines like “the truth will set me free/I did it myself” and the extended wails in chorus line “you’ve got to reach a little more." There’s no lull between those damn hooks on Riot! and the concentration and vigor of brand new eyes. First single “Ignorance” and the concise “Brick By Boring Brick” help rush in the first half. So far so good and snappy, like knocking bullets off a to-do list. It’s not until the acoustic sweetie “The Only Exception” that the album slows to peruse young love and all its hopefulness (“In the morning, when you wake up/Leave me with some kind of proof it's not a dream”). But we’re back quick enough - “Feeling Sorry” rumbles excitedly with an opening familiar to The Starting Line’s “21”.
Not entirely gone but certainly toned down are the Friday night mall anthems. It may be a stretch to say that Paramore probes dark subject matter on brand new eyes, but they work on fattening their otherwise prototypical pre-adult catalog of lyrics. On the more pop-punk than rock “Looking Up”, Williams very literally expresses her feelings towards the band’s near-brush with a break-up, and it’s an honesty that can be appreciated (“God knows the world doesn’t need another band/But what a waste it would’ve been/I can't believe we almost hung it up”). She continues her gushy sentiments towards the Farro brothers, Davis and York in “Where The Lines Overlap”. Besides a Three Little Pigs reference on “Brick By Boring Brick” and the aforementioned love story of “The Only Exception”, Williams chalks the rest of her muse up to hometown anxieties and the usual self-doubt/personal resolve parallel.
From their first album, All We Know Is Falling, to now, the progression is as obvious as growing up. The band is now a natural at buffing the pop architecture. Williams is dripping with more confidence than ever, and she’s even sneering less to soar higher. Who needs the ‘tude? Come time for a crucial hook and chorus - like on “Playing God” - and the song is immediately a phoenix. But progression can be dirty work. Take ender “All I Wanted” - much more “radio” than anything on brand new eyes, it’s forcefully booming to be epic. Williams alternates between a recluse verse and an awkwardly unmatched chorus. Isn’t this where Avril Lavigne went wrong? Just prior, the second acoustic number on the album, “Misguided Ghosts” is a bit misguided itself. Williams glows next to the raw quirks of the unplugged execution, but the melody is lukewarm in comparison to everything before.
Let’s be honest here. Paramore wouldn’t be, you know - Paramore - if some other chick lent her tubes to the cause. It’s agreed, then? This one’s a keeper. Simultaneously down-to-earth and on top of the world, there is something about this Williams character that makes an album like brand new eyes more than another notch on that slutty pop-rock bedpost. Just imagine what will happen when the band hits their mid-twenties.
You make some good points -- can't say the album entirely sold me on the band, however it's their first record I don't mind listening to from beginning to end. I think the lyrics and vocals have improved enough where I can take them seriously. If not for Hayley, it wouldn't be much to rave about though.
If not for Hayley, it wouldn't be much to rave about though.
i agree to an extent, but doesn't this ring true for most bands? what would thrice be without dustin? brand new without jesse? jew be without jim?
i do however think that each band member of paramore really adds a lot to the band as a whole. i think j. farro has his own style of writing that is different. maybe not groundbreaking, but you can always tell it's him just by hearing it. they are all extremely talented musicians and have years of growth ahead of them. keep in mind that two of the members are still in their teens.