Brand New Eyes – Paramore review
Music reviews: Paramore talks Risk, Religion, Relationships and Success on Brand New Eyes
Since the release of 2005’s All We Know Is Falling, the members of Paramore have been hard at work carving a name for themselves into the pop punk scene of today. Formed in 2004 in Tennessee, the band has spent the last four years and three albums making sure that they reach their goal and so far, so good. From the big hit that made them a household name, “Misery Business” (off their second album, Riot!), to their work on the ever popular Twilight soundtrack with “Decode”, the band already has a formidable number of hits on their hands and with their latest album, they’re looking to add some more to the list.
With Hayley Williams on lead vocals, Josh Farro on lead guitar, Zac Farro on drums, Jeremy Davis on bass and new addition, Taylor York on rhythm guitar, the band has yet again created a deliciously catchy brand of pop punk that stands out from that of their peers. With Brand New Eyes , the band has matured as musicians with better playing, stronger vocals and deeper lyrics.
“Careful” and “Feeling Sorry” blend some advice in between the crunching guitar. “You can’t be too careful anymore when all that is waiting for you won’t come any closer; you’ve got to reach a little more,” sings Williams in the catchy call to action that is “Careful”. As the opening song of the album, it hints at the risks that the band’s new album aims to take.
According to “Feeling Sorry”, Williams doesn’t have any time for sympathy. She’s moving forward with her life, away from the people in her past that chose to play it safe in life and make all the wrong decisions. She sings, “I tried not to think of what might happen when your reality, it finally cuts through. Well, as for me, I got out and I’m on the road; the worst part is that this, this could be you.” It’s a pop rock reminder that if you want a big life, you need to take the big actions necessary to get there. Worked out well for these five, didn’t it?
Misguided Ghosts – live version from Brand New Eyes tour by Paramore
“Ignorance”, the first single off the album, channels Canadian punk rock band Billy Talent with a sound that is loud, energetic, rebellious and has attitude to spare. In this track, Williams fires back at those she’s parted ways with in the past with lots of rage and little to no regrets. It’s an infectious song that gets you in fight mode.
With songs like “Playing God” and “Turn It Off”, Williams seems to be questioning the very things she used to believe in. Lyrics like, “Next time you point a finger, I might have to bend it back or break it, break it off. Next time you point a finger, I’ll point you to a mirror,” and “I scraped my knees when I was praying and found a demon in my safest haven” seem to highlight her frustration with the religion she once held so dear.
“Playing God” seems to express her views regarding the hypocrisy of some fundamentalists who are quick to judge others while engaging in behaviour less than holy themselves, while “Turn It Off” is a more personal account of what losing her faith has left her feeling. It’s a stance that is sure to alienate some of the band’s more devout fans but it’s a brave move that pays off, creating moody, beautifully thought-provoking songs that will get people thinking a bit more about exactly what it is that they believe in.
Williams seeks to attack the fairy tales of old with “Brick By Boring Brick”. It’s a pop song with a slight feminist edge about refusing to believe in the old stories of Prince Charming saving the helpless Princess. “Go get your shovel and we’ll take it deeper to bury the castle, bury the castle,” Williams sings loudly. It’s a refreshing and empowering track for the young girls that listen to the band and look up to Williams.
With “The Only Exception”, the band crafts a cynic’s love song. Having believed that love was a hoax for years, Williams now thinks differently after find “the only exception” to her romantic rules. Its honesty and the light airy feeling of it make it a dreamy track that can soften even the hardest skeptic’s edges and will have you feeling lovesick in no time.
“Looking Up” lets the music world know plainly that Paramore is just getting started on their journey and they are definitely not giving up without a fight. “It’s not a dream anymore, it’s worth fighting for,” Williams sings. “Where The Lines Overlap” follows online the same lines with lyrics like, “No one is as lucky as us, we’re not at the end but, oh, we already won,” the band clearly has a lot to be thankful for and a lot more ambition for the future.
“Misguided Ghosts” is hauntingly gorgeous, soft and sorrowful with some great acoustic guitar work and a beautiful little melody that will get stuck in your head all day. This sounds a lot more like a female-fronted Kings of Convenience than classic Paramore. It’s a different sound for sure, but it’s one that definitely does suit them and a risk that pays off, as this track is easily the best off of the album.
The closer, “All I Wanted”, has Williams feeling a little bit wistful. “I could you follow you to the beginning and just relive the start.” Its verses are slow while the chorus gets louder and more frenzied like pent up frustration finally let out. When the chorus builds, she treats us to some intense vocals, with a scream envied even by hair metal bands.
All in all, Brand New Eyes is a great album from a band that is pushing itself artistically with every new release, a rarity for most bands considered to be in the realm of pop music today. They have grown more, adding better musicianship along with mature lyrics that cover difficult topics and give them a clear point of view as a band. Whether they are talking about more intense topics like religion, relationships – romantic or otherwise – or about taking the necessary risks to get where you want to be and getting the sweet success you deserve, Paramore packs their latest album with some of the most infectious pop punk tunes you’ll hear and will keep you coming back for more. Brand New Eyes makes it clear that Paramore is here to stay and that little truth should give all fans a reason to rejoice.
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