Brand New Eyes
Fueled By Ramen
28 September 2009
by Mike Strata
Contrary to popular belief, Hayley Williams’ incomprehensibly cringe-inducing appearance on the latest Set Your Goals album did not bring about the end of music. We’re all still here, the hits keep on coming, and a few months on from Ms Williams last indiscretion we have a new Paramore album to digest.
Whether the release of this album makes you want to reach for a) your nearest and dearest emo buddy to share the experience with or b) a shotgun, is indicative of the Paramore experience as a whole. Let’s face it, this is a band that (to use a well-worn cliche) is the aural equivalent of marmite. For better or for worse, most people’s minds are already made up on Paramore, and no amount of hyperbole about a more mature, challenging sound can make people see this band through brand new eyes (groan)…..can it?
The record kicks off in unexpectedly ballsy fashion, with ‘Careful’ and ‘Ignorance’ leading the charge. Taking ‘Decode’ from last year’s Twilight soundtrack as a jumping off point (the song is itslef tacked on to the end of the album as a bonus track), both songs do actually demonstrate a more advanced musical approach than seen on the band’s previous two albums. Structurally they’re more complex, darker and more angular, less straightforward than the bouncy pop-punk from days of yore, yet still recognisably Paramore. ‘Playing God’ continues in a similar vein but slows the pace slightly, coming off like a Jimmy Eat World offcut, which is no bad thing. The fact that ‘The Only Exception’ and to a lesser extent ‘Misguided Ghosts’ sound like Coldplay (yes, Coldplay) adds further weight to Paramore’s claims that they’ve “grown up”, one can only hope that they’ll one day realise that “grown up” doesn’t have to equal “soporific”.
Lyrically this is mainly meat-and-potatoes teen angst fare, although ‘Looking Up’ provides a particular low point with Williams mulling over the band’s much-publicised interpersonal problems, thanking her lucky stars that they’re still here today to give us all the gift that is their latest album. The sentiment behind the song may be noble enough, but when it’s pushed through the filter of the album’s squeaky clean production job it ends up being as sickly as a Pop Tart and marshmallow pie. Lyrical quibbles aside, there’s no doubting that Williams has a cracking set of pipes, her performance is confident and assured throughout and t she’s clearly a better role model than many a vulgar, overly sexualised pop star (stand up Lady Gaga, Pussycat Dolls, et al) for the legions of tween girls who will lap this album up.
Watch the video to ‘Ignorance’ by Paramore
At the end of the day, Paramore have crafted the album that they needed to at this point in their career. More mature without alienating their existing fanbase, accessible yet more challenging than average chart fodder, this is certain to cement Paramore’s burgeoning reputation and perhaps propel them into household name status alongside emo luminaries such as My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy. brand new eyes may lack anything as immediate as ‘Misery Business’ from the band’s previous album ‘Riot!’, but it does what it needs to and throws up a nice tune or two in the process.
Top Tracks: Ignorance, Decode
Sounds Like: Hayley Eat World, Fall Out Girl
Paramore – brand new eyes tracklisting
Brick by Boring Brick
Turn It Off
The Only Exception
Where the Lines Overlap
All I Wanted