The last two years have been very life-changing for Franklin, Tennessee rockers Paramore, led by fiery-haired femme rocker Hayley Williams. Not only did they settle a permanent spot on the radio with the many singles that spawned from 2007’s Riot!, but holding the official single(“Decode”) for the hugest movie of 2008, Twilight, just made it seem more right for Paramore to be on top of the music and media radar. Whether or not fans who’ve been following the band since their debut record(All We Know Is Falling) want to believe it or not, Twilight was the best thing to ever have happened to Paramore career-wise.
Now with almost the entire music world’s eyes set upon them with bright or pessimistic views, it goes without much thought that Paramore had a very high standard to fill on brand new eyes, especially since they also had to carry the weight of being a girl-fronted rock band.
Riot! was a more pop than punk record, which when stacked up against the debut and brand new eyes seems very out of place. Being a pop record for the most part, didn’t allow the band to show how hard they could truly rock, and the serious subjects Hayley Williams can muster the courage and guts to sing about. It is because Williams sings about deeper and serious subjects, that the new record has a much more mature and harder rock sound than was previously heard. Subjects and lyrics that “didn’t feel good” when Williams was writing the record.
“Ignorance” is a high-energy rock-fest, with menacing guitar riffs by Josh Farro and new addition to the band, Taylor York. Drummer and the younger of the Farro brothers, Zac, you can tell is truly letting out all of shoved-aside anger and power on the track, as well is Hayley Williams. Out of all the lyrics that she mentioned “didn’t feel good” to write”, “Ignorance” is most likely one of those songs. The chorus is rowdy and makes everything from Riot! sound flat. It’s definitely one of those songs that you’d put on your “ANGER!!!” play-list in iTunes. You can also add “Careful” and “Brick By Boring Brick” to that play-list.
Alongside the anger of the album, are the tender tracks(“The Only Exception”, “Misguided Ghosts“, “Playing God”). “Playing God” comes up right after “Ignorance”, and is the calm after the storm. It is the catchiest single of the entire album, and may be one of the catchiest songs you’ll hear in 2009. With her words not being overpowered by the rest of the band, you can finally hear William’s ability to be so honest and say the things to people she could never find the courage to do face-to-face(“You don’t have to believe me, but the way I see it / Next time you point a finger, I might have to bend it back or break it off) With a quiver in her voice throughout the song, you can hear how hard it comes for Williams to do this. Not to mention the climb where not only does Josh Farro join her, but in the final line it sounds as if Williams hits an emotional breakdown.
In between the emotional highs are the fun, rock-out songs like “Where The Lines Overlap”. The latter which is “Feeling Sorry” and “Looking Up” aren’t so memorable, and you shouldn’t feel bad about skipping them. Moving forward, you eventually hit “All I Wanted”, a powerful rock-ballad and fitting for an album closer. “All I Wanted” is all too similar to the ending of All We Know Is Falling, “My Heart”. In both of the tracks’ final moments, is where everything basically explodes. On “My Heart”, the final moments featured hardcore screaming, something that now seems un-heard of to come from Paramore. “All I Wanted” gradually rises from it’s quiet heart-wrenching beginnings, and turns into a epic, rock song, and Williams transitions from her soft words to soaring vocals that truly show off her outstanding range. Around the last minute, is when the band stops, and makes way for Williams to belt out and epic “All I wanted was you”.
brand new eyes is not the band that the world has come to know Paramore as with Riot!, and that’s a good thing. It shows the bands worth, and how much talent they hold. The only absurd fact is that the band is not even in their mid-twenties yet, and already they’ve shown more talent than most bands who surpass them in age. As we slowly reach 2010, let it be known that Paramore are one of the better bands of the decade.[RATING: 4.5/5]